article of Louis Even, first
in the September 1, 1960 issue of the Vers Demain Journal.)
of ends and means
speak of full employment, that is of universal employment, is to make a
contradiction with the pursuit of progress in the techniques and
processes of production. New and more perfect machines are not
introduced to tie man to employment, nor are new sources of energy
tapped for this end, but rather they are brought into production for the
purpose of liberating man from work.
alas, we seem to have lost sight of ends. We are confusing means and
ends. We mistake the former for the latter. This is a perversion, which
infects our whole economic life and which makes it impossible for men to
enjoy to the full the logical rewards of progress.
does not exist to give employment, but to furnish products, goods. If it
succeeds in furnishing such goods, then it has accomplished its purpose,
met its end. And the more completely it meets this end with the minimum
of time and the minimum employment of human hands, the more perfect it
Jones, for example, buys his wife an automatic washing machine. Now the
weekly wash will take only a quarter of the day instead of a full day.
When Mrs. Jones puts the clothing in the washing machine along with the
soap, when she turns on the taps bringing in the proper mixture of hot
and cold water, she has nothing more to do except to turn on the
machine. The machine washes the clothes, rinses them, and then stops
automatically when the clothes are ready to come out.
Mrs. Jones going to bemoan the fact that she now has more time to do
what she pleases? Or is Mr. Jones going to search for another type of
work to replace that from which his wife has been freed? Certainly not.
Neither one is that stupid.
we do find such stupidity running rampant in our social and economic
life, for the system makes progress penalize the individual, instead of
bringing him relief, in that it persists in tying purchasing power, the
distribution of money, to employment, and employment alone —
employment in production. Money comes only as a recompense for effort
and labour in production.
role of money has also been perverted. Money, basically, is nothing more
than a ticket which we present in order to obtain goods or services. It
is a ticket which is universally valid permitting the purchaser to buy
what he wants and which makes available to him the entire market of
goods and services. He has at his disposal the entire production of the
it is desirable that the economy of the country fulfill its reason for
existence, which is to satisfy human needs, then individuals must have
sufficient use of these “tickets” to be able to lay hands on enough
products, in as far as the country's capacity for production can meet
such demands. The volume of money with which to buy goods should be
regulated by the sum total of goods and services offered, and not by the
sum total of work necessary to produce them.
is true that production distributes money to those who are employed in
the work of producing. But this is as a means, and not as an end. The
end of production is not to supply money, but to furnish goods and
services. And if production is able to replace twenty salaried
individuals by the introduction of one machine, it has not in any way
thwarted its true purpose. And if it could furnish all the production
necessary for humans, and not distribute one cent of money, it would
still be meeting the end for which it exists: to furnish goods and
freeing men from labour, industry should certainly receive the same
gratitude which Mr. Jones received from his wife when he liberated her
from hours of work by purchasing an automatic washing machine for her.
When purchasing power disappears
how can a man say “thank you” when he has been liberated from work
by a machine, when he finds to his consternation that he has no money?
this is precisely where our economic system has become defective, in
that it has not adapted its financial mechanism to its productive
the measure that industry or production passes out of human hands, so
too should purchasing power, in the form of money, be channeled to
consumers through some other means than just recompense for employment.
other words, the financial system should harmonize with production, not
only with respect to volume, but also with respect to the manner in
which it is distributed. If production is abundant, then money should be
abundant. If production is liberated from human labour, then money
should be dissociated from employment.
is an integral part of the financial system, and not a part of the
production system, strictly speaking. When the production system finally
reaches a point where it can distribute goods without the aid of
salaried individuals, then too the financial system should reach the
point where purchasing power can be distributed by some other means than
such is not the case, it is because, unlike the production system, the
financial system has not adapted itself to progress. And it is precisely
this difference which has given rise to grave problems, when in fact
progress should make all problems of such a nature disappear.
men by machines in production should lead to the enrichment of men, to
their deliverance from purely material worries and cares, permitting
them to give themselves over to human pursuits other than those which
are related solely to the economic function. If, on the contrary, such a
substitution leads to privation, it is because we have refused to adapt
the financial system to this progress.
financial system is false and obsolete
physical capacity to produce no longer poses any problem to producing,
easily and efficiently, all that is required by normal needs. And we
have all the means to transport and distribute such production. If the
financial system truly reflected this state of affairs, it, neither,
would pose any problems. There would be no financial problem, just as
there is no production problem and no problem in transportation and
distribution. But finance does not reflect the realities of production
and distribution. It is in flagrant opposition to such realities.
financial system is as false as a map which would put Toronto to the
east of Montreal. A traveller who set out for Toronto, following such a
map, would soon end up in the gulf of St. Lawrence. The further he went,
the further he would be from his goal.
the financial system, which is not a thing devised by the Almighty, was
invented by men certainly to serve our economic life, and not to command
it, much less tyrannize it. It should, then, reflect the realities of
our economic life at all times.
Two extreme situations
a primitive economy, where production depends almost solely upon the
employment of all available hands all the time, the right to the fruits
of production might quite justifiably be tied to employment in
production. A financial system then which distributes purchasing power
only through salaries paid to employment in production, might be quite
suitable in a primitive economy.
the other extreme, that of total automation, where all production flows
forth without the need of a single human hand, any financial system
which tied the distribution of purchasing power uniquely to employment
would achieve absolutely nothing. In such a hypothesis then, in order to
give the consumers the “tickets” which would permit them to choose
what goods they need, and thus, incidentally, guide the activities of
automated production, it is necessary to find a means for distributing
this purchasing power absolutely dissociated from employment, since
employment would no longer exist.
purchasing power, dissociated from employment is called by the Social
Crediters a dividend. And it is a particularly suitable word. The
dividend which the capitalist receives is something quite apart from his
employment. It is the employment of others which brings in this
dividend. Likewise, in the hypothesis of completely automated
production, the consumers' dividends would be completely dissociated
from their employment; it would be the employment of progress which
would bring them their dividends.
a dividend would necessarily be the same for all, since it would be
earned by no individual. This would be a dividend whose capital would be
the greatest of all capitals, the preponderant factor in modern
production, that is, progress; progress which has been built up by
generation after generation, and handed down from one to the other. It
is a capital in which all the living are equal co-heirs.
financial system, then, which reflected exactly the facts of a
completely automated production system, would by necessity be
exclusively a financial system of dividends.
The case of existing production
between these two extremes, between a primitive economy and a system
which is totally automated, there are various stages. These various
stages should reflect a system of purchasing power, neither totally tied
to salaries nor totally tied to dividends.
are, at present, far from the primitive economy. So the distribution of
purchasing power tied uniquely to employment contradicts the evolution
of our production system.
part of our production is due to the effort of men employed in
production. This part then justifies the distribution of a part of the
purchasing power through salaries.
a very large part of production — and a growing percentage — is due
to technological progress and not to the employment of people. This part
then should be reflected by the distribution of dividends, of dividends
to all, since it is the fruit of progress, a common heritage, and not
the fruit of any present effort.
raising of salaries, when the amount of work being done by human hands
is reduced, is likewise a perversion. It is to turn the dividend for all
into salaries for the producers. It is to deny to all, as heirs to the
fruits of progress, their claims on a free share in the fruits of
production. It is to make even wider the divergence between the cost
price and the real production price of the goods produced. It leads to
the necessity of taxing the revenues of producers for various
allocations, a brutal manner of imperfectly compensating for the refusal
to issue the dividends due to everyone. It is to add still another
inflationary factor to a financial system which is already inherently
double distribution of purchasing power — that which is in accord with
the efforts of individuals needed in production, and the dividend for
all — would soon cause these difficulties to disappear. It would in no
way diminish the total of goods flowing out to families. In fact, it
would increase it, since all production, freed from financial
hindrances, would meet the needs of the people in a more direct manner.