C.H. Douglas was a civil engineer who pursued his higher education at Cambridge University. His early writings appeared most notably in the British intellectual journal The New Age. The editor of that publication, Alfred Orage, devoted The New Age and later The New English Weekly to the promulgation of Douglas's ideas until his death on the eve of his BBC speech on social credit, 5 November 1934, in the Poverty in Plenty Series.
Douglas’s first book, Economic Democracy, was published in 1920, shortly after his article The Delusion of Super-Production appeared in 1918 in the English Review. Among Douglas’s other early works were The Control and Distribution of Production, Credit-Power and Democracy, Warning Democracy and The Monopoly of Credit. Of considerable interest is the evidence he presented to the Canadian House of Commons Select Committee on Banking and Commerce in 1923, to the British Parliamentary Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry in 1930, which included exchanges with economist John Maynard Keynes, and to the Agricultural Committee of the Alberta Legislature in 1934 during the term of the United Farmers of Alberta Government in that Canadian province.
The writings of C.H. Douglas spawned a worldwide movement, most prominent in the British Commonwealth, with beachheads in Europe and activities in the United States where Orage, during his sojourn there, promoted Douglas’s ideas. In the United States, the New Democracy group was headed by the American author Gorham Munson who contributed a major book on social credit titled Aladdin’s Lamp: The Wealth of the American People. While Canada and New Zealand had electoral successes with “social credit” political parties, the movement in England and Australia was primarily devoted to pressuring existing parties to implement social credit. This function was performed especially by Douglas’s social credit secretariat in England and the Commonwealth Leagues of Rights in Australia. Douglas continued writing and contributing to the secretariat’s journals, initially social credit and shortly thereafter the social crediter (which continues to be published by the Secretariat) for the remainder of his lifetime, concentrating more on political and philosophical issues in his later years.
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