We reproduce here part of the concluding chapters
of a booklet entitled "An Outline of Social Credit" by.H. M. M. It was published in England in 1929 — before the great depression of the 30's, and ten years before the second World War. These two events corroborated assertions made by the author. — (Sub-titles and emphasis are ours.)
Co-operation or War
The promise this reform (Social Credit) holds out for the human race is beyond calculation. It would not only put an end to labour troubles, and in so doing remove all fear of internal disruption; but it would also change international trade from being a struggle for markets terminating in war, and differing from war only in the nature of the weapons used, into a friendly exchange of superfluities, bringing advantage to all concerned, and doing harm to none.
With international trade established on a sound and friendly basis, all the probable causes of war would disappear. Nations could quarrel as much as they liked – if they could find anything to quarrel about — but they would no longer endanger each other's existence. Wars are not bred of casual quarrels, but from the existence of some standing menace, and from the preparations made to ward it off.
The scheme of reform could be introduced within a few weeks of its adoption by the country...
The Government has it in its power to solve the unemployment problem, reduce retail prices far below the 1914 level, and put everyone beyond the reach of want and well on the way to a lasting prosperity, within less than a year, if it cared to introduce this one measure of financial reform.
Needless to say, finance by itself, without real productive power behind it, can do nothing. But the productive power is there all right, tremendous productive power: it is only waiting to be released. The war (1914-18) gave us a slight indication of what our productive power can do, but only a very slight indication. The conditions have never been favourable for a proper test. But give people more purchasing power, and regulate prices in the way indicated, and you will see miracles happen.
The Evil Influence of Finance
Nevertheless, although the Douglas proposals would confer incalculable benefits on everybody in the country, by setting free on their behalf all this tremendous dammed-up productive power, they are opposed by two classes: ignorant people who have not the wit to understand them, and intelligent men who have, but who, being out for the acquisition of power, realize that their reign is over if the proposals are adopted.
If the British people were united on financial policy, no power on earth, in Wall Street or elsewhere, could prevent them from putting through this scheme of financial reform; but the present controllers see to it that people are not united. They play Capital off against Labour, and both off against the consumer; and there is little doubt that the influence behind most of the movements that separate people and keep them apart, politically and socially, is Finance. But for the evil influence it wields, the interests of Capital, Labour, and the consumer would be seen to be identical. And unless the three unite on the financial policy here recommended, and it would benefit them all, the outcome is bound to be a catastrophe.
Three facts stand out as the result of our enquiry:
- Modern wars and revolutions arise from unstable economic conditions;
- The cause of unstable economic conditions lies in the mechanism of finance, not in anything external to it;
- No escape from revolution or war is possible until the defects in the mechanism are repaired.
The existing system works with increasing difficulty, to an accompaniment of bankruptcy, unemployment, strikes, revolutions, and wars; and if it can be bolstered up for a little while longer, we shall witness the strange spectacle of a world starving in the midst of potential plenty, refusing to satisfy its desires because it has increased its productive capacity too much!
And each industrial nation will see some other as the cause of its troubles; for the failure of the home market will be traced to the failure of the foreign market and the wickedness of foreigners, rather than to its proper source in the defects of the credit and costing systems. And since the loss of markets is for all of them, under present conditions, a matter of life and death, they will be driven into war again in spite of themselves, while having nothing but the best of good intentions in their hearts.
Economic Emancipation Within Our Reach
There have been times in the history of the world when some event or discovery has enabled the human race to take a great step forward. Major Douglas's discovery is of this type. It brings economic emancipation within our reach, if we can free our minds sufficiently from economic superstitions to understand and grasp what is offered.
What is emancipation? It is to be free to live without having to beg anyone's permission; to do what one wants to do, and to work all day at it if one is so inclined.
To make one's living depend on the performance of some task which one has no power to reject is not freedom at all, whether it is performed for a private employer or the State.
Under modern conditions, real freedom can only come with the possession of a private income which no one has the power to withhold.
Hard things have been said of the man who gets an income without having to work for it, but at heart everybody envies him. He is the only really free man in the community. But if Douglas' ideas were put into operation, everybody would become the possessor of a private income and reach the same happy state of freedom.
Where work is made the sole test of the right to an income, the worker is inevitably the puppet of the people who distribute incomes, be they private employers under Capitalism or public officials under Socialism.
The only sane policy is to set men free as fast as we can invent machines to supersede them, and to pay the whole community a social dividend equal to the value of the saving effected.
This does not necessarily mean that there would be less work done; probably there would be a great deal more. Men must expend their energy in some way, and the present system is constantly throwing up barriers to prevent their doing so in useful ways. But much of it would be work of a different kind; and there would be a great deal more play and recreation.
Most of the things we want to do are things nobody would pay us for doing. Who, for instance, would pay us for studying music, literature, art, science, philosophy, or religion; or for cultivating a garden, or indulging a taste for travel or golf? Nobody. Yet, if emancipation means anything at all, it means setting men free to do these or similar things.
H. M. M. (An Outline of Social Credit, pp. 44-48.)