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Freedom and Dignity

on Wednesday, 01 May 2019. Posted in The Social Dividend

44. Why do we need a guaranteed income to ensure our freedom and dignity?

All people have freedom inscribed in their hearts, but if a person does not have the basics of life, freedom is no more than a word.

People will suffer all manner of humiliations if they do not have access to basic goods. When people are guaranteed their subsistence those with self-respect will accept privations and even renounce well-being and comforts rather than lose their freedom. This is why exploiters, in both politics and industry, react negatively as soon as the question arises whether society should guarantee a “vital minimum” to each of its members.

45. What is meant by “vital minimum”?

The “vital minimum” refers to the least amount of economic security required to meet basic needs. Some human needs are essential and if they are not satisfied life cannot proceed. Other needs are less essential but are of great value to the quality of life and personal development. Still other needs are perfectly legitimate but may seem superfluous.

In the scheme of life’s basic needs, all people are equal. Thus we cannot approve of a social and economic system that allows some of its members to do without the basics while others live in luxury. The “vital minimum” requires that each individual has available a minimum amount of purchasing power. This aim is achievable, straightforward and necessary with today’s methods of mechanized production.

46. Who is responsible for the provision to each person of a “vital minimum”?

It is the duty of a well-organized society to ensure that each of its members be guaranteed at least the minimum amount required for living.

Economic security, i.e., having basic needs met, is one thing; an individual’s freedom of choice is another. To be real and effective, freedom requires one to have a minimum of economic security.

47. Wasn’t the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [signed in 1948] created to serve that purpose?

Society proclaims the right to life, but has no legislation enabling and enforcing this right.

Civil societies do not appear concerned with the well-being of each of their members. Even in countries where goods are plentiful, the allocation of money is not adjusted to the level necessary to satisfy human needs. Money is strictly used to gain financial profit.

This shows contempt for the human person and a departure from the plan of God who is the Creator of all forms of wealth. Goods are intended for all men.

48. How will societies guarantee this “vital minimum”?

Some radical changes will have to be made: not to the way we make goods, nor to the ownership of the means of production, but rather to the financial system.

Douglas developed proposals that offer a mode of distribution that would place money at the service of physical realities. The implementation of these proposals, known as Social Credit, would guarantee that all individuals receive their share of the huge amount of modern production in a stable and sustainable way.

Human beings would be recognized and treated as more important than money. The primacy of the human person would be recognized; a primacy claimed in principle, but that no government has thus far protected in legislation.

49. Are wage subsidies a more efficient means than Social Dividends of securing income?

Governments often grant or refuse to grant subsidies according to political factors. They set conditions and restrictions. Subsidy politics creates recipients that have their hands tied and who are made to feel obligated to government.

Social Dividend policy does the opposite. It renders people free. By having money to pay for goods and services we need not turn to the government for aid. Free people can pay for their institutions and can, in turn, attain their personal goals.

50. How do you respond to people who say that Social Dividends will lead to inflation?

The same people who raise this false alarm do not worry that government subsidies will be inflationary. If resources and workers are available to establish subsidies why would they not be available to answer the need for Social Dividends?

51. Do you see a difference between subsidies and Social Dividends?

The results are quite different. Subsidies create recipients who have moral debts; the Social Dividend leaves citizens free. Subsidies turn governments into guardians while Social Dividends make governments the servants of the people.

The politics of subsidies opens the door to favouring the “friends” of the government to the detriment of other citizens since subsidies are financed through taxation. Social Dividends, however, treat the lowest ranking citizen regally.

The basis of the Social Dividend is applied science and progress placed at the service of each individual. The rationale is progress: the huge actual and potential production of a nation. Dividends will be issued in the form of money.

Under Social Credit there would be no financial problem where there existed no problem of production. There is no secret. Social Credit ensures that money reflect production rather than limit production.

Today’s monetary system is used mainly to drive individuals and governments into debt.

52. Could Social Dividends be the “vital minimum” that would guarantee an individual’s freedom and dignity?

Yes! This is where we can address the outstanding fact that the Social Dividend guarantees social security. The Social Dividend is the only form of social security that does not humiliate or impede. Accessing bread, with no condition other than that bread exists, would free people. The first fruit of progress should be the guarantee that necessities are taken care of and that economic security for today and tomorrow is ensured.

A Social Dividend, to each and every person from birth until death, would provide mankind with the beautiful fruit that is derived from progress.

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