Information Brief Number 29 1955
The Price System grew out of the days of scarcity, when trading his crude materials or stealing them, was the only way in which man could acquire the articles which he required. Through complex ramifications the trading system has grown until it is now the overwhelming structure of finance, business commerce, and politics, in short, the Price System in toto–a gigantic structure, but still just a method of exchanging goods, springing from the ancient custom and necessity of barter. No intention or pretense is made of accurate measurement or control; no physical accounting is involved; no accurate predictions can be made; and no stabilization can be assured. The Price System is simply a method of erratic exchange. In scarcity it sufficed well enough as an exchange method; in abundance it cannot even do that.
The dislocation of the commodity exchange method of distributing goods and services became apparent after World War 1. The disrupted conditions at that time led to a scientific investigation which in turn proved that the only common denominator of all goods and services was energy.
The scientists who pointed this out simply proposed to measure the total amount of energy used by the North American Continent in a given period; measure the energy cost of physical production and services; and use these measurements as the basis for regulation of all Continental production and distribution.
Technocracy Is The Tool
Technocracy’s basic postulate is, `The phenomena involved in the functional operation of a social mechanism are metrical.’ In other words, anything that materially affects us or changes our environment is measurable. The scientists and technologists know this and have applied it directly to the task of equipping North America with the most intricate and efficient productive mechanism ever to exist on earth. When they are given their chance they will see that the abundant goods and services produced are adequately distributed to everyone on the Continent. Technocracy is the tool by which North Americans may gain abundance and security.
Technocracy would put into operation a Continental control of all flow lines of production and distribution a Continental statistical system which would record the desires of every citizen in his choice of consumable goods and available services. This system would do the following things in a physical area where abundance is certain:
- Register on a continuous 24-hour-per day basis the total net conversion of energy, which would determine (a) the availability of energy for Continental plant construction and maintenance, (b) the amount of physical wealth available in the form of consumable goods and services for consumption by the total population during the balance-load period.
- By means of the registration of energy converted and consumed, make possible a balanced load.
- Provide a continuous inventory of all production and consumption.
- Provide a specific registration of the type, kind, etc., of all goods and services, where produced, and where used.
- Provide a specific registration of the consumption of each individual, plus a record and description of the individual.
- Allow the citizen the widest latitude of choice in consuming his individual share of Continental physical wealth.
- Distribute goods and services abundantly to every member of the population.
Why Not Money?
On the basis of these requirements, it is interesting to consider money as a possible medium of distribution. But before doing this, let us bear in mind what the properties of money are. In the first place, money relationships are all based upon ‘value,’ which in turn is a function of scarcity. Hence money is not a ‘measure’ of anything. Secondly, money is a debt claim against society and is valid in the hands of any bearer. In other words, it is negotiable; it can be traded, stolen, given or gambled away. Thirdly, money can be saved. Fourthly, money circulates, and is not destroyed or canceled out upon being spent. On each of these counts money fails to meet our requirements as our medium of distribution.
Money Is Inadequate
Suppose, for instance, that we attempted to distribute by means of money the goods and services produced. Suppose that it were decided that 200 billion dollars’ worth of goods and services were to be produced in a given year, and suppose further that 200 billion dollars were distributed to the population during that time with which to purchase these goods and services. Immediately the foregoing properties of money would create trouble. Due to the fact that money is not a physical measure of goods and services, there is no assurance that prices would not change during the year, and that 200 billion dollars issued for use in a given year would be used in that year. If it were not used this would immediately begin to curtail production and start oscillations. Due to the fact that money is negotiable, and that certain human beings, by hook or crook, have a facility for getting it away from other human beings, this would defeat the requirement that distribution must reach all human beings. A further consequence of the negotiability of money is that it can be used very effectively for purposes of bribery. Hence the most successful accumulators of money would be able eventually not only to disrupt the flow line, but also to buy a controlling interest in the social mechanism itself, which brings us right back to where we started from.
Due to the fact that money is a species of debt, and hence cumulative, the amount would have to be continuously increased, which, in conjunction with its property of being negotiable, would lead inevitably to concentration of control in a few hands, and to general disruption of the distribution system which was supposed to be maintained.
Thus, money in any form whatsoever is completely inadequate as a medium of distribution in an economy of abundance with a Price System control. Any social system employing commodity evaluation (commodity valuations are the basis of all money) is a Price System. Hence it is not possible to maintain an economy of abundance by means of a Price System.
The Scientific Answer
Technocracy’s Energy Certificate is the only instrument of distribution which can be used in this Continent’s emerging era of abundance–the progress of which is being speeded up by automation. This Energy Certificate provides the accounting means whereby each individual North American can express his individual preference as to what he wants of the products North America is capable of producing. That is its function–to record the demand for goods and services and, thereby, to determine the amount to be produced. By applying one specific technological measuring device, production and consumption can be balanced and the first specification for social harmony is immediately achievable.
Vote With Meaning
The only real vote is purchasing power. What we buy we vote for. With an abundance of purchasing power we can vote as often as we like, every day of the year, and always win our vote.
The Energy Certificate eliminates both the basis and the need of all social work and charity. It would reduce crime to but a small fraction of what exists today.
If you don’t like the war, the poverty, the misery, the waste, the crime, the disease, and the corruption which the Price System spawns, why do you stick with it?