|Subject:||Re: [socialcredit] The Question of Exports|
|Date:||Sunday, October 1, 2006 01:55:32 (-0600)|
|From:||Wallace Klinck <wmklinck @....ca>
Thanks--attaching a PDF in return for your convenience.
[MIME component not shown: he Question of Exports--C.H. Douglas, The New Age, Dec 1, 1921.pdf (application/pdf)
On 30-Sep-06, at 9:45 AM, MODERATOR wrote:
> *The New Age*
> December 1, 1921
> The Question of Exports.
> By C. H. Douglas.
> The editor has passed on to me two letters which seem
> to indicate some confusion of thought as to the
> bearing of a modified credit system on export Trade.
> Both these letters quote statistics of wheat
> production and consumption with a view to throwing
> some doubt on our capacity to grow our own food.
> Now, ultimately, statistics are indispensable to sound
> practical politics, but to the writers of these
> letters, as well as to others who may be tempted to
> attack the problem on the basis of official
> statistics, it may be emphasised that it is nearly
> irrelevant to the primary issues whether this country
> can feed it’s population off its own acreage or not.
> It is quite arguable that it can; and it is also
> arguable that it would be bad business for it to try.
> These issues are:
> (I) Are there inducements operating towards the best
> use of the land we have?
> (2) If we export services (i.e., the energy element of
> production) do we get the best real price for them?
> In regard to (1), and leaving out of the argument, for
> the moment, the indisputable fact that the acreage
> under wheat is steadily decreasing decade by decade,
> consider the position of the farmer. He, like everyone
> else at present, is in business to make money, not to
> deliver goods. It is quite true that he makes money by
> selling things, but he can easily make more money by
> selling less goods at a higher price, than vice versa.
> Now wheat is one of a fairly small group of
> commodities over the price of which the individual
> producer has practically no control whatever. It is a
> graded homogeneous product bought in bulk by experts
> who have a strictly finite demand for it, and the
> price paid is under existing conditions purely fixed
> by supply and demand whether unfettered or
> artificially stimulated by rings, and is not directly
> based on cost.
> Normally, a given amount of foreign wheat is
> contracted for in this country-bought on “futures” by
> grain brokers whose price fixes a datum line for
> home-grown wheat. So long as wheat is in short supply
> as compared with the demand, the price rises and
> everyone engaged in the grain trade, either as
> producer or dealer, may benefit, although no doubt
> most of the benefit goes to the dealer.
> The relation of the farmer to this situation must
> surely be plain. The one situation he must avoid at
> all costs is that produced by throwing grain on the
> market in any quantity which will bring down prices,
> that is to say, slacken the demand or competition to
> buy. His criterion of a satisfactory output,
> therefore, bears no relation to what amount of wheat
> the public requires, or what amount the land will
> produce, but rests fundamentally on, firstly, the
> operations of the grain brokers and, secondly, an
> estimate of what margin of profit can be extracted
> from the market by keeping it short of wheat without
> causing a secondary movement of grain from other
> As transportation facilities improve, the proposition
> becomes less and less attractive to the farmer who is
> driven more and more to the production of perishable
> goods, such as eggs, butter and milk, whose nature
> enables him to control the local market, or to the
> raising of stock on which the transportation charges
> and risks are heavy.
> The first prime question can therefore be answered
> quite confidently in the negative.
> In regard to the second point, let us assume that the
> magnitude, at any rate of our imports of foodstuffs,
> is a reasonable subject of discussion and policy. It
> is evident that there is a point at which it is
> debatable whether we should grow the last few million
> quarters of wheat required on land which may not be of
> the most suitable description, or whether it is sound
> business management to obtain this wheat by the
> exchange for it of manufactured goods-that is to say,
> by an export of economic energy.
> It does not take much consideration to see that the
> answer to this is purely quantitative: how much wheat
> are we to get for a given energy export?
> It is true enough, as our super-industrialists and
> orthodox economists are always telling us, that
> imports are paid for by exports, but, on the whole,
> they are content to leave it at that. They do not
> explain, for instance, how a population which most
> certainly cannot, and does not, buy its own total
> production for cash (if it could, there would be no
> necessity either for home or export credits, and no
> “unemployment” problem), can become able to buy the
> imports which are exchanged for the unpurchasable
> They do not, again, explain how a textile worker, paid
> wages for converting a bale of raw cotton worth, say,
> into goods worth, say, can benefit if in return for
> these manufactured goods two more bales of raw cotton
> at are received-a condition common to Trade booms. Nor
> do they generally publish the fact that English
> machinery is often sold to export agents abroad at far
> lower prices than those at which the same machinery
> can be obtained at home, or that it is possible to
> buy, in the bazaars of Bombay, a shirt made in
> Lancashire for a quarter the price at which the same
> shirt can be bought retail in Manchester.
> The simple facts are that, under existing
> arrangements, our principal pre-occupation is the
> provision of employment--the making of work. On this
> simple canon hangs the Law and the profits.
> When, therefore, a locomotive is required for the
> Argentine, and assuming for the moment that it is in
> any sense sold in the open market, there is a
> competition, open to the industrial nations of the
> world, to sell locomotives and to buy wheat, with the
> usual and logical result that wheat appreciates in
> price in terms of locomotives, the industrial
> exporting country continually gives more, and the
> exporting agricultural country continually less,
> economic energy in every bargain.
> In order to make a bargain which is Just, i.e.,
> judicious, the industrial nation must be restored to
> the position of a free, not a forced, seller, just as
> to restore social equilibrium inside the nation the
> individual must be put in the position of a free, not
> a forced, worker. The arrangements which would fulfil
> these desiderata are already sufficiently familiar in
> principle to readers of *The New Age.*
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