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Great Britain Limited

(Or Australia Limited, or America Limited, etc)
Major C. H. Douglas, in London "Daily Herald" 1920s)


· The world's claims upon food, clothes, housing and the amenities of civilisation must rest upon a new basis.

· The provision of universal economic employment has now become quite automatically an impossibility.

· The idea that the rich class in the past has been an idle class is one of those myths.

· To a man digging potatoes in the field an artist painting a picture destined to become a national heirloom is an idle trifler. It is quite possible that the artist could dig potatoes, but the man digging potatoes would be unable to paint a picture.

· The problem is not a problem of 'employment'. It is one of distribution, and orderly distribution is almost invariably accompanied by something which can be called a ticket system.

· A bank ticket (cheque) entitles you to a certain amount of any goods and services. A railway company's ticket entitles you to a certain amount and quality of transportation.

· The question of how to distribute is wrapped up with the question of the right to issue and to own the tickets.

· It is important to understand exactly what is the correct definition of inflation.
· True Inflation is not an increase of money, but an increase of money accompanied by a rise of prices -- thus robbing everyone of a portion of his wages.

· It is essential that a greater amount of purchasing power should not be accompanied by an increase of prices, but should be accompanied by a fall of prices.

· At the same time, it is necessary that the producer of the goods does not make a loss as a result of a fall in prices.

· Purchasing power must be put into the hands of large numbers of people who are not in employment.

· We require to do this without taking it from the people who are in employment.

· The necessary mechanism for this purpose is the dividend system.

· It is quite possible to conceive of Great Britain (or any other industrialised nation) in the light of what financial experts call a ''holding company" .

· This 'holding company' issues additional purchasing power on the credit of all of them and distributes this purchasing power as dividends to its shareholders.

· Let's call this holding company Great Britain, Ltd., and let's take back from the Bank of England, which is a private company controlled by financiers, the power of actually creating money.

· Great Britain surrendered its sovereign power of creating its own money in 1694 with the setting up of the Bank of England.
· (Historically, Australia's fledgling power of creating its own money was surrendered when the Commonwealth Bank was first strangled in the 1920s and eventually sold off by the Keating Government.)

· Without interfering with the management of industry, it is possible for Britain Limited, (or Australia Limited, or America Limited) to issue purchasing power in the form of a national dividend, not by taxing its shareholders, but by creating the money in exactly the same way that the banks create it at the present time.

· The amount of purchasing power issued as a dividend will ensure that all goods which are produced can be bought by the true shareholders, i.e., the people, the citizens of the country, be it Great Britain or Australia or America.

· To be effective it is absolutely vital that it should include a method of controlling prices. This necessity of control of prices is so that the additional money does not cause prices to rise, while at the same time ensuring to the producer that he is remunerated.

· There are methods by which this can be done, which have been proved to be successful.

· These methods and other arrangements which would be desirable in the organisation of the country are from their nature technical, and they are, of course, only indicated in the preceding paragraphs.

· The destruction of the monopoly of credit, and its distribution somewhat along the lines described above would result in:

· The whole of the population would be free from poverty and the fear of poverty.

· Freedom would be granted on terms which would remove forever the stigma at present attached to unemployment.

· It would also remove the resentment of the "worker" at being taxed to keep the "unemployed."

· Every individual, no matter what his occupation or want of occupation, would receive his birthright. He would, by being a shareholder in the heritage of this civilisation, and the wealth which flows from this heritage, have his share.

· The competition for employment in the economic system would become even keener than it is at the present time among those who are fit for employment. Both the prestige and, at any rate for a time, the remuneration of the worker might easily be higher than that of those who, by temperament or inclination, were found to be unsuited to operate the delicate machine of the modern productive system.

· It is not proposed to 'nationalise' industry. These matters are matters of administration, not of fundamental policy.

· The size of the unit which is found most convenient will largely determine the question of so-called private or public administration. Our civilisation owes very little of the progress it has made to State institutions.

· Clearly recognise:
· Our present administration of industry, up to now, has been amply sufficient to provide us with enough, and more than enough.

· To interfere with this existing industrial organisation, which by common consent has resulted in a glut, before making arrangements for the unproved distribution so urgently necessary to distribute that glut, is completely to fail in an understanding of the nature of the problem.

· It is one matter to understand what is required to end the present tragic situation, but another matter to deal with it.

· And quite another matter to have the power to put those plans into operation.

· We imagine it is only necessary to have a majority of opinion in favour of a certain line of action. Not so!

· Our freedom of choice of our Parliamentary representatives are too narrow. We have less freedom as to the issues on which we elect them.

· We must ensure that the Member shall apply his attention to dealing with those problems which we consider vital.

· Every Member of Parliament, no matter to which party he belongs, is the representative of every voter in his constituency.

· Every voter must apply pressure to his Member of Parliament. Do it now!


GREAT BRITAIN LIMITED
(Or Australia Limited, or America Limited, etc)

Major C. H. Douglas, in London "Daily Herald" 1920s

Unless wrecked by catastrophe, the world is on the threshold of an era in which the claims upon food, clothes, housing and the amenities of civilisation must of necessity rest upon a new basis.

Work, or employment, as we phrase it, is not to be in future the main claim upon these things, since the provision of universal economic employment will become quite automatically an impossibility.

This is not to say that the world will become idle, because I do not believe that it will. The idea that the rich class in the past has been an idle class is one of those myths which, resting in the main on a too narrow conception of work, a little observation would have been sufficient to disprove.

To a man digging potatoes in the field an artist painting a picture destined to become a national heirloom is an idle trifler, but it is quite possible that the artist could dig potatoes, although the man digging potatoes would be quite unable to paint a picture.

The problem, then, is not a problem of employment, and any solution which depends on the reemployment of a considerable proportion of the unemployed population in economic production must in its nature be both unscientific and unsound. It is one of distribution and the question of employment is one which in the future, to a large extent, each individual will have to solve for himself, just as the rich man solves it.

Now, orderly distribution is almost invariably accompanied by something which can be called a ticket system. When you exchange a thin bit of paper issued by the Bank of England for a thicker bit of paper issued by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company you are only exchanging one kind of ticket for another.

The Bank of England ticket entitles you to a certain amount of any goods and services; the railway company's ticket entitles you to a certain amount and quality of transportation. So that distribution is wrapped up with this question of the right to issue and to own tickets.

When any suggestion is made to increase the quantity of money tickets, it is met by a cry of "inflation,'' and it is suggested that inflation and ruin are one and the same thing.

For this reason, it is very important to understand exactly what is the correct definition of inflation, which is not an increase of money, but an increase of money accompanied by a rise of prices thus robbing everyone of a portion of his wages.

Curiously enough, numbers of professional economists and bankers who stigmatised my own proposa1s as disguised inflation, whatever they mean by that, are now asking for undisguised inflation, with the object of raising prices.

So far as I can see, the only requirement on which insistence is made from orthodox sources at the present time in regard to inflation is that it shall be accompanied by the creation of a still further debt to the banks.

However that may be, it is essential that the issue of a considerably greater amount of purchasing power should not be accompanied by an increase of prices, and should, if possible, be accompanied by a fall of prices.

This is quite possible, but it is necessary at the same time to see that the producer of goods does not make a loss as a result of a fall in prices, and thus become discouraged from producing.

That is half of the problem, but the other half is concerned with the fact that production will increasingly be a matter of machine production, and we require to put purchasing power or tickets, or whatever you like to call this thing that we now refer to as "money,'' into the hands of large numbers of people who are not in employment, and we require to do this without taking it from the people who are in employment. We are quite familiar with the necessary mechanism for this purpose-it is the dividend system.

It is quite possible to conceive of Great Britain in the light of what financial experts call a 'holding company,' that is to say, an undertaking which, without interfering with the numerous smaller undertakings that it controls, yet issues additional purchasing power on the credit of all of them and distributes this as dividends to its shareholders.

Let us call this holding company Great Britain, Ltd., and let us suppose that Great Britain, Ltd., takes back from the Bank of England, which is a private company controlled by financiers, probably not English, the power of actually creating money, which it has surrendered.

Then, without interfering with the management of industry in the country, it is possible for Great Britain Ltd., to issue purchasing power in the form of a national dividend, not by taxing its shareholders, but by creating the money in exactly the same way that the banks create it at the present time, and to such an amount so will ensure that all goods which are produced can be bought.

To make such a scheme effective it is absolutely vital that it should include a method of controlling prices, so that the additional money does not cause prices to rise, while at the same time ensuring to the producer that, as such, he is remunerated. There are methods by which this can be done, which have been proved to be successful.
These methods and other arrangements which would be desirable in the organisation of the country on the lines I have indicated are from their nature technical, and they are, of course, only indicated in the preceding paragraphs.

In general, the result which might be anticipated from the destruction of the monopoly of credit, and its distribution somewhat along the lines I have described, would be that the whole of the population would not only be free for ever from poverty and the fear of poverty, but that this freedom would be granted on terms which would remove for ever the stigma at present attached to unemployment when, at the same time, it is accompanied by financial distress, and the resentment of the "worker" at being taxed to keep the "idle."

Every individual, no matter what his occupation or want of occupation, would realise what I believe to be the fundamental fact that he is by birthright a shareholder in the heritage of civilisation, and that the wealth which flows from this heritage is part of the birthright. The competition for employment in the economic system would, I believe, become even keener than it is at the present time among those who are fit for employment in it, since both the prestige and, at any rate for a time, the remuneration of the worker might easily be higher than that of those who, by temperament or inclination, were found to be unsuited to operate the delicate machine of the modern productive system.

It will be realised that, so far as industry itself is concerned, the remedies which are suggested do not touch questions such as are commonly referred to under the name of the nationalisation of industry.

These matters are matters of administration, not of fundamental policy. There is room for legitimate difference of opinion as to the ultimate decision in regard to such matters, and my own opinion is that the size of the unit which is found most convenient will largely determine the question of so-called private or public administration, and that we owe very little of the progress we have made to State institutions.

The point to recognise clearly is that whether or no our present administration of industry is the best possible, it has been amply sufficient to provide us with enough, and more than enough, actual production to make us all wealthy, and that to interfere with this existing organisation, which by common consent has resulted in a glut, before making arrangements for the unproved distribution so urgently necessary to distribute that glut, is completely to fail in an under-standing of the nature of the problem.

Finally, it should be recognised that it is an entirely different matter to understand what is required to end the present tragic situation, on the one hand, and to have the power to put those plans into operation, on the other hand.

We are far too prone to imagine in Great Britain it is only necessary to have a majority of opinion in favour of a certain line of action, and that when this is achieved we have ready to our hand a Parliamentary machine waiting to translate this opinion into effective operation.

It is more than doubtful if this is the case. We have far less freedom in the choice of our Parliamentary representatives than we think we have; still less freedom as to the issues on which we elect them; and least of all have we the ability to ensure that when they get to Westminster their attention shall be devoted to dealing with those problems which we consider vital. Nevertheless, in theory, at least, Parliament is supreme in this country, and every Member of Parliament, no matter to which party he belongs, is the representative of every voter in his constituency.

It is quite probable that the most practical step which can be taken at the moment is for every voter, no matter what his political complexion may be, and wasting time in trying to chance his Parliamentary representation, to make it his personal business to apply pressure with a view to making plain to his Member that every day's delay in dealing with the money problem is an additional argument for the abolition of the Parliamentary system.

Do it now!

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159