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The Symbol and the Object

Written by Louis Even on Saturday, 15 October 2016. Posted in In This Age of Plenty (book)

In this age of plenty - Chapter 7

Better than anyone, the Social Credit School knows how to distinguish between wealth and money. If the study of Social Credit places so much importance on money, it is because money has become the necessary condition through which we have access to physical wealth.

Apart from the times when war induces wholesale destruction, the civilized world normally abounds with wealth. Stores can find all they need to replace the goods that have been sold.  Grain elevators are full to bursting. There are more capable workers than there are jobs available.

Civilized countries have so many products that they search everywhere abroad for places where they can be sold.  Exportation is encouraged by all means while the road to importation is barred, so as not to be cluttered with products.

Such is Canada's situation. Canada is a country overflowing with wealth, and capable of producing even more.

How can we tell Canadians that their country is rich, that it exports a lot of goods, that it ranks third or fourth among the world’s exporting nations?  

What goes out of the country does not go into the homes of its citizens. What sits idle in the stores does not appear on their table.

A mother does not feed her children nor provide them with clothing by going window-shopping, by reading advertisements in newspapers, by listening to the description of wonderful products on the radio or by listening to the sales pitch of countless salesmen.

What is lacking is the title to these goods. You cannot steal them. To get them, you must pay for them; to do this you need money.

There are a lot of good things in Canada, but when the right to these things is lacking in the hands of Canadians, when they have no money, what is the use of displaying all these riches?

This does not mean that money itself is wealth. Money is not an earthly good capable of satisfying temporal needs.

You cannot feed yourself by eating money. To clothe yourself, you cannot sew dollar bills together to make a dress or a pair of stockings. You cannot rest by lying down on money. You cannot cure yourself by putting money on the seat of the ailment.  You cannot educate yourself by crowning your head with money.

—No, money is not wealth. Wealth is the useful things that correspond to human needs.

Bread, meat, fish, cotton, wood, coal, a car on a good road, a doctor's visit to the sick, a teacher's knowledge — these are wealth.

But, in our modern world, each individual does not produce all the things he needs. People must buy from one another. Money is the symbol we get in return for something we sold; it is the symbol we must hand over to get something offered by someone else

The symbol ought to reflect the object

Wealth is an object; money is a symbol.  In all logic, the symbol ought to reflect the object.

If there are a lot of things for sale in a country, there must be a lot of money available to dispose of them. The more people and the more goods, the more money required in circulation, or else everything grinds to a stop.

It is precisely this equilibrium which is often absent. We have at our disposal all the goods we may wish to make, thanks to applied science, to new discoveries, and to the perfecting of machinery. We even have people, forced into unemployment, who represent a potential for more goods. We have loads of useless, even harmful occupations.  Many of our activities are directed at destruction.

Why is it that money, which was created for the purpose of keeping goods moving, does not find itself in the consumers' hands in relation to the products that were intended for them?

Why? Because goods come from one source, and money comes from another source. The first source — production — works well, but the latter — money — does not work properly.

The source of products, is the natural resources with which Providence has gratified the planet; it is applied science; it is the work of producers. All three added together provide us with an abundance of products.

The source of money is found elsewhere.  Money comes neither from Providence, nor from science, nor from the farmer's furrows, nor from the fisherman's net, nor from the blows of the woodcutter's axe, nor from the skill of the workman.

Besides, the flow of money does not run parallel to the flow of products: Money was missing before the War while products for sale were plentiful, but it reappeared during the War before empty stores.

Products come into being through production, and they disappear through consumption.

Money also comes into being and disappears since it is plentiful, at times, and scarce at other times. Money is born and it dies.


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