By Jonathon Ludwig
In its most simple description, the difference between the American and British Systems is resumed here in the following manner: The American System was designed to provide project-specific “productive credit” issued via a national bank, combined with a wise protectionist tariff system with the intention of increasing the productive powers of labour via investments into capital intensive infrastructure and science. In a contrary manner the British System has always aimed at reducing those powers of cheap labour in bringing society under the control of a master class. The means chosen to bring this about has been a cultish reliance on “cash cropping” (1) and trade liberalization such that nationalist forces protecting the general welfare can never be established.
Abraham Lincoln’s economic advisor and 19th century leader of the American System school, Henry C. Carey, exemplified the difference in the following words in his Harmony of Interests:
“Two systems are before the world… One looks to pauperism, ignorance, depopulation, and barbarism; the other to increasing wealth, comfort, intelligence, combination of action, and civilization. One looks toward universal war; the other to universal peace. One is the English [Free Trade] system: the other we may be proud to call the American system, for it is the only one ever devised the tendency of which was that of elevating while equalizing the condition of man throughout the world.” (2)
The relationship of Canada to British Empire has always been a challenge for the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy which has yearned to destroy the United States for over 250 years. In the mind of the oligarchy, the geographic proximity between the United States of America and Canada has always meant a danger of American System modes of behaviour and thinking would influence Canadian institutions and leading citizens striving for progress.
With Lincoln’s construction of the Transcontinental railway (1863-1869) financed by productive credit issued by the U.S. Treasury (Greenbacks), the weakened London-centered oligarchy was forced to adapt to this unbeatable force of progress by not only permitting a Canadian continental railroad (built from 1870-1885 linking the isolated colony of British Columbia with the recently confederated Dominion), but also allowing the issuance of government credit for its construction knowing that this was the only available means of bringing about so vast a project. To this day, only the American (aka: Hamiltonian) System of credit has provided the means of actualizing large scale, long term ends, where British free market thinking allows only narrow minded fictitious profit margins in the quickest possible time.
It is important to note, that this was not done for the sake of nation building, as modern mythmakers have led Canadians to believe. The British Empire has always striven to keep its territorial possessions as backward and underdeveloped as possible through cash cropping (the “law of competitive advantage”) and managing the entropic system of diminishing returns.
The fact is that the decision of 1870 was made by a desperate collapsing empire, intent on keeping a valuable geopolitical territorial possession under its control by allowing for a measure of progress, while suppressing the annexation and independence movements then very much alive in both British Columbia and America (3). This fallacy of composition has remained at the center of an artificial Canadian nationalism for over a century since and unless it be addressed by courageous Canadians now, then no true cultural identity will ever form in this North American land.
(1) This is otherwise known as the principle of “the lowest price is the law” which, combined with the “law of competitive advantage” induces nations obedient to “market forces” to focus on one or two bulk exports, at ever lowered wages to the workers. The entropic “law of diminishing returns” is the consequence of this process. The Malthusian logic of depopulation under the law of the “survival of the fittest” follows accordingly.
(2) Henry C. Carey, The Harmony of Interests: Agricultural, Manufacturing and Commercial, New York, 1856
(3) Matthew Ehret-Kump, The Imperial Myth of Canadian Nationalism, Canadian Patriot #8, 2013