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The National Dividend

Written by Louis Even on Sunday, 16 October 2016. Posted in In This Age of Plenty (book)

In this age of plenty - Chapter 14

A communal treasure

Those of us who are Catholics know the dogma of the Communion of Saints. The Church possesses an abundant spiritual treasury, made up of the infinite merits of Our Lord and of the superabundant merits of the Virgin Mary and the Saints.

The Church does not seal off these merits. She does not tell us: “These merits belong to those who have earned them; you shall not touch them. There are plenty of infinite surpluses, but you shall have none of them. Earn for yourself whatever you can.”

No! Through indulgences, the Church gives us access to this treasury, under conditions that are completely within our reach. It does not mean that we all become equal in merits in the Church, but that all have an easy access to this spiritual treasure and that the Church is ever so happy to see us draw from it. The more one draws from it, the more the treasure increases, because the souls fortify and perfect themselves. The producers of merits — the Saints — do recognize that they owe their sanctification to the Church established by Our Lord, and they all rejoice in seeing their co-members in this Church benefit from the treasure that they have been able to increase by their contributions.

We can compare this concept to that of the dividend advocated by Social Credit. It takes nothing away from the producers of goods; on the contrary, it will increase the output of their means of production, while contributing to the common good.

A system of plenty

Abundance exists. Those who have not yet recognized this cannot possibly understand anything about our doctrine. Perhaps they have never seen an unemployed worker: a person out of work means that the abundance is being suppressed because it is not distributed.

Abundance exists, but it is being smothered because its distribution is refused to those for whom it exists. Surpluses, the communal treasure, are placed under lock and key, because we insist that only those who have the privilege of contributing to the production be entitled to a small share. For the others, nothing.

The Social Credit dividend will distribute the production that is now being lost or being suppressed at its source. It will not cause production to dry up. It will stimulate it.

Not welfare

Let us not mistake the dividend for welfare. The dividend is not public charity, but a distribution of income to the members of a society.

The funds which are used for welfare are levied on the present or future incomes of other members of society. In order to give a little purchasing power to the have-nots, social welfare takes purchasing power away from other people, or mortgages the purchasing power of people who are not born yet.

Besides, welfare demoralizes people by punishing those who wish to return to work. The recipients who accept work, even low paying jobs, lose their benefits.

Social welfare humiliates the destitute who are told they are a burden to others because they live on the forced handouts of fellow citizens.

The Social Credit dividend has none of these evil features. It is an income distributed to all, because it belongs to all. It does not create a burden for anyone; it does not deprive anyone. It does not create inflation, because it is conditioned by the actual presence or the soon to be presence of products.

No one is wronged. It is the surplus of production, at present immobilized, that the dividend proposes to distribute. To stop the dividend from being distributed amounts to destroying wealth, to establishing the reign of poverty in front of an abundant productive capacity, to maintaining the consumer in want without any justification: families in suffering, the worker in unemployment, industry in a slump, the taxpayer in despair, the governments in servitude.

The dividend and the individual

What effect will the dividend have on the individual?

What effect would it have on you if you were to receive, through the mail, an envelope from Ottawa containing an $800 cheque with this message: “The nation, enriched by its industry, the labour of its sons and of machinery, is happy to offer you this dividend which is also mailed to each of the country's 35 million citizens, to allow the sale of an abundant production and to avoid unemployment, misery, and the paralysis of industry.”

Will you pocket the eight-hundred dollars and leave your job for a month? Will you become green with envy at the thought that each of your neighbours also gets $800? Or will you call the Canadian Government immoral because it gets the poor out of misery instead of letting the products go to waste?

Will you not instead thank God for having given you a well-organized and well-administered country, rich in natural resources? Will you not become all the more attached to your homeland, and strive to contribute to its prosperity? Will you not continue to work more industriously - like the worker who has just received a raise in wages - because you will know that the existence of a dividend depends on the development of production?

The positive effects that the dividend would have upon you would apply to others as well. Too many of those who find the idea of a dividend harmful are too hypocritical or too proud. They think it would be a good thing for them but that others, born and raised in sin, are too licentious to use a dividend wisely.

The dividend and the family

What will the dividend mean for the family — a dividend for your wife and for each of your children as well as for yourself?

Will it sow consternation or discord in your home? Will you not, on the contrary, get together to consider the idea of improving the conditions of life in your home, like buying a new piece of furniture, a new accessory, some element of comfort that you have wanted for a long time?

At last you will be able to renew a wardrobe that was getting old. You will be able to consider giving your children a better education, developing the talents of one or the other for such and such an art, making improvements to your home, getting a little help and rest for your wife. You will be able to increase your donations to charities, because a little more ease at home has not made you less of a Christian. You will be able to subscribe to magazines that are both educational and recreational.

Much has been said about the family wage. A married man, father of many children, surely needs a larger income than a bachelor. Having the same productive capacity they cannot demand different wages of their employer or else the employer will hire single men and providers of small families.

The dividend settles the problem, since each individual profits from it equally. The married man, a father of six children — all of whom perhaps still at a tender age — will be able to get the same wages as his fellow worker, but while the bachelor gets his sole dividend over and above his wages, eight dividends will enter into the home that has eight mouths to feed. These are family allowances that cost nothing to no one. On the contrary, they help everyone since they allow production to run at full capacity.

The dividend and the farmer

The dividend (added to the compensated discount) allows for the sale of farm products at prices which leave the farmer a sufficient profit to reward him for his toil. His often large family will also benefit from the dividends obtained by each of its members. In the same way that he is able to sell his farm products, he will also be able to buy those of industry.

He can at last think of buying the farm implements he has been lacking, as well as fertilizers, heads of cattle, etc.

If this farmer is a settler, you can imagine how helpful the dividend will be to him. Those who increase the productive domain of society by their hard labor are certainly entitled to the surpluses of the productive system.

The dividend and the worker

What effect will the national dividend have on the worker? It will safeguard the worker's dignity. The worker will no longer be forced to lend his services for a pittance; if hunger leads the wolf out of the woods, it likewise forces the worker in need to accept the conditions laid down by the exploiter. By insuring the sale of products, the dividend allows employers to pay better wages to their employees.

For the same reason, the dividend encourages permanent work. Let us not delude ourselves; Even though machinery replaces man in a multitude of processes, there remains enough work to be done in research and development, public and private, to make use of our employable men's and women's energy.

The security against dire need offered by the dividend, will allow everyone to pursue occupations for which they are best suited and the whole social organism will gain by this.

The dividend is the formula which guarantees to every member of society, to each and every citizen, the right to the basic necessities of life in an era where abundance is possible for all.

 


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