Cast a glance on all the objects that are in your home: a piano, ties, beds, forks; whatever object, they have all been purchased. If they are a gift, the person who gave them to you had to purchase them first.
Unless you are a farmer, all that is on your table or in the refrigerator has also been bought. Even farmers have on their tables things they had to buy — just to mention pepper and salt — and they also had to purchase the ploughing implements that allowed them to produce the food that is on their tables or that they sell on the market.
This is modern life: people work to produce goods that will not be consumed by themselves personally, that will not end up in their homes. These goods are made to be sold on the community market, nation-wide.
Then, each person goes to this community market and chooses what he wants. One can choose as long as one has the means to choose, since the products are not given away; they are sold. They are marked with a price tag, in dollars and cents. In other words, to be able to buy something, you must possess the equivalent in dollars and coins. The more money you have, the more choices you have to purchase goods. If you have no money at all, well, you can choose absolutely nothing: you must then live off the charity of others.
Stroll along the commercial streets of big cities, or visit shopping malls, and you will see — especially in the holiday season — plenty of all kinds of goods. If you enter these stores, sales people will hasten to ask you if you need anything. And if you were the retailer, you would receive catalogs from producers, and have the visit of commercial travellers, also anxious to sell you all kinds of goods, in order to keep your shelves filled, and restock you with goods as they are sold.
But if you stroll along some residential areas, the sight might be different. Even though there are plenty of goods displayed in the stores, you do not find the same abundance of goods in homes: it is rather poverty and scarcity that is displayed there. Yes, it is in these homes that human people live, they who are most in need of the goods displayed in the stores in plenty.
An abundance of goods exists — at least in the stores — but there is some rationing on their distribution, which is submitted to other conditions than human needs. The distribution of goods today is submitted to financial conditions that leave human needs unanswered in front of an abundance of goods.
As it was said above, this situation exists because you must pay for goods in order to get them. And to pay for them, you must have some money.
This means that our standard of living depends on the existence of two things: first, the existence of goods before us, and second, the existence of purchasing power in our pockets.
The existence of goods before us — whether in the stores or warehouses — is no problem today. Goods can come in the stores as fast as they are ordered — even faster, since there are plenty of goods that pile up to the point of overproduction, which forces manufacturers to stop their activities and lay off workers. Unemployment means production made but not sold; it means an abundance of goods but a scarcity of money.
If goods arrive on the market quickly and in plenty, the purchasing power in our pockets comes at a much slower rate. To prove it, wallets are often empty, but the stores are never completely empty. New goods arrive faster in the stores than money does in our wallets.
There is a price on every good for sale. What is this price made up of? Look, it is made up of figures.
And what about the money in your pockets — when you have some, what is it made up of? Look, it is made up of figures. Take bank notes of $2, $5, or $10: they are all rectangular pieces of paper of 6 inches by 2.75 inches. What differentiates them from each other is the figures printed on them, nothing else. The 10-dollar note is worth twice as much as the 5-dollar note because one bears the number 10, and the other, the number 5.
If you have a bank account, you can say: "I have some money deposited in the bank." What is this money in the bank made up of? Look in the banker's ledger, or in your bankbook: you see nothing but figures.
When you write a cheque to pay somebody, or when somebody writes a cheque to pay you, what gives value to this cheque? The amount that is written upon it — the figures.
Prices on goods are figures. Money to purchase goods is also figures.
If the figures that are prices and the figures that are money corresponded, there would be no more problem to pay than there is to produce.
But this is not the case, and that is why goods pile up even though retailers try to sell them; that is why they do not reach the consumers who need them.
There is a lack of purchasing power, whereas goods are far from lacking. Purchasing power consists in the relation between the figures you have in your wallet and the figures that are marked on goods. There is no equality between the money-figures and the price-figures, because there is no organism charged with making both balance.
When the figures that are marked on goods increase, people say: "The cost of living is high." But say what you like, it remains high.
When the figures in our wallets diminish or disappear, people say: "Money is tight. We do not have enough money." But say what you like, it will not make money come into your wallets.
He who has little money, who is continuously short of money for his needs, says: "I am poor." There are many people who say: "I am poor."
There are some of these people who say: "I am poor because there are other people who are too wealthy." We, Social Crediters, never say this. We know that one does not have to impoverish the wealthy in order to make the poor richer.
Let us suppose there is not much money in your wallet. Go to a store; go, if you wish, at the same time as a rich person goes. What do you notice? The rich person easily buys everything he needs. He leaves the store with one or several full boxes. Is the store empty because of this? If you cannot bring home what you need from the store, is it because this rich person took so much with him that there is nothing left for you?
Of course not. The real reason is because your wallet is too slim. So, if money was put in your wallet without taking it from the rich person's wallet, would this not suit you?
Then, what prevents more money from being put into the wallets when there are still unsold goods and a multitude of unemployed people who could make even more goods if the quantity of goods threatened to diminish? If money is figures, what prevents the money-figures from being put at the level of the price-figures? The rich person does not possess all the figures of arithmetic. Figures are the most inexhaustible thing that can exist. It is a very strange thing indeed that people have to suffer, not because of a lack of goods, but because of a lack of figures.
Oh, I could imagine some distinguished economist who says with a shrug: "Money cannot be created just like that; what would be the use of money with no goods to match it?"
It would certainly be useless! But please tell us, Sir, what use are goods with no money in front of them? They are only useful to make people unemployed, deprived, and exasperated. But if you have goods in front of needs, and money on the same side as needs, then both goods and money will be useful.
Of course, money must not be created in any way, without any relation to goods. Money must be issued in an intelligent way, so that the price-figures and the money-figures can correspond, and so that everyone can have enough money-figures to live.
There are two ways to have price-figures and money-figures correspond: prices can be lowered, or wallets fattened.
Social Credit would do both without harming anybody, by suiting everybody.
With the present financial system, it is impossible to lower the prices without harming the producers, and impossible to fatten the wallets without raising the prices.
You have seen, quite often, workers demanding pay raises. Why? Because their wages, which are made up of money-figures, are too small in comparison with the price-figures marked on goods. They are right to complain since they have needs that remain unanswered in front of goods that pile up.
But if workers get pay raises, these pay raises are included in the prices, and the price-figures increase accordingly. The gap remains between the price-figures and the money-figures.
Money-figures must be increased without increasing the price-figures. For this, additional money must come from a source other than industry. This is what a Social Credit financial system would do. This is what the Social Crediters call "a dividend" (or others, a "basic income"): a dividend to all, since it is not a salary as a reward for work.
On the other hand, Social Credit also proposes a monetary mechanism to lower prices, without harming the producers, because the retailers would be compensated for the sum the consumers do not have to pay.
The two mechanisms put together — the lowering of prices and the dividend — would be calculated so as to balance price-figures and money-figures.
Both are needed. If there is only a dividend, the prices could tend to raise, even if the actual cost price of goods remains the same. And if there is only the lowering of prices, without a dividend, it would be of no use for people with no income.
More and more, technological progress allows to produce more with less human labour.
This progress, the many inventions, scientific applications, discoveries of new sources of energy, are not due to the work of a single man, nor the work of a few, not even the work of the present generation only. All this progress is capital that has been increased and transmitted from one generation to the next. It is a communal good that must not benefit only a few. "The discoveries of human genius," wrote Damien Jasmin, "must benefit every man, and not only a few fortunate and rich ones."
When a capitalist invests some money in a company, if this company is profitable, the capitalist gets a dividend, even though he does not work personally in this company. Those who work in that company receive wages, but the capitalist who invested money in it receives a dividend; and if he also works himself in the company, he receives both a salary and a dividend.
Well, Social Credit says that progress — the great capital we have just talked about above, which is a community capital that is more and more productive — must bring in dividends to all, since all the members of society are the co-owners of this progress. Those who do not work remain just the same the co-owners of this communal capital, and are entitled to a dividend. Those who work are also entitled to this dividend, and to their wages as well,
This is where the Social Crediters stand on the progress issue.
Those who persist in saying that one must be hired to be allowed to purchase goods, are obliged to create new jobs, whereas progress eliminates the need for human labour. They go against progress! They try to create new material needs to keep people employed, thus making progress lead to materialism. Or else, they direct the economy towards war production, and to war itself, which is the most efficient way to destroy production and to keep people employed.
The Social Crediters want to put progress at the service of man, and free man, more and more, from material worries, thus allowing him to devote himself to functions other than the sole economic function.
The dividend to each and everyone, besides being an acknowledgement of the right of all to an income issued from a productive communal capital, is also the most direct method to guarantee to every human being at least a share in the material goods, which are meant for all.
This method is all the more urgent since there is no other method proposed today to ensure this right. In a world where at least two-thirds of the population have no means of production of their own, they need a compensation so as not to be reduced to choosing between total starvation and becoming the slaves of those who concentrate more and more into their own hands the sources of wealth.
Money must be issued in accordance with production — the symbol issued to represent the realities — and not existing goods destroyed because of a lack of symbols (money-figures) to represent them. Human beings, families, must have enough money in their hands to buy the goods that answer their needs and are available on the market. All this seems so logical, so why is it not done?
Why are we stuck with a system that keeps families in privation for want of money, a system that gives headaches to municipalities, provinces, states, and national governments? Why? Because selfishness and self-centeredness prevails in every level of society, including economics, and poisons human relationships. It is certainly not political divisions that will correct this selfish spirit, this eagerness to help oneself first, as generously as possible, and then abandon other people to their fate, often after having hypocritically misled them in order to get their votes.
Be it considered province-wide, nation-wide or world-wide, the problem of the distribution of wealth is not technical, but a problem of human relations.
It is a world of brotherhood (or as Pope John Paul II often says, a world of solidarity) that will put an end to an economy of wolves. This brotherly world must be built, beginning right in our own circles. It cannot be built by the multiplication of political parties. Parties mobilize politicians who want to take, instead of mobilizing apostles who give of themselves.
This is what the Social Crediters of the "Michael" Journal understand. They know that a brotherly world cannot be built solidly except on Christ. Moreover, those who work at building this world must bring something else than selfishness or the pursuit of honors and money.
The builders of cathedrals considered their work as a work of faith: they brought the gift of their time, energies, skills, their own beings; moreover, before starting their work, they made sure to be in the state of grace, so that each one of their gestures would be in line with the spirit of the venture. Can it be asked less from those who want to build a brotherly world, where the stones of the building are human beings?