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on his seventith birtday

George Bernard Shaw

July 26, 1926

Of late years the public have been trying to tackle me in every way they possibly can, and failing to make anything of it they have turned to treating me Bs a great

man. This is a dreadful fate to over- take anybody. There has been a distinct attempt to do it again now, and for that reason I absolutely decline to say anything about the celebration of my seventieth birthday. But when the Labor Party, my old friends the Labor Party, invited me here I knew that l should be all right.

Now, however, we have built up a constitutional Party. We have built it up on a socialistic basis. My friend, Mr. Sidney Webb, Mr. Macdonald and myself said definitely at the beginning that what we had got to do was to make the Socialist Party a constitutional party to which any respectable God-fearing man could belong without the slightest compromise of his respectability. We got rid of all those traditional that is why Governments in the present day are more afraid of us than they were of any of the Radical people.

Our position is a perfectly simple one and we have the great advantage of understanding our position. We oppose socialism to capitalism.

According to the capitalists, there will be a guara11tee to the world that every man in tile country would get a job. They didn‘t contend it would be a well-paid job, because if it was well paid a man would save up enough one week to stop working the next week, and they were determined to keep a man working the whole time on a bare subsistence wage - and, on the other hand, divide an accumulation of capita1.

They said capita1ism not only secured this for the working man, but, by insuring fabulous wealth in the hands of a small class of people, they would save money whether they liked it or not and would have to invest it. That is capitalism, and this Government is always interfering with capitalism. Instead of giving a man a job or letting him starve they are giving him doles - after making sure he has paid for them first. They are giving capitalists subsidies and making all sorts of regulations that are breaking up their own system. All the time they are doing it, and we are telling them it is breaking up, they don‘t understand.

We say in criticism of capitalism: Your system has never kept its promises for one single day since it was promulgated. Our production is ridiculous. We are producing eighty horsepower motor cars when many more houses should be built. We are producing most extravagant luxuries while children starve. You have stood production on its head. Instead of beginning with the things the nation needs most, you are beginning at just the opposite end. We say distribution has become so glaringly ridiculous that there are only two people out of the 47,000,000 people in this country who approve of the present system of distribution-one is the Duke of Northumberland and the other is Lord Banbury.

We are opposed to that theory. Socialism, which is perfectly clear and unmistakable, says the thing you have got to take care of is your distribution. We have to begin with that, and private property, if it stands in the way of good distribution, has got to go.

A man who holds public property must hold it on the pub1ic condition on which, for instance, I carry my walking stick. I am not al1owed to do what I like with it. I must not knock you on the head with it. We say that if distribution goes wrong, everything else goes wrong-religion, morals - government. And we say, therefore (this is the whole meaning of our socialism}, we must begin with distribution and take all the necessary steps.

I think we are keeping it in our minds because our business is to take care of the distribution of wealth in the worId1 and I tell you, as I have told you be fore, that I don‘t think there are two men, or perhaps one man, in our 47,000,000 who approves of the existing distribution of wealth. I will go even further and say that you will not find a single person in the whole of the civilized world who agrees with the existing system of the distribution of wealth. It has been reduced to a blank absurdity.

I think the day will come when we will be able to make the distinction between us and the capitalists. We must get certain leading ideas before the people. We should announce that we are not going in for what was the old-fashioned idea of redistribution, but the redistribution of income. Let it always be a question of income.

I have been very happy here to night. I entirely understand the distinction made by our Chairman to night when he said you hold me in social esteem and a certain amount of personal affection. I am not a sentimental man, but l am not 1nsensible to all that. I know the value of all tl1at, and it gives me, now that 1 have come to the age of seventy (it will not occur again and I am saying it for the first time), a great fee1ing of pleasure that l can say what a good many people can‘t say.







我們的立場是非常簡單明確的,我們的極大優勢在于理解自己的立場。我們用社會主義來反對資本主義。 按照資本家的觀點,完全可以保證這個國家人人都能得到一份職業。他們不主張那份職業工資很高,因為如果工資很高,一個星期就可以攢下足夠的錢,下個星期就不必工作了。他們決心以僅能糊口的工資使人們始終不停地工作,而他們自己則分享著一份資本增益。


我們在批評資本主義時說:你們的製度自公布以來,從未有哪一天信守過自己的諾言。我們的生產是荒唐的。需要建造更多的房屋時,我們卻在生產80馬力的汽車。孩子們正在挨餓時,我們卻在生產最豪華的奢侈品。你們把生產顛倒了。你們不先生產國民最需要的東西,卻反其道而行之。我們說分配已經變得絕頂荒謬,以致在我國四千七百萬人口中,隻有兩個人贊成現行的分配製度——一個是諾森伯蘭公爵,另一個是班伯裏勛爵。 我們反對那種理論。明白無誤的社會主義理論指出,你們必須註意的問題是你們的分配我們必須由此著手,而如果私有財產妨礙公正的分配,就必須予以廢除。