By: Greg Staley
Written On: 2021-08-26
The phrase “social credit” is mentioned numerous times in a report called “Capital and Debt” that was “co-championed” by the Prime Minister’s Privy Council. The report from June of 2017, includes public servants from Employment and Social Development Canada, Heritage Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Privy Council role in the report
The report’s preamble begins by saying that “this document does not represent an official policy position of the Government of Canada.” It continues; “Instead, it records the work of a sub-group of new public servants who participated in Canada Beyond 150, a professional development program co-championed by the Privy Council Office and Policy Horizons Canada.”
The irony of this statement is not lost on me. You can say that this document doesn’t represent the “official policy position of the Government of Canada” but the Government of Canada’s own webpage for the Privy Council Office (PCO) says that the PCO “supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet” and that “the department helps the government in implementing its vision, goals and decisions in a timely manner.”
This is a completely misleading phrase for the reader and ultimately for Canadians. The sole purpose of the PCO is to help the government implement its vision and goals. This makes the report hit home a lot differently than it would if we believed the report was completed by a group of random public servants that were exploring potential outcomes of the future.
Downward pressure on western wages
The report begins by discussing the high levels of debt that many Canadians hold. “Many Canadians are now deeply in debt” and “In 2017, the average Canadian household had a debt-to-income ratio of 167.8%, with 7.9% of them at 350% or greater.” The report says that “at the expense of their savings, Canadians service mortgage debt, car loans, credit cards, and lines of credits as sources of debt.”
The report then tells the reader that “Automation, the growth of short-term contracts, and global merging of wages could continue the downward pressure on wages in most Western nations.” The report says that “because of this, policymakers should explore how Canadians can cut costs and improve their finances by using new access economy platforms, peer-to-peer lending, and new asset classes.”
The report gives three “main insights” of how “emerging technologies and social practices might reshape the future of asset formation in Canada by 2030.” In the report policy interventions and ideas are also explored.
Access to services could displace ownership
According to the “Capital and Debt” report, “Individuals are using digital technologies to access “solutions” rather than owning assets.” The report says that “Unlike the traditional economy, the access economy uses new technologies that let individuals rent out goods or services that they own, such as clothing, cars, rooms in houses, parking spots, tools, etc.”
The report then says that if “widely adopted, the access economy could free Canadians from having to buy goods, especially those that need financing.” The thought process behind this is that “Canadians could have more liquid capital, less debt, and potentially access to higher quality products.”
The report says that the “access economy” could be “useful in helping Canadian households lower their debt and avoid extreme debt.” The report then gives what I think is the most terrifying phrase I’ve ever heard in a report “co-championed” by an office that works to helps our Prime Minister achieve his goals; “With fewer assets, Canadians could lack the collateral to access affordable credit. Depending on how far this new access model displaces ownership, an individual may no longer own their lifestyle–instead, they might effectively rent it.”
The report says that “This new model could either speed up the concentration of power and wealth or break it up.” The result, the report says, will depend largely on the “makeup” of peer-to-peer companies (Like Airbnb) and other big companies.
Social Credit may become a more powerful determinant of socio-economic inclusion
The report says that “Rating a user’s credibility/trust (social credit), as is currently done by Uber, eBay and many others, is becoming more common.” The report then talks about how new technologies like blockchain are bringing “new ways of capturing and assessing more information” and how “together, these developments could lead to new ways of evaluating who should qualify for credit and services, based on algorithms.”
This sounds like China’s social credit system where your social credit score is given to you by the government and effectively determines what goods and services you can access and whether or not you can obtain loans, travel etc.
The report then talks about the risk of this system – albeit only barely. “There is also the risk for social rating systems to isolate individuals who do not fit into normalized standards of behaviour (e.g. the mentally ill).” The report says that “By 2030, government and stakeholders may need to address new forms of vulnerability and inequality that arise from how we determine “good” and “bad” social behaviour.”
Links between ownership and social status are becoming unstable
The report says that “traditionally, owning expensive goods was a status symbol.” The report then makes the argument that If people were able “to access solutions rather than buy expensive assets” then this loses meaning. The report says that “Pay-per-use models could undercut the economic incentive to own goods.”
The insinuation is that Canadians might take on less debt to live the “same or better lifestyles” and that “status may be reflected instead by accessing products that are difficult to rent or share.”
The report says that “In this new environment, reputation might become a new form of “wealth” that could be both more accessible and prone to fluctuations.” The report says that “these forces put pressure on the previously strong link between ownership and social status.”
“Vulnerable Assumptions” and policy proposals
The first “vulnerable assumption” that the report challenges is that “Real Estate growth will continue to support Canadians in their old age.” The report says that “if home affordability continues to be a challenge, and more Canadians take part in a gig economy with large pay fluctuations, then homeownership will become more unattainable.”
The report says that “If Canadians can access housing more easily through sharing economy platforms or cohousing arrangements, homeownership may decline as a cultural value and asset.” You read that right – the government thinks the idea of cohousing arrangements and the sharing economy platform may decline home ownerships value amongst Canadians.
Canadians will keep building their capital from wages
The report calls building capital from wages in the future a vulnerable assumption. The report says that “riskier, low-paid work combined with access economy platforms may cause older Canadians to draw more of their income from sharing and renting out their goods than from wages.”
The report then says that “without outside supports, Canadians who come of age in these labour market conditions will have few assets to generate passive income, which will favour older workers who received wages high enough to create an asset base.”
So, it would appear that the report is calling for government intervention to equalize the market so that these ideas could be implemented on a societal level.
The report continues; “If automation destroys jobs at a faster rate than new job creation, a basic income scheme introduced by the government becomes highly plausible.” What does that mean for Canadians? Well, according to the report it might mean wages could “decline as a source of wealth creation.”
The report says that “more Canadians may be on fixed incomes, which would impact their risk tolerance and how aggressively they invest, as well as the class of assets they could access.”
Highly vulnerable assumption: “current patterns of ownership will continue: People will continue to put a high value on ownership
The report says that “more Canadians may be financially strained and may turn to shared goods and services to cut costs.” The report gives the example that “choosing access to a vehicle rather than owning one could save the average Canadian family almost $3,000 a year.”
The report tells the reader that “peer-to-peer exchange will likely make accessing goods cheap and fast.”
Highly vulnerable assumption: The cash-based economy is going to continue as the basis of our society – CRYPTO FUTURE
The report says that “if more work moves to online platforms that allow workers to complete projects remotely in other countries, cryptocurrencies may become a useful instrument for employers to make cross-border payments.” The report also discusses a potential move from careers to “a series of tasks” that may lead to payment becoming “more micro in form.”
The report says that “In terms of producing accurate records of work, time, and contribution of micro-jobs, blockchain and related tokens hold an advantage over fiat currencies.” In this sense, it seems that the report is endorsing the idea of a future where cryptocurrencies become the norm – eliminating or highly reducing the use of “fiat currencies.” The reasons they seem to endorse these technologies are for tracking purposes or put another way – to eliminate the cash economy.
“An access economy model favours those who already own assets”
The report says that “an access economy model favours those who already own assets.” The solution proposed to this problem? The report says that the solution may be “measures that smooth” the “transition to the access economy, by reducing disruptive elements, distributing wealth or income guarantees, or providing assets at birth through asset-based social policy.”
Talk about a terrifying proposal. Assets being provided at birth by the government through an “asset-based social policy” and “distributing wealth or income guarantees” sounds like something out of a Communist playbook. How is the government in a position to give out assets in this scenario? This is veiled language that calls for fundamentally altering our society away from capitalism into a heavily controlled authoritarian model where the government knows what is best. One where you will be largely dependent on the government to get ahead.
Traditional measures of socio-economic inclusion could become less relevant
The report says that “Existing policies, programs, and indicators are mainly based on the idea that building wealth over time is the best way to fight poverty and promote socio-economic inclusion.” The report suggests that as our model for wealth changes into one that “encourages networks and assets” that the current strategies, policies, programs, and indicators may become less relevant.”
The report goes as far as to say “even home or automobile ownership statistics may become poor measures of socio-economic inclusion.”
The government may introduce a “digital wallet” to combine all federal government benefits
One proposal in the report, if implemented, would have far-reaching implications. The report says that the government could create a digital wallet for every Canadian and combine all federal government benefit programs into that digital wallet.
“It would serve as a service window and private bank account” the report reads. What is concerning to me is that the report indicated that the government could track how the funds are used. The report says that Canadians “could use funds in the digital wallet based on program requirements for which the funds were paid.” The only way for the government to know this is to track the spending of Canadians.
The report says that “Unlike now, they would be integrated and tracked by purpose. The “Capital and Debt” document says that “automatic contracts based on blockchain technology could verify and track the conditions for fund withdrawal.” So there could be stipulations put into place by the government on how you’re allowed to spend funds received from the government.
Everything about this report screams that it will fundamentally alter society as we know it. Perhaps that’s why Trudeau, the man whose Privy Council “Co-championed” this report said the election is the “most important since 1945 and certainty in most of our lifetimes.” The Prime Minister also said “Canadians deserve to choose what the next 17 months, what the next 17 years and beyond will look like” when he announced the election.
If Justin Trudeau gets re-elected and implements the ideas from this report, that statement would be 100% factually correct. This election could decide what the next 17 years look like. If you like your car, home and owning your possessions – you need to spread this article like wildfire. The plan to assault Canadians rights appears to have been in the planning phase for quite some time and with the emergence of COVID, we are likely seeing the push towards this type of system in real-time.
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