Man's desire lins always been to do away with unnecessary labour. No nornal man will toil to move two stones, when moving one is quite enough to obtain the result he desires. No gardener will waste his time watering his plot of land at the end of a rainy day.
Man also likes to be freed from the necessity of labouring under the dictates of another. He far prefers to be free to apply his time and energies to his own affairs.
It should, then, be good news for the worker to learn that he is no longer required eight hours a day away from his home to carry out another man's decisions; to learn that he is now free because the labour to produce has been shifted from his back to the back of a power-driven machine.
This should be hailed by all as progress — as liberation.
And should it not be an occasion for rejoicing for the community of workers if they were told: “You may all go on vacation for a good period because machines and technological improvements have helped you to fill the stores and warehouses, to stock up the countries with goods. Everything is there for the community, without immediate further labour.”?
This would be the start of a cheerful holiday, indeed, if the worker's income, his purchasing power, his title to goods, were governed by the presence of goods on the market, and not by his presence in a working plant. As the rules are now, a man without a job is a man without the means of getting goods, even if the goods are there in abundance.
Your hours of employment, in the sense commonly given to the word "employment,” are hours taken away from your free use. The time you are employed, you are not a free man; you are your employer's man. The minute your employment ceases your time belongs to you. You become the master of your decisions.
So, as things are, you are compelled to consider as a blessing the privilege of rendering your liberty into the hands of an employer, and as a curse your ushering into an indefinite period of leisure.
Leisure! What is leisure, when you have no means of production of your own, and no more wages to buy the goods turned out where the means of production are?
And that is why men who by nature cherish liberty are made to crave for employment.
Our twentieth century world boasts of its inventions, its labour-saving devices, its nearly automatic machines and mass production. In the same twentieth century world, you hear all governments back the slogan — "full employment."
— But how can a man live without employment?
— Nobody lives on employment. We all live on goods. And if goods come without employment, we should be able to have the goods without employment. If goods come abundantly with little employment, we should obtain an abundance of goods with little employment. Employment will never satisfy hunger, nor any other human need. Food and other goods will.
— But if a man does not himself produce the goods he needs, he cannot have them without paying for them.
— This is our accepted condition, and it may well be maintained. But then, let us have full empayment, not full employment.
If employment is not needed to produce the goods, and payment is needed to obtain them, then surely full empayment becomes the formula for distributing fully the goods answering human needs. Social Credit would do it by distributing to all a periodic dividend to buy the fruits of progress.
As long as we attach income to employment exclusively, any increase in production, with a decrease in employment, will create only despair for those who are “liberated” from the program of production. And this explains the following letter, which appeared in the May 5th issue of The Daily Nugget, published in North Bay, Ontario. The letter could have been signed by hundreds of thousands of other unemployed in Canada.
The Daily Nugget
This is a letter expressing my opinion of the unemployment situation as it appears to me.
First of all, I will remind the people of 1939 when this country abruptly arose from a terrible depression. War was declared, and immediately millions of dollars appeared from nowhere to feed the factories, men and material that would go off to other parts of the world to destroy their fellow man.
War is a terrible thing; but it appears that the very existence of war or the threat of war is the only stimulant that gives Canadians, who have been fortunate enough to keep war from their own continent, a fairly decent standard of living. Does this type of existence have to be in one of the most wonderful countries in the world?
Many people have steady employment, and can just manage to get by in the struggle for a reasonable existence in these days of high prices.
But what of the poor fellow who is unemployed for six months at a time? There are many in that position. I for one have been out of work for five months.
He goes regularly once a week to the Unemployment Insurance Office; and if he is fortunate enough to have benefits left to his credit, he collects the insurance. This puny sum, by the way, provides him with a very bare existence. I will admit, however, that without this so-called pogy, as it is commonly called, thousands would go hungry.
When a person living hand to mouth on these benefits hears of a job some distance from his home, he immediately slices up his unemployment insurance cheque, giving the major portion to his wife and family, and taking the remainder portion with him on his journey, to ward off the pangs of hunger and possibly get a little shelter from the weather at night. He rushes to this golden opportunity like a drowning man clutching for a straw, only to find out when he gets there that 500 other men had the same idea. The results of this futile trip are that his family is deprived of a few more necessities of life.
This kind of existence is the reason thousands were rejected when the army needed men.
There are many miserable situations arising from unemployment, but I believe people get the general idea of what I am talking about.
It is indeed too bad we are forced to have depressions, while the most brilliant minds in the country — men who are capable of such thinking power, men who if directed the right way could solve this dilemma — are wasting their talents on more tools of destruction to eliminate more human beings...
There is talk of the terrible scourge of Communism and what a terrible thing it is. In my opinion, situations as I have described in this letter will breed Communism faster than rats in a city dump.
I feel I am expressing the opinion of thousands in the same boat as myself...
F. WIGGINS, Sturgeon Falls
If the scourge of anti-Christian communism is to be kept from Canada, then we must lose no time in applying common sense, Christian principles to our economy and society. Social Credit is a policy towards this end.