Finality, or purpose, gives direction to everything — provides an end to reach, a goal to attain. When the end is lost sight of it is as if a mariner had lost the north; he goes this way, and that without knowing which course he is following or which course he should set in order to reach his predetermined goal.
When the economy "loses the north" the effects are felt in the lives of each and every individual. It is not difficult to discover what the end or purpose of the economy is. Ask a school child why we grow wheat or build houses and he will reply: "To make bread; to provide lodgings".
But ask a professor in economics the purpose of industry and the chances are he will answer: "To provide employment".
What are the unions constantly demanding of the government? And what are politicians just as constantly promising? Total and complete employment,
Well, the unions, the economists and governments have, in fact, "lost the north". So too have producers, for they no longer produce with the intention of filling needs but of making money. If there is money to be made they stay in business; otherwise they close down regardless of how pressing the demand is for their products.
Goods are produced to meet needs. What those needs are is best known by those who are in need. Hence they are the ones who should have the say in what is to be produced.
But the contrary is true. Those who are in need, having little money, are those who have the least to say in what is to be produced. Scan the pages of our big dailies. Do you see the consumer telling the producer what to make? Not at all. It is the producer telling the consumer what he is to buy.
Having lost sight of its end, our economy is completely off its course. Everyone is running after money and those who control money are able to make pawns of other humans who are busy fighting one another, snarling and snapping like dogs quarreling over a bone. A classic example of dog-eat-dog.
The true end of the economy is certainly not to furnish employment; it is to produce and deliver the goods which are needed. And the more quickly it does so, with the least expenditure of materials and energy, the more perfect it is.
Of itself, progress directs the economy to this fulfillment, namely, to produce as much as is required with the minimum of time and labor.
The first fruit of this progress should be to liberate man while still nourishing him; to permit him to devote himself to other human activities than those purely economical. But because producers, economists, unions, and even sociologists have lost sight of the north, progress fails to liberate; it only creates new problems. It creates especially, the so-called problem of unemployment.
Employment, which was once a means to an end, has become an end in itself now that it is no longer a real necessity. We make it a necessity, because we make it the condition of having a share in the flood of goods which pours forth with less and less human participation.
Hence has arisen the crisis of the lost economy.
In October, 1920, Douglas wrote in the preface of his work, Credit-Power and Democracy:
"The end of an economic system is to deliver goods where they are needed."
Speaking at Swanwick in 1924, he said:
"The economic system is simply one of the functional activities of men and women in the world. Furthermore, the economic organization is the most efficient when it can most easily and rapidly supply economic needs without infringing on other functional activities." (Warning Democracy, p. 38.)
Douglas never lost sight of the true north.
Pope Pius XI defined the end of the economic organism in Quadragesimo Anno:
"The economic and social organism will be healthily constituted and will attain its end only when it procures for each and every one of its members all the good which the resources of nature and industry, as well as the truly socialorganization of the economic life, are able to provide for them."
And he adds, "these goods should be sufficiently abundant to satisfy the needs of a decent living and to permit men to rise to a degree of ease and culture which, when wisely used, will aid in the exercise of virtue."
Wisdom in the use of temporal goods depends "upon the individual, once he has been able to lay hands on them. But the production and sharing of these goods so that each and everyone will have a large enough portion, depends upon the economic and social organism. It is the true end of the social and economic organism. If it does not attain this end in our modern world with its easy and abundant production, it is because it has lost sight of this end, it has missed the north and has become a lost economy.
Our economy has lost the north. Social Credit will lead it back to the north.
(Translated by EARL MASSECAR)