What Was the Social Credit Theory?


Jane Flores

The Social Credit Theory was a monetary theory developed by C.H. Douglas in the early 20th century.

It aimed to address some of the economic and social issues prevalent during that time. This theory gained significant attention and influenced economic policies in various countries.

Understanding the Basics

The core concept of the Social Credit Theory revolves around the idea that there is a gap between the purchasing power of consumers and the total production capacity of an economy. Douglas argued that this gap resulted in inadequate demand, leading to economic instability.

The Dividend

One of the key proposals of the Social Credit Theory was the introduction of a “dividend” to bridge this gap. The dividend would be a periodic payment made to every individual, providing them with a basic income. This income would increase their purchasing power, stimulate demand, and create a more balanced economy.

Key Principles

  • Economic Democracy: The Social Credit Theory aimed to promote economic democracy by ensuring that individuals had sufficient purchasing power to participate fully in the economy.
  • Debt-free Money: Douglas believed that money should be created debt-free by the government, rather than through loans from banks. This approach would prevent excessive debt accumulation and interest burdens on individuals and businesses.
  • Distribution of Wealth: The theory also emphasized fair distribution of wealth, aiming to reduce income disparities and promote social justice.

Influence on Economic Policies

The Social Credit Theory had a significant impact on economic policies in various countries. In Canada, during the Great Depression, political parties were formed based on this theory’s principles. Alberta even had a Social Credit government for several decades.

In New Zealand, the Social Credit Political League gained substantial support in the 1980s, advocating for monetary reform based on Douglas’ ideas.


The Social Credit Theory offered a unique perspective on economic and social issues, proposing solutions that aimed to address inequality and promote economic stability. While not widely implemented, its influence continues to be felt in various debates surrounding monetary policy and income distribution.