At the origin of Social Credit, there is one name, the name of a man of genius, a Scot: Clifford Hugh Douglas, born in 1879, son of Hugh Douglas and Louisa Horfdern. Graduated from Cambridge University, with an honour degree in mathematics, Douglas chose to be an engineer by profession.
He was a brilliant engineer who was entrusted with important projects in India, South America, and England. Douglas was also an expert in cost price accounting. It is because of this expertise that the British Government asked him to go to Farnborough in 1916 to sort out “a certain amount of muddle” in the Aircraft Factory’s accounts. It was not long before he had remarked that, each week, the cost prices of the goods produced were greater than the income distributed in the form of wages and salaries. Prices were not in accordance with purchasing power.
All this caught his attention, and a study of many companies showed him that it was so in every factory. How could, in these conditions, the money distributed to consumers be sufficient to buy the products? Douglas also remarked that once the war came, there was no longer a question of a lack of money. There was nothing sacred about money. Money could appear all of a sudden, and all that was physically possible could be made financially possible, as it was the case during the war.
Douglas also faced other experiences. He decided to locate and bring up-to-date the defects of the financial system; then, as an engineer, to seek, discover, and formulate principles to put finance in keeping with reality. This is what Social Credit has been called ever since.
Douglas never bore the title of economist; he would have considered this as an insult anyway because of the monumental errors, based on false premises, in economic classes in universities. Yet, Douglas was really the greatest economist of all times, because of his diagnosis of the major flaw in today’s economics, and the proposals he formulated to solve it.
Douglas first published his conclusion in an article in the English Review for December of 1918 under the heading “The Delusion of Super-Production”, and then a series of articles of A. R. Orage’s weekly review, The New Age. Those articles were reprinted in 1920 as Economic Democracy, Douglas’s first book. The same year appeared Douglas’s Credit–Power and Democracy, then Social Credit in 1923, Control and Distribution of Production and The Monopoly of Credit, both in 1931, and Warning Democracy and The Alberta Experiment, both in 1937.
Apart from these books, Douglas also travelled the world to give lectures on Social Credit – to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Norway. In 1923, he gave evidence before the Canadian Banking Inquiry, and in 1930 before the MacMillan Committee on Finance and Industry, in England.
Douglas died in his home in Fearnan, Scotland, on September 29, 1952 – the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel. He was 73.