Chapter 13 — Heritage and Heirs
and industry are the nations'
applied to agriculture, industry, trade, and communications has made
enormous progress, especially in the last one-and-a-half centuries, and
more particularly in the last fifty years.
has known for a long time how to multiply, by the use of simple
machines, the strength of his muscles and that of animals; he has also
made use of some inanimate powers, like wind and water. But ever since
he has learned how to exploit solar energy, fossilized in the form of
coal or oil; ever since he distributes hundreds of miles away, through
simple metallic wires, the power of waterfalls; ever since chemistry has
passed from the laboratory into industry, one cannot keep count of all
the types of improvements and progress. The production problem is
are some who have not yet understood this; who believe that man has to
be poor and endure much to earning his living. When you speak of a
heritage accumulated by generations, of the earth conquered by man's
toil and mind, they retort that we are born in debt. Wealth overflows,
but a false, absurd, and fallacious financial system, which is
diametrically opposed to actual facts, changes the heirs into debtors.
their logic!... It seems that Champlain and the valiant settlers who
planted the Cross, and who brought the plow and civilization into
Canada's forests, followed by their successors, who for three centuries
have improved agriculture, made towns and industries flourish — this
whole line of workers have left to the Canadians living in the middle of
the twentieth century nothing but a heritage of debts? And twenty-five
years from now, how much bigger will be this debt, on which we cannot
always even pay the interest?
courageous pioneer begins to clear new land. His task is to change a
jumble of birch and other poor kinds of trees into a productive farm,
because good standing timber has been gone for a long time, having been
either burnt by fire, or been removed by lumber merchants or by
paper-making companies. This man, his wife and kids, will toil hard for
thirty, forty years, with a good many chances of leaving to the oldest
boy a mortgaged farm, and to the other children nothing but the memory
of their virtues. Out of our forests, out of our lands, out of our
factories, there seems to come a voice that parodies: “You shall make
debts by the sweat of your brow.”
child has just been born; baptism has not yet made him a son of the
Church, but he is already a debtor. Federal, municipal, school, and
parochial debts fill the atmosphere around his cradle. He is born in
debt. He will grow in debt. He will work —if he has the chance to —
to pay accumulated debts, while nibbling on a few crumbs which support
his earning capacity and which prevent him from revolting completely,
until he dies in debt.
you speak of heritage! Some heritage that is!
stupidity holds the reins
happens is that, in fact, under today's illogical system, the more
assets a country acquires, the more its “financial” debt increases.
The worker creates wealth, while the parasite manages finance. And, in
spite of all the beautiful speeches to the contrary, finance is set
above man; the parasite is master, and the worker is a slave. Tell the
worker that he is an heir, and the parasite will make him say that you
are an Utopian, a trouble-maker, a destroyer of morals.
system which exists for the profit of the few and the enslavement of
peoples does not want to acknowledge the real heritage, the great asset
bequeathed to a generation by all those who preceded it.
Social Credit, which has lost all respect for the old idols and their
high priests, highly proclaims the existence of this heritage and the
rights of the heirs.
Credit does not trouble itself with bookkeepers who reward you with a
forty years' debt when you have succeeded in building a bridge across
the St. Lawrence River. These jokes have caused us too much harm for us
not to throw them all to the winds.
Social Crediters call cultural inheritance “the vast heritage of
discovery and invention, of culture and learning, of organization
whether social, political or industrial, of education and religion, of
aspirations and ideals which have been handed down and developed by
generation after generation... Collectively these form the Common
Cultural Inheritance of humanity, or more shortly, Civilization.” (This
Age of Plenty, by C. Marshall Hattersley, p. 232.)
is a COMMON asset, and that is the reason why every member of society is
entitled to a share of production, this share getting bigger and bigger
as this asset enters more and more into production as a preponderant
factor. Assuredly, the worker who exploits it is entitled to his reward,
and no one contemplates refusing it to him. But the owner of this common
cultural asset, that is, each member of society, nevertheless retains
his entitlement and rights.
was said a great many times that capital and labour must work together,
because labour without capital cannot do much, and capital without
labour can do absolutely nothing. But what can both do together if you
exclude the cultural inheritance, the contributions of inventions and
progress throughout the ages?
to the contributions of applied science, of the cultural asset, products
multiply and improve with fewer raw materials and less work. Is it not
fair for the heirs to get their share?
who are the heirs?
have said it; this cultural inheritance is a common asset that belongs
to every member of society. Suppress the community, the association, and
you will suppress plenty. Plenty is much more the fruit of the common
cultural asset than of individual effort. Certainly the latter remains,
but the former is there too.
we ignore the inheritance and the heirs, the world is filled with
injustices and nonsense. Possible production is not marketed and often
is not even realized, because the heirs are not given their claims on
this production which the common asset, entering into it as an important
factor, entitles them to.
is the income from this inheritance that Social Credit wants to
distribute, under the name of a national dividend, to every member of
is a dividend, because it corresponds to surpluses.
firm which has an income surplus does not declare a crisis, but
distributes the surplus among its shareholders. If Canadian agriculture
and industry have surpluses, why not let the members of society, all the
Canadians, benefit from it, as members of an organized society?
one should see the shadow of Communism or Socialism in this theory.
Private industry remains. Private property remains, as well as profit.
Private capital, which was really invested, continues to command
reasonable dividends. Labour continues to draw its wages. But the heirs
receive the annual income from their inheritance.
young and old, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, sick or healthy,
are entitled to this dividend, because it is not earned by anyone in
particular, because all direct contributors to production have already
been rewarded, and because surpluses are only due to the cultural asset.
cultural asset is the common property of everybody. If you give a larger
dividend to some, you favour one over another. If you do not give it to
anyone, you let production go to waste or be restricted in front of
glaring needs, and you have the unjustifiable situation of poverty
it is to give something for nothing!” some might say.
is giving claims on the wealth to distribute the wealth that already
exists. This is granting to the members of society a dividend on the
capital accumulated by their fathers, which capital they themselves will
continue to increase, to the benefit of their sons.
conclude, read this quotation from the great Catholic philosopher
think that, in a system where a (more social) conception of property
would be in force, this axiom (`nothing for nothing') would not be able
to survive. Quite to the contrary, the law of usus
communis would lead us to establish that, at least and
foremost, what regards the basic material and spiritual needs of the
human person, it is proper for people to get, for nothing, as many
things as possible... The human person being served in his basic
necessities is only, after all, the first condition of an economy which
does not deserve to be called barbarous.
principles of such an economy would lead to a better understanding of
the profound meaning and the essentially human roots of the idea of
inheritance, in such a way that... all men, upon entering into the
world, could effectively enjoy, in some way, the condition of being an
heir of the preceding generations.”