Shaw on Socialism and Occupational Choice
By David Henderson
Next week I’ll be the discussion leader at a colloquium on socialism. There are pro- and ant-socialist readings. One of the pro-socialist articles is by noted British socialist George Bernard Shaw. The article is his entry in The Encyclopedia Britannica, 13th ed., 1926 and is titled “Socialism: Principles and Outlook.”
I always prepare discussion questions in advance. Here’s one on Shaw:
Shaw writes that “the only real remedy” includes “compulsory national service in civil as in military life for all classes.” Does his proposal surprise you? Do you think he would have been happy if those who chose his form of service assigned him to be, say, a shepherd?
In case you think his idea of compulsory service is a year or two when you’re young, no, that’s not it. He explains later in the page that compulsory national service “would deprive it [labor] of its right to strike.” So he has the long term in mind.