Mr. Lindsay: CHC2DI
Friday, April 12th 2013
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, money had become a huge issue. There never seemed to be enough money to go around, not allowing people to support themselves and purchase goods. However, there was a solution based on the theories of a Scottish engineer, Major Douglas. Douglas felt that capitalism was a wasteful economic system, and claimed that financial institutions such as banks had been hoarding money. This would have prevented customers from buying the abundance of goods that capitalism produced. He also felt that the government should “release” money within the economy, so that citizens could spend it. This theory was known as “social credit”. William Aberhart, a radio preacher from Alberta, heard of this theory and began to publicise it on his weekly radio program, Voice of the Prairie. He was a shy man in private, but quite a colourful character. He could inspire thousands before the microphone, having a vast radio audience, and he used his program to spread his ideas of religion and politics. The new political party had been born from the grassroots movement, with Aberhart as leader: the Social Credit party.
The issue of there never being enough money to buy the goods available would simply be solved if there was more money circulated for people to spend. As well, sales would boom and industries would thrive. Aberhart officially established the Social Credit party in 1935 . He created the idea that suggested all citizens would own the natural resources of the province and be able to share in its prosperity. Aberhart promised each citizen would receive a certificate, known as the Basic Dividend. Citizens were to receive $25 a month. This certificate was as good as money and could be used to buy food, shelter, and clothing, on top of an incoming salary. It became officially known as a “prosperity certificate” and