C.H. Douglas Out of Print ...... Mondo Politico
Social Credit, by
Major Clifford Hugh Douglas

Part I: Philosophy



A CONCEPTION which is closely connected with the theory of rewards and punishments, is that of "Value." In effect, value may be defined, to fit the orthodox conception of it, as that quality which gives to anything maximum exchangeability under present conditions. Rewards and Punishments, Justice, i.e. the assessments of desserts, and "Value," i.e. the basis on which desserts are assessed, may be said to be the corner stones of the Semitic structure of society.

Now, so far as this attribute called "value" can be said to have any basis in the nature of things, it consists in that quality which renders a given object serviceable in the attainment of a given end. But it will be found on consideration that this definition is eventually antagonistic to the more orthodox description of the quality previously given. For instance, if it is necessary for me to cross a large river, a boat would seem to be my immediate requirement. Its utilitarian value to me consists in its ability to transport me across the river with a minimum of inconvenience and a maximum of speed. But the generally accepted opinion of its value would be directly proportional to my ability or the ability of someone else, to submit to penalisation financially for the use of the boat, and this again would be directly proportional to the urgency of my need and would be enhanced by the absence of other boats. It should be particularly noticed that this kind of value is not inherent - it is one remove away from the simple usefulness of the boat.

As a result of this conflict of ideas and consequently of objectives, the value of anything which has a use is, according to the popular idea, enhanced by its scarcity, and it is quite fair and unimpeachably logical that a world which seeks after "values" should proceed to create them through the agency of scarcity.

It is not only logical, but what is more important, it is what happens. The process of creating "Values" by creating a demand which is in excess of the supply, is called advertisement, and by restricting a supply so that it is always less than the demand, is technically known as Sabotage. Advertisement has its exposition on every hoarding; Sabotage is its commercial complement, and is one of the most widespread features of our existing civilisation, and yet one which on the whole passes unnoticed, in anything like its true proportions, by the general public. It is not confined to any one class of business or profession, although its cruder manifestations, as might be expected, are found amongst the less fortunately placed masses of the people. It is, of course, the only theory, if it can be so called, underlying the strike, the assumption being that if the whole of the available labour can be taken off the market the financial value of it immediately increases. The higher manifestations of it are slightly more subtle but identical in principle. The modern objective of big business is to obtain the maximum amount of money for the minimum amount of goods. Or to put it more accurately, to obtain a maximum total price for a minimum total cost. As a result of this, business acumen is measured by the ability to create price rings in indispensable goods, while decreasing the purchasing power or "costs," distributed during their manufacture and storage.

The theory underlying both advertisement and Sabotage, together with their results, has been treated at some length elsewhere.* An important aspect of the latter, however, which will perhaps bear explanation at this time, is concerned with the financial policy of nations.

* "Economic Democracy."

When we say that the objective of modern business is to obtain a maximum total price for a minimum total cost, we are implying in the case of a given undertaking that the receipts shall be at least equal to the disbursements, and in addition that the surplus of receipts shall be as large as possible. This is the same thing as saying that all the costs of an article shall be included in the price of it to the public. In the case of a nation, as at present situated, all the alleged services which it renders to the public composing it are supposed to be paid for eventually by taxes, and the objective of every orthodox government is to balance its budget, and to repay its "borrowings." That is to say, to make its receipts in taxation equal or exceed its expenditure, and in addition to have as large a surplus as possible with which to pay the interest on loans created by the financial hierarchy and to "sustain the nation's credit" in view of future loans.

When, later, we come to examine the mechanism of money and the sources from which it originates, it will be seen that this is not in any fundamental sense necessary, but for the moment it is only requisite to point out that the result is to create a shortage of money in the hands of the general public, and in consequence to enhance its scarcity value. If we can conceive, what is in fact the case under the existing financial system, that money is a commodity in exactly the same sense as is tea or sugar, and that there is a powerful, if unobtrusive business ring which deals in money as a commodity, it will be readily understood that the balancing of budgets and the repayment of loans by taxation is a prime interest of those interested in the commodity. Money dealers are normally deflationists.

As no government can carry on for a month without money, it is not necessary to labour the point that the visible government of a country is obliged to take its orders and to shape its policy, and particularly its financial policy, in accordance with the instructions of the dealers in this indispensable implement, so long as they hold a practical monopoly of it.

Just as the artificial theory of rewards and punishments is a distorted reflection of the automatic process of cause and effect, and the orthodox idea of value has possibly its root in something which may be described as suitability, so, that questionable abstraction to which we refer under the name of justice may have a groundwork in the nature of things. One instance of this, and an instance having immense importance at the present time, is contained in the theory of "cultural heritage."

The early Victorian political economists agreed in ascribing all "values" to three essentials: land, labour, and capital. Without staying at the moment to discuss the unsatisfactory meanings which were frequently attached to these words, we may notice that, the three together being defined as the source of all wealth, the possession of one or the other of them seemed logically defensible as a claim, and collectively, the only valid claim to the wealth produced. But it is rapidly receiving recognition that, while there might be a rough truth in this argument during the centuries prior to the industrial revolution consequent on the inventive period following the Renaissance, and culminating in the steam engine, the spinning-jenny, and so forth, there is now a fourth factor in wealth production, the multiplying power of which far exceeds that of the other three, which may be expressed in the words of Mr. Thorstein Veblen* (although he does not appear to have grasped its full implication) as the "progress of the industrial arts." Quite clearly, no one person can be said to have a monopoly share in this; it is the legacy of countless numbers of men and women, many of whose names are forgotten and the majority of whom are dead. And since it is a cultural legacy, it seems difficult to deny that the general community, as a whole, and not by any qualification of land, labour, or capital, are the proper legatees. But if the ownership of wealth produced vests in the owners of the factors contributed to its production, and the owners of the legacy of the industrial arts are the general community, it seems equally difficult to deny that the chief owners, and rightful beneficiaries of the modern productive system, can be shown to be the individuals composing the community, as such.

* "The Engineers and the Price System."

Now it is indisputable that a solution of the more immediately pressing problems with which civilisation is confronted at the present time, does in fact turn on the removal of the limitations to the distribution of wealth (which limitations also react on its production). So that in this case, and no doubt in many others, it is possible to make out a theoretical case for a line of action which is also justifiable by expediency. But the great danger of placing too much reliance on the deductive method, is that the whole of its conclusions are rendered misleading and dangerous if an essential factor is omitted from the premises.