No one — except perhaps for the exploiters and the privileged ones of the existing system, would argue that the present state of affairs in the world is satisfactory. Practically, the entire population of almost every country is in revolt, a revolt of one form or another.
Employees are in revolt against the conditions under which they work. Employers are in revolt against financial restriction, against government interference, against the difficulties through which they are obliged to conduct their business. Taxpayers are kicking vigorously against the ever-growing burden of taxes which is laid upon them. The unemployed, the needy, the penniless are in revolt against the desperate lot which is theirs.
Revolt, reaction, that is, against conditions which are aggravating and irritating, is not necessarily a bad thing. For it is the reaction of men who will not permit themselves to be belittled, harmed or destroyed by unhealthy conditions which obstruct the development of their personalities, of their beings. Revolt against such an environment is the first step in deciding what means to take in order to rectify conditions. Revolt is the forerunner either of a complete overthrow of an existing system or at least of a change on a vast scale.
Since revolt is so widespread today and growing continually, we can with certainty presume that very fundamental changes are inevitable. It is a common-place saying that the world is in the pangs of giving birth — but what will be born is as yet unknown. Will it be a revolution, a state of chaos inviting dictatorship? Or shall we see changes brought about which will lead to conditions satisfactory to veryone?
Each and every association of men has for its end the attaining of a common objective in a manner more easy and efficient than if they were to strive for it individuality and alone. Such are, for example, unions, agricultural associations, associations of employers, companies, cooperatives, sporting clubs, etc. These special kinds of associations pursue each their particular end for which their members have formed an organization. If they did not the organization would soon dissolve.
The grand association of men which we call society, has also an objective, a social objective, which is to procure, or to facilitate the procurment of all those goods which all citizens together have decided they want.
The needs of a people are certainly multitudinous and varied. Among all the individuals which make up a society there are those who will want things towards which other individuals will be completely indifferent. And that social order would be most imperfect which satisfied the demands of a few and left the vast majority to suffer complete frustration in the pursuit of their most fundamental wants.
Now, there is, without any doubt, two things which every individual seeks first of all from the society in which he dwells. These two things are:
1. Economic security;
2. Personal liberty.
By economic security we mean access to the things necessary to life, the means of satisfying the essential needs of the individual. This would certainly include food, clothing, lodging, medical care and such education as is necessary in modern society.
Theoretically, personal liberty is of an order superior to economic security. But in practice, such liberty cannot be achieved until the fundamental needs of the natural man are satisfied. The needy are slaves to the conditions imposed upon them for having the right to live. He is not free, for he cannot renounce living!
On the other hand, once a man has reached the point where he is living decently, he can, if he has any sense of liberty,refuse those conditions which would bind him in a form of slavery even though they might make him wealthy. Liberty would be worth more than wealth or a greater degree of comfort.
As for the man who runs after wealth and seeks to amass more and more of it at any cost, he is a slave in every sense of the word — a slave to money.
We might say that liberty begins with the satisfaction of our most ordinary needs and ceases to be when we run after what is superfluous.
In what concerns economic security, politicians, economists and sociologists maintain that a guarantee of economic security demands a surrender, in part at least, of personal liberty. In this they are upholding, unconsciously perhaps, the tenets of the socialistic school. They can very easily give many examples which have been the subject of legislation to uphold their theory. But if this has happened it is precisely because governments have striven for reform along socialistic lines rather than applying themselves to a reform of the financial system from which flows most of the defects in our existing society.
It is true that the Socialists promise economic security to all. But such security as they offer entails "planism", state controlled economy, bureaucracy, inspections and investigations, regimentation and all the rest. You would have a society of citizens, all numbered, harnessed, nourished, sheltered just like our domestic animals.
The Social Credit school wants no part of this kind of economic security. Social Credit wants for each citizen the security of a capitalist who does not have to be set to work, inspected, and investigated in order to lay hands on his dividends, He, the capitalist, does not engage in the actual work of making his capital produce goods. The producer does that. The latter has his recompense in the form of salary or wages; the capitalist has his in the form of dividends.
Well, the Socialist Credit doctrine teaches that each citizen is co-heir to a community capital which society's workers are busy making productive. The workers are paid their recompense, but aside from that each citizen would receive a dividend regardless of whether or not he were employed in actual production.
The purpose of an economic system is to furnish the products and services needed by humans in the quantity, at the time and in the place they are needed.
Today this end is physically very easy to attain. It is the outstanding characteristic of our day that we are able to produce with remarkable ease all the variety of goods which are needed in the quantities needed. And what is more, we are able to do so with an ever-diminishing need for human participation in production.
Man has always endeavored to satisfy his needs with a minimum expenditure of time and energy so that he might have more time in which to give himself to other human activites apart from those purely economic. Today we have arrived at that goal. We can produce enough for all our needs with a diminishing amount of human toil; we can furnish goods for the needs of all without the need for all to be employed in production.
No one can deny that the capacity of modern global production is sufficient to produce enough for the needs of all, when it is not impeded and shackled by modern finance or by other obstacles, and when goods are distributed as they should be.
It only remains to be decided whether or not each individual, by reason of his being a member of society (and for no other reason) has a right to share in this abundant production. Let us see if this right is well-founded.
Abundant modern production is due in part to the existence of natural resources which God has placed in the earth for the use of all men. It is also due to the fact of scientific discoveries, the application of these discoveries to industry, the perfecting of industrial and commercial techniques, social organization which permits the division of work — all of these going to make a production machine whose output through such cooperation is well-nigh unlimited.
Now all of these factors which we have mentioned above — scientific acquisitions, perfected techniques and methods added one to the other all forms of progress, — are not the work of those who are at work presently in the production machine. Nor are they the product of the work of scientists and technicians who presently are working at research and development. Nor are they the fruit of progress of the last three or four generations. They are rather the result of centuries of struggle to vanquish want; centuries of studying nature and then struggling to master her; the result of all of man's researches, discoveries, inventions, all of these leading to new discoveries and inventions and new perfecting of methods. All of these wonderful advances contributed by one generation after another, handed down from one to another, the fruit of common effort, these are what have given us the miracles of production of our day — and these all constitute a vast common heritage flowing from the very nature of society which has permitted the development we have mentioned and their bequeatal to each succeeding generation.
Our generation is heir, like preceding generations, to these wonders. They are a common heritage to which no one or no one group can claim a major share. It is a heritage belonging to all.
Each member of society along with his fellow is co-heir to this immense capital which is the preponderant factor in modern production.
Certainly this vast common capital must be made to produce. But each one has a right to a share in what is produced because of this capital. For each is co-heir to it, each is a co-capitalist along with his fellow citizens. And this in no way denies the supplementary remuneration which goes to all who actively participate in making this capital fruitful.
If only one per cent of the population is needed to make this immense common capital effect our modern production is it logical that only one per cent of the population should share in this production? The same argument holds if, instead of 1 per cent, we say 40 per cent. The other 60 per cent cannot be excluded from sharing in this produce. They still hold their title as co-heirs to this immense capital which the other forty per cent are applying to production. The 40 per cent are likewise co-heirs, co-capitalists, and as such share in the fruits of this production; in addition they have a right to an extra share which is their reward for helping make this capital produce dividends.
The efforts of the producer must be rewarded. But the fact still remains that the greater part of such production is due to enrichment by association, to the social heritage.
It must, therefore, be admitted not only that we have an abundance to meet our needs, but that economic security without restrictive measures, that is, with a guarantee of personal liberty, is the right, from birth, of every man, woman and child in the country.
The rules of the financiers at the present time deny this right. Socialism ignores it. The application of the financial proposals of Social Credit will assure its realisation.