Chapter 45 — The Stocker's Lesson


(An article of Louis Even, published in the November 15, 1944 issue of the Vers Demain Journal.)

Three steam boilers are joined together, with a hearth under each one. In a room nearby, there is some coal.

Let us leave the piping details aside, the feeding pumps and other things — too technical for us. But we notice, really in evidence, something which looks like an alarm clock: a figured dial, with a needle that backs up, goes forward, stays in place while vibrating almost continuously.

Being neither engineers nor physicians, we can still read on the dial: 20, 30, 100, 200.

In the room with the boilers, there is a stoker: the man in charge of the fires, the one usually called the engineer.

He is not too busy at the moment; let us ask him a few questions:

Question.: “Sir, what is this dial for?”

Answer: “It is the pressure dial indicator. The skilled workers say: a manometer.”

Q.: “What do the figures on the dial mean?”

A.: “They indicate the number of pounds of steam pressure per square inch in the boilers.”

Q.: “Is it useful to you, Mr. Stoker?”

A.: “Most certainly. It is a cardinal indication for me. I see to it that the steam is held constantly at around 100 pounds.”

Q.: “Why? And what is this steam used for?”

A.: “This steam is used to turn the motors in the factory. If the pressure is too weak, the motors will tick over or stop. This is why I keep it at 100 pounds.”

Q.: “How many shovels of coal do you put in hourly to keep the steam pressure at 100 pounds?”

A.: “It depends on what the motors are doing. If they use much steam, the needle indicates a drop in pressure, and I stoke up the fires. If the motors use less power, if some stop, the pressure goes up; the needle indicates it, and I moderate the fires.”

Q.: “But you do not know how many motors are working, nor the kind of work they are doing?”

A.: “No, and it does not concern me. I supply the steam on request.”

Q.: “But if, in the factory, they make useless things, or if they make harmful, dangerous things, you supply the steam just the same?”

A.: “My function is not to judge what is being made in the factory. This responsibility is that of the people in the factory, their managers, what the customers buy, the supervisors of society. My function is to supply steam on request.”

Q.: “If all of a sudden, Mr. Stoker, too many machines stopped all at once, would not the pressure become too strong, even when you would moderate the fires?”

A.: “Do you see this valve with a counterweight on top of the steam dome? At such a time, at 175 pounds, it would open automatically and release steam. This excess would be harmful if one did not make room for it to escape, because the boiler could blow up if the pressure were to become stronger than its limit.”

Q.: “All is foreseen, Mr. Stoker. Then, this dial gives you orders for steam, and you go according to the dial.”

A.: “Exactly.”

Q.: “If you were to refuse to follow the indications of the dial, if you were to go up or down according to your own will, Mr. Stoker, it is you who would regulate the volume of activities in the factory. With much steam, the factory would run at full capacity; with less steam, the factory would have to slow down. You could even cause it to close its doors. You would be the master!”

A.: “If I were to act thus, I would make of steam a power that dominates, and not a service that helps. I would be an usurper and a saboteur. Mere common sense is enough to understand that the factory must be regulated according to the steam; it is the steam which must be regulated according to the needs of the factory.”

Let us congratulate this stoker for having better judgment than the masters of finance, than the bankers who make and destroy money without taking the country's needs into account. They have changed an instrument of service into an instrument of domination.

The Social Credit Movement wants to establish order in finance. It wants a money that serves, and not a money that masters. It wants a money regulated according to the possibilities of production and the needs of consumers; not a production limited by the lack of money, nor a public put to penance and to ration, due to the lack of pieces of paper.

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Social Credit is a money system that serves instead of ordering.

Under a Social Credit system, the National Credit Office would have a function similar to the one of the stoker of whom we have just spoken.

The National Credit Office would issue credits and money according to existing facts, according to activities coming from the producers and the consumers themselves. It would not be the role of the Office to say what is to be done and what is not to be done. The function of money is to serve, not to rule.

Under a Social Credit system, the consumers dictate the production, and the production follows. The money to pay for the products comes automatically.

If consumers request things that are harmful to their souls, it is up to their consciences, to the priests, to the spiritual directors, not up to the makers of money, to deal with these problems. Our Lord founded a Church, not a bank. And He did not confide the management of His Church to some financiers, but to St. Peter and to the successors of St. Peter. To fortify souls in the practice of virtue, He instituted His Sacraments, and not a money system that rations.

Therefore the money maker should simply do his job, like the furnace stoker. He should supply money for economic activities, and he should leave to more competent authorities the care of guiding consumers in their choices.

If consumers request things harmful to their health, it is for hygiene, medicine, education, to supply remedies, not up to the banker. Why should money have to be the supreme instrument, the supreme arbiter of human actions?

*       *       *

Our stoker does not take charge of the use made of his steam, but of the management of his fires according to the requirements indicated by the needle of the manometer. In the same way, the role of Social Credit would not to be concerned with the use of money, but with putting money into circulation according to the requirements of the consumers in front of the possible production.

The Socialists, the Planners, under whatever name they present themselves, want to tell the producers what to do and the consumers what they ought to be content with. This is not true of the Social Crediters; they respect freedom too much for that. The Social Crediters still have confidence in mankind. They believe that men and women know what they need.

Now ask the stoker if he has any difficulty in supplying the request for steam. He will answer you: “Not at all, as long as there is water for the boilers and coal for the hearths.”

And ask a Social Credit technician if he foresees any difficulty in supplying money to the level of production. He will answer you: “Not at all, as long as there will be ink and paper to do the accounting.”

“But what about inflation?” some might say. Inflation? Did not our stoker say to us that, if the request for steam stopped all of a sudden, faster than the moderation of his fires, there is an escape valve which automatically takes care of the excess? Likewise, with Social Credit, of which the monetary technique was devised by an engineer, Major Douglas, there is an automatic mechanism to reduce money in circulation if it becomes necessary, just as there is a mechanism to put some into circulation when necessary.

It is as easy to withdraw excess money from circulation, to protect the value of money, as it is easy to put some into circulation, to protect the value of products. Moreover, the present governments, which have not yet learned how to put money into circulation, have for a long time known how to withdraw some from circulation.

When money is lacking, let us stop refusing its issue through the fear of having too much of it. One can count. And in order not to go over 100, one does not have to stop at 25.

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Social Credit will maintain the level of money at the level of possible production, required by needs. This is part of the very nature of the Social Credit monetary system; it is part of its very definition.

Under the present mechanism, nothing of the sort happens. We have a system in which the stoker runs the steam at will; and the factory can produce or must be at a standstill, according to the will of the one who supplies or refuses the steam. It is absurd!

Do you remember 1929? Why did the level of money go down suddenly and stay down, right up to the minute of the declaration of war? Everybody in the country — the housewife in her home, like the minister in his office — everybody read the dial all right: not enough money. And yet, the Government, supposedly master, did not at all dismiss the bad stoker, who had become the real saboteur of the whole country.

And when, because of the war, the saboteur lets money flow, for each new dollar put into circulation, the Government commits itself to withdrawing even more, if not immediately, at least after the war is over. Where is the sovereignty and the dignity of the Government? What a degeneration of power!

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What are worth the critics of those who say: “With Social Credit, the Government will stick its nose everywhere.” Where did they get this idea? Does the stoker, who keeps the level of steam at the level of needs, stick his nose everywhere else in the factory? He does exactly the opposite.

Others defy us: “Then tell us, first of all, how much new money will you put into circulation each month, each year?” We will answer them, as the stoker would: “It depends on existing conditions, and it is the producer-consumer people who will create these facts.”

Others say to us solemnly: “Social Credit will not correct anything. We must have reforms in all domains.”

That's fine, make your reforms, gentlemen. But to achieve them, begin by securing the services of a stoker who has the sense of his functions. Begin by establishing a Social Credit money service. You will then be liberated from your dependence on a dictatorial stoker, on a mechanism that rations in the midst of plenty. You will then be able to make your reforms with ease in the other domains.



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