Money, an instrument of distribution
by Louis Even
Why do the Social Crediters always speak about money, the monetary system, a reform of the money system?
Because almost all the problems that are worrying us every day are money problems. Not only the problems of the individuals, but also the problems of institutions, schools, universities, municipalities, governments.
In today's world, one cannot live very long without obtaining the products made by others; and these other people also need our products. And we cannot obtain the products of others without paying for them. And to pay for them, we need money.
Thus money is a license to live. Not because we eat money when we are hungry; neither because we wear money to get dressed. But without money, you have nothing except what you can produce yourself, if you have some means of production at your disposal.
Without money, you don't go very far. Even those who are not attached to money are obliged to have some if they don't want to end in a coffin too rapidly.
But, some will say, money is an invention of the devil. It is a source of disorder. It is an instrument of domination. It is a tool of perdition.
It is the bad use of money, the bad management of the money system, that comes from the devil, that causes all of this, and many more horrible things.
But money, as an instrument of exchange and of distribution of products, is perhaps the most beautiful social invention of man. Note, it is an instrument of distribution, because it is precisely for this end that it has been established. Thanks to the existence of money, the farmer who has more potatoes than what he needs for his family, and would like shoes for his children, is not obliged to find a shoemaker who has too many shoes, and who needs potatoes. The same thing for the shoemaker: he is not obliged to go to the countryside to find a man who has too many potatoes, and would like shoes.
Each one offers on the general market what he does not need for himself. He obtains this little thing that does not take much room, and it is called money. Then, with this money, he chooses what he wants on the general market.
He can choose what he wants: here is a great quantity of money. Money is as good to choose butter as to choose a musical instrument. Everybody accepts money in return for his products or his work, because everybody knows he will be able to have this money accepted by everybody to buy anything.
In itself, money is not much, especially modern money. A simple printed piece of paper, showing the figure 5, permits you to buy what you want for five dollars' worth. And if the piece of paper, not larger, not thicker, shows the number 10, it permits you to choose any products for 10 dollars' worth.
Money has practically no value in itself. It is essentially a number that shows a value, that represents a value, that permits to obtain this value.
Even so, the products have to be there!
Of course, the products have to be there, if one wants to get them.
Money is not a commodity or a product; it is an instrument to distribute products. One cannot distribute products that do not exist.
It would be absurd to say that we can live with figures representing values, when there are no products that can be obtained for this value.
Distribute as much money as you like to a man who lives isolated in the north pole, or in a desert from where he cannot get out: it will be useless.
But it is as just as absurd, and even more aggravating, to be short of figures to obtain products that are being, offered and that we need to live.
This means that there must be a just relation between the products marked with a certain value, and the figures in the hands of those who need these products.
Is it bookkeeping?
Exactly! On one side, there are products, marked with figures called prices. On the other side, there are pieces of paper, or round pieces of metal, or bank accounts, with figures that are purchasing power.
When you can put the sign equal between the two things, the products can pass from the producer or the retailer to the consumer who needs them.
So, is our money system good?
It would be good if the bookkeeping was exact, and if the figures that give a right to the products were well distributed. But the system is vitiated, because those who run it are doing a wrong bookkeeping, and also because the figures are not fairly distributed.
The accountants are neither the producers nor the governments. The figures begin, originate, in the banks, and these figures are not in relation with the production being offered, but in relation with what the banker thinks he may profit by the trafficking of these figures.
Instead of being a simple serving bookkeeping system, the money system has been vitiated. Its control has been monopolized; it has become an object of trafficking, of domination, of tyranny, of daily dictatorship over our lives.
The farmer may increase his production: the accountant in charge of the money system — the banker — does not increase the amount of money figures for all of that, and he does not distribute money figures to those who need to buy the products of the farmer.
Figures are more abundant when one produces guns, bombs, even though nobody wants these kinds of jewels. These figures are distributed to the wage-earners, to those who produce ammunition, who produce nothing to be put for sale on the market; this can only serve to increase prices, and reduce the purchasing power of the figures.
And when we are not at war or preparing the war, it is just the opposite.
We saw our great statesmen, in all the civilized nations, allow the figure traffickers to make peoples stand in the corner and starve to death for ten years, in front of products that were not sold, because of a lack of figures.
It was criminal. The false accountants were criminal. The governments, elected for the common good, were the accomplices of the criminals, letting it be done through cowardice or foolishness.
Do the Social Crediters want to get rid of the whole system?
Not at all. They consider it a very good thing for money to be, essentially, a matter of bookkeeping. But they want a just bookkeeping.
They want money to be brought back to its proper role: an instrument of distribution.
And it is very simple to achieve. Since money is a claim on products, the public must have sufficient purchasing power to order the products they need, as quickly as the productive system can supply these products.
Then, among the public, each individual must have a sufficient share of this purchasing power, since each individual has the right to live, and it is impossible to live without money, to get the products.
That is why Social Credit proposes:
A. The establishment of a (national or provincial) Credit Office that would keep a record of the total production and consumption (or destruction or depreciation) in the country or the province. The present Department of Statistics already gives almost all of this information; besides that, an approximate estimation is quite sufficient.
B. A total purchasing power in relation with the productive capacity, and justly distributed among the members of society:
1. Through rewards for work, like today, distributed by industry itself.
2. Through a periodic dividend to each individual, whether he is employed or not, from birth to death, to ensure each one, at least, of a sufficient share to live; this dividend would be distributed by the Credit Office.
3. Through a reduction of prices, a general discount that would banish any inflation; this discount would be compensated to the retailer by the Credit Office.
Where would the Credit Office get the money for the dividends and compensations to the retailers in return for the discount?
Since money is a figure that permits us to obtain things from the production of the country, the Credit Office would simply issue these figures inasmuch as the productive capacity can answer these orders. It is only a matter of bookkeeping.
These figures may well be simple writings of credit in an account opened for each citizen; and a simple cheque drawn upon the national (or provincial) credit, sent to the retailer, on presentation of his discount vouchers.
It is impossible, as well as useless, to give here technical details. Moreover, the methods of application are various. (One possible method of application is exposed in Louis Even's brochure, A Sound and Effective Financial System.)
Do you think these credits would circulate and be accepted like money?
Certainly! They do circulate and are accepted today. The loans or overdrafts to manufacturers, retailers; the credits that allowed Mackenzie King, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the others to organize six years of human slaughter — all that is not, and was not, gold nor even paper, but mere figures written down in accounts, and mobilized through cheques.
But do you think a money system can be run just like that?
Do you prefer money to lead mankind?
Moreover, you must notice that there is nothing arbitrary in the monetary bookkeeping proposed by Social Credit.
Production remains the business of the producers themselves. Consumption remains the business of the consumers themselves. The accountants of the Credit Office only note down both total amounts. They mathematically deduce what is lacking on one side to make it equal to the other.
So there are no expropriations, no nationalization, nor decrees dictating what should be produced or consumed. Social Credit is a perfect economic democracy.
Everything remains the business of free men. Freer than today, because those consumers who have sufficient purchasing power would order much more freely the products of their choice, than those whose wallets are always flat and often empty.
This article was published in the May-June-July, 2002 issue of “Michael”, and is also available in the form of an 8-page leaflet (with the articles “It is urgent to put an end to the scandal of poverty”, by Alain Pilote, “Social Credit is the application of the Social Doctrine of the Church”, by Bishop Frankowski of Poland, “and another article of Louis Even, “To solve the problem of poverty”).