Chapter 7 The Symbol and the Thing


Better than anyone else, the Social Credit school knows how to distinguish between wealth and money. If, in its studies, it gives so much importance to money, it is because money today is necessary to have access to wealth.

In normal times, when war does not introduce wholesale destruction, the civilized world abounds in wealth. The storekeepers then never complain of not being able to find what is needed to replace sold stocks. Warehouses are full to bursting. The hands of able-bodied men are more numerously offered than can be employed.

The civilized countries have so many products that they search everywhere abroad to sell them. By all means, they favour exportation, and they bar the road to importation, so as not to be glutted with products.

It is Canada's situation. Canada is a country overflowing with wealth, and capable of producing even more.

But, what is the use of saying to Canadian men and women that their country is rich, that it exports a great many products, that it is the third- or fourth-ranking country in the world for exportation? What goes out of the country does not go into Canadian homes. What stays in the stores does not appear on the tables of the Canadians.

A mother does not feed her children or provide them with garments by going window-shopping, by reading product advertisements in newspapers, by listening to beautiful product descriptions on the radio, by listening to sales talk from countless sales representatives of all kinds.

It is the claim on these products that is lacking. One cannot steal them. To get them, one must pay; one must have money.

There are a lot of good things in Canada, but when the claim on these things is absent from the Canadians' hands, when people do not have money, what is the purpose of the display of all this wealth?

This does not mean that money itself is wealth. Money is not an earthly good capable of satisfying temporal needs.

You cannot keep yourself alive by eating money. To get dressed, you cannot sew dollar notes together to make a dress or a pair of stockings. You cannot rest by lying down on money. You cannot cure an illness by putting money on the seat of the illness. You cannot educate yourself by crowning your head with money.

No, money is not real wealth. Real wealth is the useful things which satisfy human needs. Bread, meat, fish, cotton, wood, coal, a car on a good road, the doctor's visit to a sick person, the teacher's science this is real wealth.

But, in our modern world, each individual does not produce all the things he needs. People must buy from one another. Money is the symbol or token that one gets in return for something sold; it is the symbol that must be presented to get something offered by another.

The symbol ought to reflect the thing

Wealth is the thing; money is the symbol of that thing. Logically, the symbol ought to reflect the thing.

If a country has a lot of things available for sale, there must be a lot of money available to dispose of them. The more people and goods, the more money in circulation is required, or else everything stops.

It is precisely this balance which is generally lacking. We have at our disposal almost as great a quantity of goods as we could possibly wish for, thanks to applied science, to new discoveries, and to the perfecting of machinery. We even have people reduced to forced unemployment, who represent a potential source of goods. We have loads of useless, even harmful, occupations. We have a great deal of activities, of which the sole end is destruction.

Money was created for the purpose of keeping goods moving, of selling goods. Why then does it not always find its way into the hands of the consumers in the same ratio as goods flow from the production line?

Why? Because goods come from one source, and money comes from another source. The first source production works well, but the latter money does not work properly.

A source of goods is the natural resources with which Providence has favoured the planet; other sources are applied science and the work of producers. All of these supply products in abundance.

The source of money is elsewhere. Money comes neither from Providence, nor from science, nor from the farmer's furrows, nor from the fisherman's net, nor from the blows of the woodcutter's axe, nor from the workman's skill.

And the source of money does not run parallel to the source of products, since money was lacking before World War II, in front of an abundance of goods available for sale, and since money came during the war, in front of the stores lacking in products.

Products come through production, and they disappear through consumption. Money too comes and disappears, since it is plentiful at times, scarce at other times. Money comes into being and dies.



Previous Chapter                   Contents                       Next Chapter