Mass unemployment and misfortunes of high-tech – Fred M’membe

Socialist Party announces former Post editor-in-chief and managing director Dr Fred M'membe as it's 2021 presidential candidate

The mass unemployment and the misfortunes high-tech brings cannot be ended under capitalism, says Socialist Party in Zambia deputy general secretary and 2021 presidential candidate, Fred M’membe.

Dr M’membe said in order to meet the needs of the scientific and technological advances, a transition from capitalism to socialism must be made.

“We are back again to the issues of jobs, jobs, jobs! This is one of our greatest national and global challenges today. The other week we said machines – excavators, combine-harvester, digitalised tractors, ATMs, and so on and so forth – have taken over workers’ jobs. Today we pull the string a little further and examine what is really taking place,” Dr M’membe writes. “Capitalist ideologists, apologists and some of our misguided politicians – well-meaning but empty, have been trying to present the current scientific and technological advances as a remedy for social contradictions which will ensure the general welfare of our people within the framework of capitalism.”

He said that actually, these scientific and technological advances are exacerbating the far-reaching socio-economic contradictions of capitalism and, particularly, the contradiction between the social character of production and private capitalist appropriation.

“It also intensifies the concentration of production and capital in the hands of the biggest companies and the rapidly growing dependence of social production on the new branches, which are among the technological leaders in this, as these branches are mainly concentrated in the hands of a few very big monopolies,” Dr M’membe said. “Technological progress accelerates the ruination of non-monopolised and small enterprises, which cannot afford expensive technological innovations. Enterprises have to renew their equipment continually to keep up with the technological changes. This requires continual big capital investments, which only the big monopolies afford.”

He said further that these scientific and technological advances intensify the main class antagonism of capitalism, which is the antagonism between the capitalists and the workers.

“The working class wages a constant struggle to have the proceeds of the new technology, the increase in labour productivity and the growth in social wealth used for the benefit of the working people,” Dr M’membe pointed out. “New technologies make many working people even less secure, and face them with unemployment and other privations.”

Dr M’membe observed that as a result of the growth of labour productivity at high-tech enterprises, the demand for labour power has dropped sharply.

“The mass unemployment and the misfortunes high-tech brings cannot be ended under capitalism. There are millions of unemployed in the United States and other big capitalist countries. Unemployment is particularly rampant among young people leaving school, college or university. Poverty has survived all the achievements of science and technology,” he said. “Many of the demands now being advanced by the working people are linked with the problem of unemployment, and the fate of workers who are being replaced by machines. Clearly, these demands, advanced in new conditions created by the scientific and technological advances, cannot be achieved in isolation from the more general, main task – the struggle for socialism.”

He said Lenin’s conclusion that the improvement of technology intensifies social inequality was still true.

Dr M’membe argued that capitalism was unable to completely cope with the scientific and technological advances.

“Its endeavours to adapt ultimately exacerbate the contradictions of capitalism even further,” said Dr M’membe.

“In order to meet the needs of the scientific and technological advances, a transition from capitalism to socialism must be made.”