This article is reprinted from VOICE (Belfast), May 21, 1955.
Let us assume for the sake of illustration that in 1990 the claim made in the first World War — "The war to end war; and a land fit for heroes to live in" — had been realised in practice, and as a result of the great adyances made in the application of science to industry and agriculture, two-thirds of the adult population of this country were enjoying well-paid leisure, all their basic requirements being met by the other third, consisting of the most skilled members of the community, working, say, a forty hour week. Let us assume that this state of affairs had actually existed in 1920 — some of the world's most competent and distinguished engineers and professional men at the time said it was possible — and then that a clique of men bent on power had captured effective control of the banking and financial system of the country, and through that control had been in a position to break any government, newspaper or major business enterprise if they went against their policy.
We will call this group the Money Power.
The Money Power decided that the Maximum Leisure policy was a bad policy (because a free, leisured, decentralised society is not a society in which power maniacs can get any satisfaction), and that in its place there should be substituted a policy of Full Employment. Apart from a minority of 'Capitalists', who in any case would be well taxed to prevent them from becoming too powerful, and those on the dole, no one any longer was to be allowed to have an income except what he could earn from paid employment.
In order to implement its policy the Money Power adopted a programme as set out below:
1 — All organs of information, propaganda and education were 'induced' to persuade the public that leisure is 'idleness' — "Satan will still find work for idle hands to do" — every instance of a parvenu misspending his money and indulging in vulgarity, or a scion of the nobility 'going off the rails' was ferreted out and given maximum publicity as an example of what the 'idle rich' do. The measure of all 'progress' and 'prosperity' was put in the hands of the statisticians who compile the monthly employment figures.
2 — Certain countries were picked out as potential aggressors, in which the rise to power of demagogic, ignorant politicians was surreptitiously aided by every means available. In other countries rearmament and large standing armies were instituted, and vast industries and areas of business were rendered dependent for solvency and their employees for a tolerable living on the continuance of this rearmament.
3 — Trades Unions were encouraged to introduce as many regulations and restrictions as possible, in order to dilute the productive capacity of workers by working on their fear of being unemployed. Irresponsibility and a 'don't care' attitude was surreptitiously fostered, as also industrial disputes and strikes.
4 — Arrangements were made that the total purchasing power of the population should always be less than the aggregate prices of goods for sale, so that an artificially intense competition was set up between all manufacturers, all producers and all purveyors of merchandise of every description, thus ensuring that a proportion were bound to go bankrupt each year and making it necessary for the rest to spend huge sums of money on an army of salesmen and other staff to fill the newspaper and placard the country with advertisements. This in its turn created new appetites in the public for gadgets and material things of every description ("which is of course good for trade"), and in general produced a materialistically minded society which is the 'right' climate for a Work State.
At the same time the pressure of surplus production in each country created a constant pressure to export more than was imported — a constant economic war between nations.
5 — It interfered with the natural order of efficient production as much as possible, also the natural order of peoples' desires by imposing an entirely arbitrary system of indirect taxes on all manner of goods, while subsidising the least efficient. It placed tariffs and quotas on most imports. While interfering with efficient production this procedure made work for a large bureaucracy, and for a host of accountants and lawyers.
In order to give all this nonsense an air of due solemnity and respectability the Money Power financed and endowed schools at Universities for economics, while staffing the newspapers with journalists to 'put it over' on the public.
6 — It kept a large part of the population indigent, and as much of the rest as possible in a perpetual state of insecurity and frantic busy-ness, so that they were left with no energy to think about what was going on. It ensured that no newspaper would publish an article or letter explaining the true state of affairs. But, at the same time created by these conditions, particularly among the least intelligent part of the population, a continual state of discontent; thus inducing continuous demands for increased wages, which produced inflation and thereby destroyed the savings of the better off section. At the same time it was a good seed-bed in which to sow propaganda of every description, under all manner of labels, for any and every form of centralisation under the plea of 'greater efficiency'. Periodically, as the public became more and more mesmerised by the Great Lie, the centralised undertakings were nationalised one after the other or brought under strict Government control.
7 — Through financial control, control of newspapers and political patronage it manipulated promotion in the churches so that only abstractionist-minded clergy rose to the top and those who were 'safe', i.e., those who could be relied upon not to say that religion has anything to do with truth in this world — in politics, economics or finance.
8 — It capped the lot by a barrage of propaganda for World Government, so that when everyone or nearly everyone is bemused and governed by fear, it can be arranged that the only force left in the world is an international police force, completely subservient to Anti-Christ who can then mount his throne without fear of effective resistance.
The evil policy outlined above is what we have in fact experienced and are now experiencing.
Now, it is quite certain that if we had really experienced a Maximum Leisure policy in 1920 and we had known a genuine Christian society, a society rid of the scourges of war and threat of war, industrial strife, bureaucracy and propaganda, only people with deranged minds would tolerate a Full Employment policy, with its concomitant of State Charity, State Welfare and State Education. The full evil and absurdity of it would be apparent to everyone but the mentally defective.
But a policy of Full Employment is no less evil and insane because we have as yet not experienced a Maximum Leisure policy; it is in fact today even more evil and insane, both because we have experienced its results and because the developments of automation and electronics have made freedom from paid employment for the bulk of the population more obviously possible of attainment than ever it was before — and it was so before.
If the evils:
War, threat of war, armaments and large standing armies.
Trades Union restrictive practices.
The fear of unemployment.
Artificially intensified advertising and salesmanship.
Inhibiting taxation and controls.
Bad quality work, due to need for cheapness.
All the materialistic urges induced by the work-for-work's sake and 'make money' mentality.
were eliminated, we should have to abandon a Full Employment policy, because short of digging holes and filling them in again, there wouldn't be paid jobs for most people. All the requirements of the population which they did not prefer to produce for themselves in their abundant leisure time by their own craftsmanship, could be produced by a small proportion of the population working short hours.
In other words, a Full Employment policy is THE direct urge and spur to maintain all the evils listed above.
In other words, if we abandon a Full Employment policy and adopt a progressively Maximum Leisure policy we remove the dominating spur to these evils.
In other words, all those people who lend their support to a Full Employment policy instead of to a Maximum Well-paid Leisure policy are making the evils listed above inevitable.
And, as no propaganda can possibly do, this is the way to make all Communist claims look absurb: to demonstrate in the West a really free leisured way of life (stage by stage, gradually, if you like). This is the only way to end the war threat and the tyranny threat. And it is the only way to check and limit to proper ends the ugly industrialisation of our national life, with its evil of soul-destroying, monotonous, dehumanising work.