Wednesday 21 December 2016

Women, Artists, Farmers and the Un-payed

Social credit’s enduring appeal is to the vast sections of society whose income insecurity precludes active participation as mainstream actors in the political economy. Industrial capitalism and all waged and salaried workers have clearly defined economic roles. Although home-makers, mothers, carers, farmers and ‘artists’ are essential to the maintenance of the social order, these roles are less easy to define within the terms of the formal economy. The ‘artist’ includes all whose work springs from internal motivation, not only the fine artist but also the writer, the musician, the crafts-person, the gardener, the inventor and the engineer, without whose work civilisation would not exist. These are the mainstay of support for the Social Credit movement, past and present.

The futility of securing political freedom without economic freedom is stressed throughout social credit literature. Recognition is also given to the significance of a National (Citizen's) Dividend, payable to the individual rather than to the family unit, as a means of securing women’s civil rights. The active role of women in the worldwide social credit movement has received scant attention in historical accounts, and remains a fruitful area for future research. To date the involvement of many thousands of women in the study and promulgation of social credit lies hidden by male command of public platforms, publications and historical analyses. Nevertheless, traces of women’s presence can be detected. A series of articles on women and social credit gave rise to a spirited debate in the correspondence pages of The New Age on the relevance of social credit ideas to women. R. Laugier argued that ‘Man has made a mess of managing the economy. Woman revolted once to become the equal of man; let her revolt again and be his superior’. Men’s responsibility for ‘the mess’ was not at issue. The debate centred on the extent to which men had usurped women’s role as providers and protectors. ‘Woman, when she does not imitate man, is a realist’, observed a reader of The New Age in 1934.

The economics of paid employment, and women’s role in the real-life economy, have, like the broader political movement, repeatedly risen to prominence, only to give way to ‘more important’ mainstream considerations. The Social Credit movement of the 1930s sought to enable women to step ‘out of the margin’ and into the mainstream. Following from women’s growing interest in ‘the new economics’ of CH Douglas across Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand’, America, women were encouraged to banish the notion that economics is a ‘man’s subject’. According to the American publication Independent Woman in 1934, man’s lust for power could be countered if women applied the simple test to all economic proposals: ‘Is it good social housekeeping?’ Women’s emancipation into ‘salaried slavery’, observed a writer in The New Age in 1934, has done nothing to ameliorate women’s status or conditions. Those words have not dated with the passage of time.

For details of social credit economic thought see the booklet Social Credit: Some Questions Answered, available electronically on