Container delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning
Amy Sage, Bristol North Socialist Party
Recent reports of delays at Felixstowe Port, which has prompted warnings about shortages of toys and clothes at Christmas, are yet another example of the chaotic and anarchic nature of capitalism.
Felixstowe is responsible for roughly 36% of containers entering England and it is predicted that around £1.5 billion worth of goods could be affected if the delays continue into December.
But it's not just shortages of clothes and toys we should be worried about. 90% of UK imports arrive by sea, including medicine and other essentials. Readers might recall a similar situation at the end of last year where delays at the Suffolk port led to shortages of essential PPE. And, in a system that puts profit before anything else, if these delays continue, we could see a situation where only the most profitable goods are prioritised, leaving us with shortages of essentials deemed unprofitable by big business.
It is also likely that these delays are going to drive up prices. With rising energy prices, cuts to Universal Credit, rapidly increasing living costs and continuous attacks to our wages, this could be catastrophic for many working-class people.
The government's response? Failure to solve an HGV driver shortage, and warnings to the public not to panic-buy. As if it's our fault that the system - built upon private ownership, a distinct lack planning, production purely for profit and the anarchy of the market - is unable to deal with these problems.
After the year we have endured, and considering the government's shambolic handling of Covid restrictions over Christmas last year, who can blame people for wanting a nice Christmas this year where they are able to buy the things they need? It's not the public that ministers should be pointing their fingers at, it's the system of capitalism itself!
The case for a socialist democratically planned economy is clear. We must take the decisions of what we produce and what goes where out of the hands of the big businesses. We must take the major corporations into public ownership and run them under democratic workers' control and management, as part of an overall plan of production. Only then will the supply and provision of all goods and services be on the basis of the needs of the majority, rather than the profits of the minority.
In The Socialist 20 October 2021:
Fall of apartheid