Social Credit Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection includes works by C. H. Douglas, including Economic Democracy (1919) and Social Credit(3rd edn., 1934). There are also several editions of E. de Mar, A matter of life or debt(1983, 1991). In addition to books and pamphlets promoting the theories of social credit, there are journals, such as The Sun (1950s), Dawning Era (1960s), Abundance (1970s), and the Social Credit Party Bulletin (1970s). There are also several journals and pamphlets for the New Zealand Social Credit Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

The ideas of Social Credit are based on the theories of Major C.H. Douglas (1879-1952). In 1919 he published Democracy, and developed his ideas in a number of other books and articles. The main contention was that goods were left unsold because of the discrepancy between the final cost of the goods and the money distributed as wages, salaries and dividends during their production. The remedy was either periodic repayment to consumers in the form of citizens' dividends or their sale at a fraction of their cost, retailers being compensated by payments from national credit created for that purpose. Essential to the Douglas scheme was a transference of the monopoly of credit creation from the commercial banks to a National Credit Office, charged with the duty of creating interest-free credit as and when required. Its supporters came chiefly from the professions, among whom it was hoped that a way had been found to solve the problems of the post-war depression. In the early days of Social Credit, A.R. Orage, editor of the New Age, became an enthusiastic follower of Douglas, and the early development of Social Credit ideas may be traced in the columns of this journal.

Douglas agreed to the establishment of a Secretariat in the 1920s, of which he became Chairman with sole right to appoint directors. The Secretariat did not meet for general consultation. It issued a weekly journal, Social Credit, which was subscribed to by the study groups then springing up throughout the country. A more ambitious monthly journal, of mixed economy and literary flavour, the Fig Tree, appeared in the 1930s but was short-lived.

The study groups were most numerous and active in the Midlands and North. That of Coventry was remarkable for its lead. During the 1930s the ideas of Social Credit also spread abroad and took root in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Reference: Chris Cook, Sources in British Political History (London 1975).

Arrangement

The collection is uncatalogued.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This private collection was deposited in the Centre by Mr Eric de Mar in 1997.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level description is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.