In the News
Stelco Shipments Fall in Fourth Quarter 2021
Stelco owners and management in a January 6 press release announced shipments of steel from their facilities in Ontario fell to 625,000 net tons in the fourth quarter of 2021. According to the statement this amount was “well below prior guidance of approximately 675,000-680,000 net tons.” The owners and management say the drop occurred due to “unplanned outages on its hot strip mill, logistics challenges, and delays at the end of the fourth quarter brought on by the emergence of the Omicron variant” of the COVID-19 virus.
The statement also says owners and management expect steel shipments to fall even further in the first quarter of 2022 “due to planned outages that have been advanced in response to the unplanned outages experienced in the fourth quarter, recent softer price environment and weaker demand conditions being experienced currently, as well as increased COVID-19 related disruptions with respect to labour force availability, which is impacting production, logistics and customer demand.”
The statement does not analyze why the unexpected fall in shipments occurred and will continue to go down in the next quarter but merely describes the events as they unfolded and possibly will happen. This reflects generally that the owners of Stelco lack control of history, simply responding to events beyond their understanding and grasp. This occurs because private ownership of steel production and the other parts of the economy in conjunction with their narrow aim of maximum profit for their particular part are in contradiction with the modern forces of industrial mass production, which encompass all aspects of the economy as a single sheet of steel and must act as a united force according to its underlying laws.
The private owners are unable to utilize the full power of modern socialized production, plan for its harmonious use or make scientific predictions on the outcomes of their actions. Their lack of consideration for the whole and other parts of the economy emerges from their overwhelming concern for their own particular part and the unbridled rivalry this generates and their subsequent lack of control. The lack of harmony results in periodic destruction of the productive forces, recurring economic crises and war not to speak of the unresolved problems plaguing the people and nature.
Production of steel through the mining of raw material, generation of electricity, transportation of goods, the development of scientific technique, education and training of workers and maintenance of their health, and the distribution and use of steel as means of production and articles of consumption form a single economic whole of which the human person must be in control. But that is not the case currently with private ownership of various aspects of the economy each competing for maximum profit to fill the coffers of a particular clique of oligarchs.
And for what? To satisfy their obsession for greater and greater amounts of social wealth to possess as their private property while denying the working class its rightful role to control the economy with a new direction in conformity with its socialized reality and modern aim to use the social wealth it produces to meet the needs of the people and humanize the social and natural environment.
(Workers’ Forum, posted February 9, 2022)