William F. Hixson, Triumph of the Bankers. Money and Banking in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Westport, Conn./London: Praeger, 1993, p.56.
Libr of Congr no. 93-296
Prof Dr Joseph Huber Sybelstr. 37, D-10629 Berlin email@example.com www.soziologie.uni-halle.de/
huber Tel +49 (0)30 323 12 16 Mobil +49 (0)170 419 2513
It was while he was reorganising the work at Farnborough during World War I that Douglas noticed that the weekly total costs of goods produced was greater than the sums paid out to individuals for wages, salaries and dividends. This seemed to contradict the theory put forth by classic Ricardian economics, that all costs are distributed simultaneously as purchasing power. Troubled by the seeming disconnect between the way money flowed and the objectives of industry ("delivery of goods and services", in his view), Douglas set out to apply engineering methods to the economic system.
Douglas collected data from over a hundred large British businesses and found that in every case, except that of companies heading for bankruptcy, the sums paid out in salaries, wages and dividends were always less than the total costs of goods and services produced each week: consumers did not have enough income to buy back what they had made. He published his observations and conclusions in an article in the English Review where he suggested: "That we are living under a system of accountancy which renders the delivery of the nation's goods and services to itself a technical impossibility." He later formalized this observation in his A+B theorem. Douglas proposed to eliminate this gap between total prices and total incomes by augmenting consumers' purchasing power through a National Dividend and a Compensated Price Mechanism.
According to Douglas, the true purpose of production is consumption, and production must serve the genuine, freely expressed interests of consumers. In order to accomplish this objective, he believed that each citizen should have a beneficial, not direct, inheritance in the communal capital conferred by complete access to consumer goods assured by the National Dividend and Compensated Price. Douglas thought that consumers, fully provided with adequate purchasing power, will establish the policy of production through exercise of their monetary vote. In this view, the term economic democracy does not mean worker control of industry, but democratic control of credit. Removing the policy of production from banking institutions, government, and industry, Social Credit envisages an "aristocracy of producers, serving and accredited by a democracy of consumers."
The policy proposals of social credit attracted widespread interest in the decades between the world wars of the twentieth century because of their relevance to economic conditions of the time. Douglas called attention to the excess of production capacity over consumer purchasing power, an observation that was also made by John Maynard Keynes in his book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. While Douglas shared some of Keynes' criticisms of classical economics, his unique remedies were disputed and even rejected by most economists and bankers of the time. Remnants of Social Credit still exist within social credit parties throughout the world, but not in the purest form originally advanced by Major C. H. Douglas.
- 1 Economic theory
- 2 The A + B theorem
- 3 Political theory
- 4 History
- 5 Philosophy
- 6 Groups influenced by social credit
- 7 Literary figures in social credit
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links