A distinction should be made between work and occupation. Work implies necessity; it is something that must be done as contributing to the means of life in general and to one's own subsistence in particular. Occupation absorbs time and energy so long as we choose to give them; it demands constant initiative, and it is its own reward. For the average person, the element of necessity in work is valuable, for he is saved the mental stress involved in devising outlets for his energy. Work has for him obvious utility, and it brings the satisfaction of tangible rewards. Whereas occupation is an end in itself, and we, therefore, demand that it shall be agreeable, work is usually the means to other ends which present themselves to the mind as sufficiently important to compensate for any disagreeableness in the means. There are forms of work, of course, which since external compulsion is reduced to a minimum, are hardly to be differentiated from occupation. The artist, the imaginative writer, the scientist, the social worker, for instance, find their pleasure in the constant spontaneous exercise of creative energy and the essential reward of their work is in the doing of it. In all work performed by a suitable agent, there must be a pleasurable element, and the greater the amount of pleasure that can be associated with work, the better. But for most people, the pleasure of occupation needs the addition of the necessity provided in work. It is better for them to follow a path of employment marked out for them than to have to find their own.
When, therefore, we look ahead to the situation likely to be produced by the continued rapid extension of machine production, we should think not so much about providing occupation for leisure as about limiting the amount of leisure to that which can be profitably used. We shall have to put the emphasis on the work providing rather than the goods providing aspect of the economic process. In the earlier and more ruthless days of capitalism, the duty of the economic system to provide work was overlooked The purpose of competitive enterprise was to realize a profit. When profit ceased or was curtailed, production also ceased or was curtailed. Thus the workers, who were regarded as units of labour forming part of the costs of production, were taken on when required and dismissed when not required. They hardly thought of demanding work as a right. And so long as British manufacturers had their eyes mainly on the markets awaiting them abroad, they could conveniently neglect the fact that since workers are also consumers, unemployment at home means loss of trade. Moral considerations did not yet find a substitute in ordinary business prudence. The labour movements arose largely as a revolt against the conception of workers as commodities to be bought and sold without regard to their needs as human beings. In a socialist system it is assumed that they will be treated with genuine consideration, for, the making of profit not being essential, central planning will not only adjust the factors of production to the best advantage but will secure regularity of employment. But has the socialist thought about what he would do if owing to technological advancements, the amount of human labour were catastrophically reduced? So far as I know, he has no plan beyond drastically lining the hours of work, and sharing out as much work as there may be. And, of course, he would grant monetary relief to those who were actually unemployed. But has he considered what would be the moral effect of life imagined as possible in the highly mechanized state of the future? Has he thought of the possibility of bands of unemployed and under-employed workers marching on the capital to demand not income (which they will have) but work?
The main defect of socialism at present is that
Refer to the following lines: "But has the socialist thought about what he would do if owing to technological advance, the amount of human labour were catastrophically reduced? So far as I know, he has no plan beyond drastically lining the hours of work, and sharing out as much work as there may be."
The author clearly mentions that the socialists have not taken into account the mechanization.
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