Social Credit and labour problems

Written by Louis Even on Wednesday, 01 July 1953. Posted in Social Credit

We hear much today of conflict between employers and employees: negotiations, arbitration, attempts at conciliation, walk-outs and strikes. Because solar energy and the machine have lifted many of the burdens from man's back and multiplied his productive power many times, one might reasonably expect abundance and harmony to be the very character of this Power Age. Instead, we find almost perpetual strife and unrest in much of the field of labour and industry; and when contracts are signed, they are usually for only a short term, many for only one year. Security and stability — the guarantee of a steadily increasing living standard — which should go hand-in-hand with the tremendous increase in our productive ability, are nowhere to be found. Instead, we find the fear of strikes, the degradation of inadequate income, and only too often the spectre of unemployment.

The problem: labour or Finance?

It is our opinion that never can the labour unions, nor other organizations, satisfactorily solve the so-called `labour' problems within the framework and rules of our present financial system. The most skilled leaders, the best-managed unions, can never make two plus two equal five. And, after all, are the so-called `labour' problems really labour problems? Or are they rather consumers problems? Are they concerned with the worker as a worker? Or as a consumer?

Training of apprentices, adaptation to new techniques of production, co-ordination of processes between various departments involved in the finished product — these and similar questions would truly be work problems.

 But what concerns the workmen today is whether his wages are adequate to procure for him the requirements of life and the support of his family. And is this not a problem common to all consumers today, whether wage earners, farmers, or whatever?

However, in our country at present, two-thirds of our population is dependant on wages. And if economic insecurity affects much of our population, it is most keenly felt by these individuals and their families who have nothing but the wages of the bread-earner to live on, when conditions over which they have no control threaten that single source of income.

But, as long as wages are the subject of complaint, it is as a consumer, and not as a worker, that the employee is complaining. And if his demands go further, if he desires to have a say in what is done in the plant, he is even there voicing an aspiration common to every human being. One does not like to have to act blindly under the dictates of another. But there, also, the financial system, concentrating the means of production in the hands of fewer and fewer men, is an obstacle to the enfranchisement of the worker.

Social Credit principles

The whole objective and purpose of the Social Credit financial and economic proposals is to put at the service of free men the resources that Almighty God has so richly bestowed on us, and the abundance resulting from the application of technological development upon these God-given resources. Social Creditors maintain that the implementation of the financial proposals of Social Credit would solve, or help to solve, quickly and without dislocation, the so-called `labour' problems.

To appreciate this question, one must bear in mind that:

  1. Social Credit would finance all new production with new cash credits, and not out of savings. This would allow any competent and responsible people (workers, technicians, and so on), either individually or in free association, to undertake a program of production answering the needs of consumers. Today, one must first have the dollars. Under Social Credit, the dollars would come as production develops. This would help the escape from the situation of automatons suffered by hundreds of thousands of capable, but moneyless, men of today.

  2. Social Credit would distribute, and adequately, all production answering the needs of the population:
    1. Through its periodic dividend to all, whether employed or not, without abolishing the reward for the labour still necessitated to produce; and the dividends would increase as human effort is displaced by the power-driven machine.

    2. By an adjusted price, so that the total purchasing power will pay for the total production. This would mean lower prices for the buyer, through a discount on all sale prices, such discount being compensated to the seller.

The national market being thus adequately financed to consume the national production, or such imports as would replace our exported surplus, the consumers' demand would be stabilized as are his wants, and this would mean a stabilization of labour. Today labour has to suffer from markets, at home and abroad, depending not on human needs but on the movements of money.

Workers today have to be ready to move from east to west, or from west to east, northwards today and southwards tomorrow — Finance ever the master instead of the servant.

Inflationary spiral

The workers' wages do not, and cannot, meet the prices of goods. All wages are included in prices, but other elements are also included in prices. Industry does not distribute to individuals all the money it has to write into the cost. And when workers feel their purchasing power insufficient, they claim a raise in their wages. But every raise in wages necessarily means a raise in the price of their finished product when it comes on the market.

The increase in wages may do some good for those who get it — but only until the higher price of their product will have called for a raise in the wages of the other producers, and these in turn raise the price of other goods. In a few months, the cost of living will again be out of reach, and new complaints will be heard. That is one of the reasons why the contracts of labour are signed for such short periods.

Dividends for all

The dividend to all would not add to prices. It would not be paid by industry. It would be money based on production, not on employment, and put directly into the consumers' pockets without first going through (and adding to the costs of) production.

And with the dividend going to all, the worker would have, in addition to his wages if he is employed, his dividend, his wife's dividend, and the dividend for each of his children.

Wages to some, plus dividends to all, plus the discount on prices, would combine to make all goods available to the buying public, with a share guaranteed to each. This share, guaranteed to each and all, would increase with the growth of production.

The dividend being attached to the individual, and being dependent upon the amount of production, the worry for the morrow would cease to cloud the life of the worker, and, for that matter, the life of any Canadian. No one can seriously fear that tomorrow, or in ten years, or in fifty years, production will fail in Canada. The contrary is true. There will be more tomorrow than today. Fear should be banished. It would be banished with the removal of artificial financial limitations which often prevent the flow of production to the consumer's table. Financial restrictions which do not reflect the true facts of production and abundance would be removed in an economy of dividends to all, geared to the productive potential rather than crippled by a lack of money.

Christian principles must prevail

Today the worker often does not know what production he is contributing to, and he does not know what or whom it is for. He is without responsibility as to the kind of production which comes out of his work. He is no more than a cog in the machine. This is de-personalization. And de-personalization is anti-Christian.

The worker is made to do things for which nobody is asking. He is made to work on programs intended to kill fellow men, often fellow Christians, when governments decide — often contrary to his wishes — to go into war.

That kind of production must be paid for, although it brings nothing into the larder nor into the wardrobe. It contributes to raise the cost of living. If we have to make bread and bombs in order to buy bread, then the people pay for their bread with the cost of the bread plus the cost of the bombs.

And this is the fruit of the financial system. When purchasing power distributed in the production of consumable goods cannot buy those goods, unemployment begins. And you hear everyone (the union leaders first) howl for public projects and `programs', for war contracts, for things which no housewife will want. All this must be paid for in some way, along with the price of things the housewife wants.

Only Social Credit offers a remedy. By balancing the purchasing power at all times with the prices of goods offered for sale, there is no need to turn to the production of non-consumable goods to buy consumable goods.

The present financial system brings to labour fleeting security and `prosperity' only as a by-product of war and destruction. The application of common sense Social Credit principles of money would bring to labour in peacetime the freedom, the security, and the abundance resulting from a full and continuous total distribution of Canada's vast productive machine.

Social Credit principles would restore the dignity of the individual in labour. Social Credit stands for the application of Christian principles in every aspect of Canadian life.

About the Author