J. T. Murphy

Book Review

Review of An Artist Among the Bankers

Source: The Aldelphi, March 1934, Vol. 7, No. 6
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

An Artist Among the Bankers
By Will Dyson
Dent, 6s

Mr. Dyson writes very vivaciously. He draws beautifully. But had the famous artist gone to an economics class of the Labour College instead of plunging into the company of the bankers, he would have been able to write a book more in keeping with the spirit of his most famous cartoons of his socialist days.

The problem before society to-day is not a financial problem. It is a property problem. The banks belong to the superstructure of capitalism. Private property is the foundation. The financial crises, consumption crises, credit crises and the like are nothing more than the reflections of the fundamental economic crisis arising from the fact that the private ownership of the means of production has become an anachronism in a society where social methods of production have superseded individual methods of production. No amount of credit supply to manufacturers, no amount of currency manipulation which leaves the question of property ownership untouched, can do other than aggravate the crisis of capitalism.

Neither Douglas, nor Dyson, nor anybody else can get “purchasing power” to the masses, until the ownership question is solved. The ownership question is a political as well as an economic question in society divided into owning and non-owning classes. This is the basis of the struggle of classes which Dyson appears to have forgotten. Social ownership, which must supersede the private ownership of the means of production, can only come about through the political victory of the class without property over the class with property.

Then the financial institutions become social institutions to serve a social purpose and the currency problems are simplified. Then the mass can receive and will receive the means of ensuring the proper circulation of the goods produced. Then social credit can be a social service instead of a high faluting and futile scheme, as it is in the hands of Douglas and Dyson, for short circuiting the struggle of the classes.

I am sorry to have to write in so didactic a manner, but since Dyson refuses to argue and makes a series of dogmatic assertions as the basis of his tirade against the bankers, there is no other way of answering him. The bankers won’t flinch from his onslaught, but people may be diverted from that which matters more than all else to-day, namely, the struggle to secure the social ownership of the means of production—the prerequisite of economic and social prosperity and (this should interest Mr. Dyson the artist) of cultural development.

J. T. M.