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30 Million Capitalists

Written by Louis Even on Thursday, 01 August 1968. Posted in In This Age of Plenty (book)

In this age of plenty - Chapter 47

Well-deserved reproaches

If a Communist says to you:

In your capitalist countries, wealth accumulates up in the hands of a few men. They become very wealthy and enlist others in their service. The more money they have, the more they use it to add to their fortune. They buy out small businesses. They do away with small industrial concerns, and they establish large companies, with huge factories, into which the working masses must engulf themselves every morning, often at night, and perform what they are ordered to do, or else die of hunger. It is the small number of individuals who accumulate capital, who run the show, and it is the great number of hard working people who are being led.

If a Communist tells you this, can you deny it? Obviously not, since what he says is very much in keeping with the facts.

And if a Communist tells you:

In your capitalist countries, when a government or a public body needs to carry out public works, to build schools, hospitals, water systems, roads, canals, airports, if it does not have any money, it remains paralyzed, even though there is everything required in the country to carry out these public works. If it wants these public works carried out, it must fall into debt, that is to say, drive the population into debt for works that the population will itself carry out; or it must tax more, thus reducing the purchasing power of the individuals, while the country can actually produce both capital goods and consumer goods simultaneously. In other words, your government must deprive you of butter in order to provide asphalted roads, while the country can provide both: all the asphalt to pave the roads and all the butter needed to butter your bread.”

If a Communist speaks to you that way, will you tell him that he is lying? He might be in the habit of lying when he speaks highly of the Communist regimes, but he is not lying when he is putting under your nose, these absurdities found in our capitalist countries.

You do not want to live under a Communist regime which conscripts all people to the orders of the technocrats of the party in power. You do not want a Communist government, which keeps watch over and spies on everything and everyone through its secret police and its informers.

But what can you reply to the Communist who accuses the capitalist system of injustice in its distribution of wealth, and of subjection of the public bodies to the monetary dictatorship?

If you are not a Social Crediter, if you believe that the monetary system which imposes its conditions and its regulations is a sacred and untouchable system, with which one must try to make one's way in life even if it means stepping over everyone else, then you have little to answer the Communist. Spiritual arguments on religious grounds may perhaps have merit if you omit the sacrificing of the natural rights of human beings to the demands of the financial system. But on temporal grounds, on the grounds of a just distribution of wealth, and the emancipation from purely financial obstacles, you are terribly deprived; you are empty-handed. And you are so, more and more of your own volition, because Social Credit has for a long time presented you with the effective remedy to the monetary dictatorship — a remedy which would bring back the capitalist system to its proper role of making the production and the distribution of goods respond to the needs of all, with a maximum of economic security and of personal liberty.

Everyone a capitalist

Question: “And how would Social Credit bring about this wonderful transformation? How can it turn monopolizers into servants concerned with the needs of the population?”

Answer: Social Credit would do so, precisely by breaking the monopoly — a monopoly which is no longer based on sound capitalism, but a monstrosity stemming from a defective financial system, tyrannical at its origin and in the way it works. Social Credit would put an end to the monopoly by turning each individual into a capitalist: 30 million capitalists in a Canada 30 million strong. (Canada's population in 2008)

Question: “But how could those who have little or no money be considered capitalists?”

Answer: First, by giving the word “capital” its true meaning of "production factor", rather than the narrow meaning of "sums of money". Think of capital in terms of reality, and not in terms of symbols. Money is only a symbol, a token. Goods are the true realities in production. Money only serves to measure, to calculate the comparative value of things, to record, to count.

If I own a farm, with its buildings, its animals, its agriultural implements — even if I have no money in my pockets — I own capital — my farm — capital which I can develop and from which I can draw products. I am a capitalist.

The real capital of a country is its production capacity. You can add all the money in the world, if there is no production capacity, there will be no products. This country will feed no one.

A large communal capital

Question: “Very well. But there are people who possess neither real capital nor money capital; who have no farm, no factory, nor any other production factor. How can they be turned into capitalists since you said: ‘Everyone a capitalist’?”

Answer: It can be done by considering the factors that go into the country's production, and to whom these factors belong.

We wrote in a recent article on the subject: Production, especially modern production, depends upon many factors other than the work of producers and the investments of those who have money. First of all, it depends upon the existence of raw material, of natural resources, without which no production is possible. It depends also, and increasingly, on progress transmitted from one generation to the next: inventions, discoveries, know-how, improvements in production techniques — progress which leads to production being made more rapidly, even while using fewer employees for fewer working hours.

Now, both of these elements — natural resources and progress — are not the sole property of any one individual. The first element — natural resources — is a free gift from God to all of humanity. The second — progress — is a bequeathed heritage from past generations, and we are all coheirs of it by right.

We are, all of us, the co-ownersof an immense real capital. This is a communal capital that no one carries around with him but which, having become a preponderant factor in modern production, must no doubt be worth a dividend to all the co-owners. It is a social dividend to which all are equally entitled, as members of the national community.

How can this be applied? It can be done as follows, by borrowing from the vocabulary used in the world of investment:

Those who invest private capital in production get a share or several shares relative to their investment. They become shareholders. Let us say that all the citizens of a country are the co-owners of a huge real capital, an important factor of production, and that each one gets one social share that reflects his part of this capital. This share does not need to be expressed in money. It is part of a real capital, and its value depends upon the productivity of this real capital during production. And, we do not hesitate to say that the greater part of modern production stems much more from this social capital than from the personal participation of those who are hired in the production processes, whether as employers or employees. The role played by these participants is certainly necessary and must be remunerated, but the role played by the social capital expands, whereas the role of the human resources shrinks. This means that the social dividend should gradually displace the wage and other forms of remuneration paid out to the producers.

Meanwhile, during the fine-tuning of the system, the periodic dividend to each citizen should allow each one to get at least the basic necessities of life. This is, after all, the first function of a sound and well-established economic organism.

Report to the shareholders

Then, since all citizens are shareholders of the communal capital, the public organism in charge of the system would publish a "periodic report to shareholders". Such as the following:

During the last accounting period, you have each received a monthly dividend of $800, based on the results of the previous accounting periods. Now, during the last accounting period, the value of the country's annual production went from 590 billion dollars to 600 billion dollars, without any increase in manpower. This increase is therefore due to progress, which is a communal capital. Therefore it must not be expressed by a pay increase, but by an increase in the social dividend. The latter will therefore be increased by $15 a month to each of the 30 million Canadians. That is to say, a total of $5.4 billion for the year. The rest of the increase ($4.6 billion) will be integrated through the compensated-price mechanism, to reduce retail prices to be paid by the consumers without infringing upon the producers' cost prices.”

This compensated price is a Social Credit technique, which has the effect of making the population pay for all of its various production at the cost of all of its various consumption. This is the just price. We must pay the price of what we consume during production, rather than the cost price of what we produce. That is logical, not only for the individual consumer, but for the national community as a whole. We will not explain here this wonderful Social Credit technique, which would do away with all inflation, as well as all deflation, and which would allow us to do away with our country's complex system of taxation.

But let us return briefly to the system by which a share of the production is distributed to all the citizens in the form of a dividend. What are its foreseeable effects? We foresee numerous and beneficial effects, but it would require at least one more article to outline these even in a prospective summary.

Modifications needed

Let us reply here to a remark which comes up too often: “This conception of a distributive economy can seem logical and wonderful. But is this not a beautiful utopia that is practically unrealizable?” Why unrealizable? Because one would need to make a few modifications, light ones at that but of a philosophical nature, to the present financial system? But this system is a more flexible. It can be done, as was proven during World War II. The system, which had kept the world in a long and major depression before the war, was made more flexible so as to finance, at the rate needed, the required production of war engines, and to finance their free distribution upon ennemy heads. It can be made and must be made more flexible to finance production as to where and when needed, and distribution as to where and when needed to satisfy, in their order of priority, the needs of all the people, of all the families of the the country.

To refuse changing the financial system when it is possible to do so, is a crime on the part of the controllers of the system. To let the wrong perpetuate itself is, on the part of the country's authorities, no less a criminal complicity, or a cowardice laden with guilt. Neither can be tolerated when coming from the guardians of Justice and of the common good.

(By Louis Even, published in the August, 1968 issue of the Vers Demain Journal.)










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