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A study of Social Credit by nine theologians

on Friday, 01 October 2004. Posted in Social Credit

As soon as C. H. Douglas published his first writings on Social Credit, the Financiers did everything they could to silence or distort Douglas's doctrine, for they knew that Social Credit would put an end to their control over the creation of money. When Louis Even began diffusing Social Credit in French Canada in 1935, one of the accusations peddled by the Financiers was that Social Credit was Socialism, or Communism. But in 1939, the Roman Catholic Bishops of the Province of Quebec appointed nine theologians to examine the Social Credit system in the eyes of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, and give an opinion as to whether it was tainted with Socialism or Communism. After considerable deliberation, the nine theologians found that Social Credit was not tainted with Socialism nor Communism, and was worthy of close attention. Here are excerpts from this report of nine theologians (To see the full text, go to www.michaeljournal.org/appenA.htm):

Report of the study commission on the Social Credit monetary system

1. The Commission first delimited the field of its study (...) The only question studied here is the following: Is the Social Credit doctrine, in its basic principles, tainted with the Socialism and Communism condemned by the Catholic Church? And if so, should this doctrine be regarded by Catholics as a doctrine that cannot be admitted and diffused?

2. The Commission defines Socialism, and notes what characterizes this doctrine in the light of Quadragesimo Anno: Materialism; class struggle; suppression of private property; control of economic life by the State, in defiance of freedom and personal initiative.

3. The Commission then worded in propositions the basic principles of Social Credit.: "The aim of the Social Credit monetary doctrine is to give to all and each member of society freedom and economic security which the economic and social organism can secure. To that end, instead of reducing production to the level of the purchasing power through the destruction of goods or restrictions on work, Social Credit wants to increase the purchasing power to the level of the productive capacity of goods."

It proposes to that end:

I. The State must take back the control of the issuance of money and credit. It will exercise it through an independent commission possessing the required authority to reach its end.

II. The material resources of the nation, represented by production, constitute the base of money and credit.

III. At any time, the issue of money and credit must be based on the movement of production, in such a way that a sound balance is constantly kept between production and consumption. This balance is ensured, at least partly, through a discount, of which the rate would necessarily vary with the fluctuations of production.

IV. The present economic system, thanks to the many discoveries and inventions that favour it, produces an unexpected abundance of goods, while at the same time reducing the need for human labour, therefore creating permanent unemployment. An important part of the population is thus deprived of any power to purchase goods made for it, and not only for a few individuals or groups. So that all may have a share of the cultural inheritance bequeathed by their forefathers, Social Credit proposes a dividend, of which the amount is determined by the quantity of goods to be consumed. This dividend will be given to every citizen, whether he has other sources of income or not.

4. Now, one must see if there is any taint of Socialism in the propositions mentioned above.

Concerning Paragraph I: This proposition does not seem to include any Socialist princip!e, nor consequently be contrary to the social doctrine of the Church. This affirmation is based on the following passages of the Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno:

"There are certain categories of goods for which one can maintain with reason that they must be reserved to the community when they come to confer such an economic power that it cannot, without danger to the common good, be left to the care of private individuals."

And the Encyclical goes on: "In the first place, then, it is patent that in our days not alone is wealth accumulated, but immense power and despotic economic domination is concentrated in the hands of a few, and that those few are frequently not the owners, but only the trustees and directors of invested funds, who administer them at their good pleasure.

"This power becomes particularly irresistible when exercised by those who, because they hold and control money, are able also to govern credit and determine its allotment, for that reason supplying, so to speak, the lifeblood to the entire economic body, and grasping, as it were, in their hands the very soul of production, so that no one dare breathe against their will."

To want to change such a situation is therefore not contrary to the social doctrine of the Church. (...) Money being, in the Social Credit system, only a means of exchange, of which the issuance is strictly regulated by the statistics of production, private property therefore remains intact; moreover, the allotment of money and credit could even perhaps be less determined by those who control it. To reserve for the community (the control of) money and credit is therefore not against the social doctrine of the Church.

Saint Thomas Aquinas says it implicitly, in his Summa Theologica (Ethica, Volume 5, Lesson 4), when he asserts that it belongs to distributive justice — which, as it is known, is the concern of the State — to distribute common goods, including money, to all those who are part of the civil community.

In fact, money and credit have been, in the past, under the control of the State in several countries, including the Pontifical States; and they are still so in the Vatican. So it would be difficult to see in this proposition a Socialist principle. (...)

Concerning Paragraph IV: The principle of the dividend is also reconcilable with the social doctrine of the Church; besides, it can be compared to the State's power to grant money. The Commission does not see why it would be necessary for the State to own capital goods to pay this dividend; presently — although in an opposite sense — the power to tax, which the State possesses in view of the common good, entails this note even more so, and yet it is admitted. The same affirmation applies to the Social Credit discount: both are based on the principle of the discount in a cooperative system. Besides, cooperation is held in high esteem in Social Credit.

The only control of production and consumption that is necessary for the implementation of Social Credit is the control of statistics, which determines the issue of money and credit. Statistics cannot be considered as a real control or a constraint upon individual freedom; it is only a method of collecting information. The commission cannot admit that statistical control requires the socialization of production, or that it is tainted with Socialism or Communism.

The Commission therefore answers in the negative to the question: "Is Social Credit tainted with Socialism?" The Commission cannot see how the basic principles of the Social Credit system, as explained above, could be condemned on behalf of the Church and her social doctrine.

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