Dividend Economics

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Robert Cook:

"Perhaps 20-30 percent of the people in the developed world are doing just fine financially. They are either professionals, technical experts who are indispensable in making the world economy function, former government employees on pensions, or a small minority who live off compound interest—i.e., the bankers and the rich. Most of this 20-30 percent, particularly the latter group, do not seem to have a great deal of compassion for the majority within their own nations and even less for the billions of less privileged people around the world.

For the remaining 70-80 percent who realize, with the recession now having arrived, that their livelihoods are on a slippery slope downward, possibly taking them toward personal and family catastrophe, they need only one thing—MONEY!

For many of these it would be nice to have a job, or a better job. But jobs are not the answer, even though any time a politician, economist, activist, or commentator offers an opinion on how to improve the economy they say MORE JOBS! For

But the advocates for government job-creation programs as the focal point of recovery are wrong.

The way to generate income security is not to give someone a job. It is to put money—cash—in his pocket. If we began with this simple fact the economy would soon generate far more jobs than people could fill. Of course some of these jobs would be low-paying or even volunteer jobs, which would be acceptable provided that people still had enough to live on and had opportunities to earn more.

For the world economy to function and for there to be enough produced to support everyone at a decent standard of living, not everyone has to work. In fact too many workers get in each other’s way. This accounts for the paradox which progressives despise that when companies eliminate jobs their stock value often goes up, because it’s a step toward becoming more efficient and more profitable.

In 2007 the world GDP was enormous–$55 trillion. The population was 6.6 billion. Per capita that’s $8,300. It’s not a large sum, but in many countries the cost of living is far lower than in the developed nations of the West. For a family of four the amount is $33,200. The point is that the world economy is capable of producing enough for all.

The productivity of a modern industrial economy is phenomenal. It surpasses the wildest dreams of generations past. The problem today is not a shortage of goods and services. It is often too many goods and services. For instance, there is a worldwide glut of automobiles. The same goes for many other items such as clothing and electronics. This does not mean that threats like climate change or resource depletion should be ignored. The reason these are not being faced is that industry must work so hard to cut costs and keep prices down in the face of the shortage of consumer purchasing power.

So why do we need more jobs? Only because we are so cheap and poorly informed that we fail to realize that a cash payment to everyone, at least at a subsistence level, should be viewed as a dividend. It’s something everyone should receive as the benefit of our incredible producing economy. A Basic Income Guarantee should be treated as a HUMAN RIGHT.

But the situation does not require that someone else should be taxed in order for that dividend to be provided. A BIG does not have to be a transfer payment or a share-the-wealth scheme. Rather it should reflect an acknowledgment by the economic system that the universe is bountiful and abundant. Modern industry has tapped into that abundance.

Today the abundance is being stolen by the bankers and their debt-based monetary system. This is what must be taken back by on behalf of “We the People.” This can be done by payment of a BIG as a dividend. It would not be inflationary, because it would not result in “more money chasing the same amount of goods.” Rather it would replace money borrowed from the banks or would generate new production.

If you want to read the history of dividend-economics, study the worldwide Social Credit movement originated by British engineer C.H. Douglas in the 1920s and 30s. I am not going to repeat that history here. I have written about it in articles over the past two years, most of which can be found at http://www.GlobalResearch.ca. It’s one of the themes in my new book, We Hold These Truths: The Hope of Monetary Reform (Tendril Press, 2008)."


  1. Alaska Permanent Fund