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A "Fashionable" Branch of Industry

V. I. Lenin

Capitalist production develops spasmodically, in fits and starts. At times there is "brilliant" prosperity in industry and then comes collapse, crisis and unemployment. It cannot be otherwise under a system of economy in which individual, isolated proprietors, independent of each other, "work" for an unknown market and have the joint labour of thousands and thousands of workers in big enterprises at their disposal as private property.

An example of a "fashionable" industry that is now developing with particular rapidity and rushing full steam ahead toward a crash is the automobile industry. In Germany, for instance, the number of motor vehicles of all kinds, including motor cycles, was 27,000 in 1907 and 70,000 in 1912.

In France and Britain motor vehicles are still more wide spread. Here are the figures for comparison: Germany, 70,000, France, 88,000 and Britain, 175,000.

In proportion to the population, therefore, Germany has only one-quarter the number of motor vehicles that Britain has, while Russia is lagging behind to an immeasurably greater extent.

Under the capitalist organisation of economy, motor-cars are available only to an extremely narrow circle of rich people. Industry could produce hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles but the poverty of the masses hampers development and brings about crashes after a few years of "brilliant" growth.

In passing. Motor vehicles, provided they were in the service of the majority of the population, would be of great significance because an association of united workers could use them instead of a large number of draught animals in farming and in carting. Such a replacement would enable millions of dessiatines now used to produce fodder for horses to be used to produce grain, meat and milk and improve the population’s food supply.

Bourgeois economists are only trying to frighten people when they say that agriculture cannot produce sufficient grain!

Published: Rabochaya Pravda No. 8, July 21, 1913.
Signed: N..
Published according to the Rabochaya Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 283-284.
Translated: The Late George Hanna

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