In a Social Credit financial system, part of the new money created interest-free by the nation would be distributed to every citizen in the form of a monthly dividend. This dividend would be based on the two biggest factors to modern production: the inheritance of natural resources and the inventions of past generations, which are both free gifts from God, therefore belonging to all. Those who are employed in production would still receive a salary, but everyone, employed as well as unemployed, would receive his or her dividend.
Another reason for giving this dividend to people is to fill the present gap in the purchasing power: In the present financial system, wages are not sufficient to purchase all of existing production, wages being just one part of the production cost of any item. A Social Credit system would therefore not only finance the production of goods satisfying human needs, but it would also finance the distribution of these goods to make sure that they reach those who need them.
The dividend formula would be infinitely better than the present social programs like welfare, unemployment insurance, etc., since the dividend would not be financed by the taxes of those who are employed, but by new money created by the National Credit Office. No one would therefore live at the expense of the taxpayers; in the case of Canada, the dividend would be a heritage that is due to all Canadian citizens, who are all stockholders in "Canada Limited". And contrary to welfare, this dividend would be given unconditionally, without means tests, and would therefore not penalize those who want to work. Far from being an incitement to idleness, the dividend would allow people to allocate themselves to jobs to which they are best suited. People could develop the talents that God gave them, and use them advisedly.
In 1850, manufacturing as we know it today was barely started, with man doing 20% of the work, animals 50%, and machines accounting for only 30%. By 1900, man was doing only 15%, animals 30%, and machines 55%. By 1950, man was doing only 6%, and machines the rest — 94%. (The animals have been freed!)
And we have seen nothing yet, since we are only entering the computer age, which allows places like the Nissan Zama plant in Japan to produce 1,300 cars a day with the help of only 67 humans Å that is more than 13 cars a day per man. There are even some factories that are entirely automated, without any human employee like the Fiat motor factory in Italy, which is under the control of some twenty robots who do all the work.
A recent Swiss study said that "in thirty years from now, less than 2% of the present workforce will be enough to produce the totality of the goods that people need." Three out of every four workers — from retail clerks to surgeons — will eventually be replaced by computer-guided machines.
If the rule that limits the distribution of income to those who are employed is not changed, society is heading for chaos. It would be plain ludicrous to tax 2% of workers to support 98% of unemployed people. One definitely needs a source of income that is not tied to employment. The case is definitely made for the Social Credit dividend.
Alain Pilote has been the editor of the English edition of MICHAEL for several years. Twice a year we organize a week of study of the social doctrine of the Church and its application and Mr. Pilote is the instructor during these sessions.