Purpose of An Economy
Douglas claimed there were three possible policy alternatives with respect to the economic system:
"1. The first of these is that it is a disguised Government, of which the primary, though admittedly not the only, object is to impose upon the world a system of thought and action. 2. The second alternative has a certain similarity to the first, but is simpler. It assumes that the primary objective of the industrial system is the provision of employment. 3. And the third, which is essentially simpler still, in fact, so simple that it appears entirely unintelligible to the majority, is that the object of the industrial system is merely to provide goods and services."
Douglas believed that it was the third policy alternative upon which an economic system should be based, but confusion of thought has allowed the industrial system to be governed by the first two objectives. If the purpose of our economic system is to deliver the maximum amount of goods and services with the least amount of effort, then the ability to deliver goods and services with the least amount of employment is actually desirable. Douglas proposed that unemployment is a logical consequence of machines replacing labour in the productive process, and any attempt to reverse this process through policies designed to attain full employment directly sabotages our cultural inheritance. Douglas also believed that the people displaced from the industrial system through the process of mechanization should still have the ability to consume the fruits of the system, because he suggested that we are all inheritors of the cultural inheritance, and his proposal for a national dividend is directly related to this belief.
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