Monday, May 25, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
The Big News this week seems to be the debates about more “stimulus” in the trillions of dollars. We keep wondering why when we first proposed allocating $2 trillion worth of capital credit to finance new capital formation to be broadly owned and in a non-inflationary way, it was called insanely risky. Not like issuing $6 trillion or more of new money backed only by future tax collections that might never materialize. And then there’s this:
Thursday, May 21, 2020
To hear some people tell it, Monsignor John Augustine Ryan (1869-1945) was not only the greatest social justice advocate who ever lived, he saved the world by inspiring and instituting the New Deal in the 1930s. Neither claim bears up on even the most cursory examination. As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, public, academic, and political opinion had shifted away from an ownership system, and was firmly entrenched in the wage system.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that where Adam Smith said a thing is worth what the customer is willing to pay for it, David Ricardo said a thing is worth the labor it cost to produce it combined with its scarcity. We then asked the forbidden question, What if it takes immense labor to produce a unique item that nobody wants? That’s where the “labor theory of value” gets more than a little dicey.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good wife, must be in want of a job.” That, of course, is the famous opening line from fictional author Gianny Austin’s apocryphal novel, Property and Prejudice, a comedy of manners in which ownership of the means of production (except for an economic or political élite) is depicted as being not quite polite, and the characters spend all their time cleverly positioning themselves for higher wages and fixed benefits, and then wondering why prices are so high and why other people keep telling them what to do.
Monday, May 18, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
The latest news is that “the government” (meaning desperate politicians) are considering pumping another $3 trillion so people have something to spend. Of course, we’re still baffled why an additional $3 trillion backed by government debt that is rising skyward is more secure than the $2 trillion backed by private sector hard assets we propose for Capital Homesteading, but then, we’re not politicians or academics. All we can do is talk what seems to be common sense:
Thursday, May 14, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that the phrases “the dignity of labor” and “the dignity of work” might be a little ambiguous, even misleading on occasion. For example, what do we mean by “labor”? Do we mean work . . . or do we mean the worker? The dignity of work is substantially different from the dignity of the worker, so it makes a great deal of difference what we mean by “labor.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Earlier this week, Catholic World Report, a webzine, ran an article, “Nonessential Workers” and the Essential Dignity of Work.” Reading through the article, there seemed to be some confusion about different types of work, and even work as work, as well as the concept of dignity. It seemed to paint the situation as a single issue in black and white, while in reality it is a number of issues that get into some very gray areas.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we posted another section of our recent CESJ position paper, “Universalizing Capital Ownership.” Today we get to the final section of the paper, dealing with the short-term emergency measures we believe to be necessary, and a brief outline of the long-term reforms to the system that need to be carried out. Of course, if you want to read the entire paper without having to go back and read the individual postings, just click on the link above to the full paper. It’s pretty short.
Monday, May 11, 2020
In today's video cast, the "Great Books" philosopher Mortimer Adler discusses Aristotle's "theory of happiness" found in Book I of the Nichomachean Ethics. And what has this got to do with the Just Third Way? You'll see. . . .
Friday, May 8, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we started posting a recent CESJ position paper, “Universalizing Capital Ownership,” as a series. Of course, if you want to read the paper in one go, just click on the link; it’s not very long, although putting up the whole thing as a blog posting is a bit much at one time.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Okay, when we last addressed this subject in a posting, we were in the middle of helping prepare a “subject paper” (or whatever you want to call it) on the Covid-19 virus and its economic impact. The preparation of the paper proved to be a bit more involved than originally anticipated (although well worth the effort), so instead of closing this particular series of blog postings with a summary of the paper, we’ll end by serializing the paper itself. Of course, if you want to read the whole paper at one go (it’s actually pretty short), you can do so by clicking on this link.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Today we have a short (ten minute) video on "natural law theory" which isn't bad, but it's not the best. For one thing, it's poorly edited, with all pauses between thoughts edited out. It tends to come off like a G&S patter trio after a bit. There are also a number of factual errors, such as man being a social animal . . . no, political animal; we have determinable, not determinate natures. On the whole, however, it's not bad, if you ignore the cutesy and clever language and edit out the oversimplifications and errors:
Friday, May 1, 2020
Purely by coincidence, most of the news items this week relate to the benefits of worker ownership. We say “by coincidence,” for today is the “feast” (holiday in honor of) “Saint Joseph the Worker,” which was instituted in 1955 to counter the communists Numero Uno holiday in the workers’ calendar. What the communists and everyone else seemed to forget, however, is that Saint Joseph was not just a worker, he was a worker-owner. He may have been poor, but poor people can own capital, too:
Thursday, April 30, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we started looking at the “Invisible Hand” of the much-excoriated Adam Smith, and realized that at least some of what Smith was accused of really had no basis in fact. Interestingly, a fact we didn’t bring up is that, while Smith is generally portrayed as some kind of “High Priest of Capitalism” on the strength of a rather profound misunderstanding of his Invisible Hand argument, it turns out that he was actually far more labor-oriented than people suppose.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we examined the case for Universal Basic Ownership as opposed to a Universal Basic Income. We decided that Universal Basic Ownership was better on many grounds, one of the chief being the logical question as to where the money is supposed to come from.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the tendency on the part of many people these days is to assume that others are guilty until proven innocent, and even twist — or invent — what somebody said in order to be able to convict them of whatever we want them to be guilty. Especially if we are guilty of the very thing of which we are accusing others (d’oh).
Monday, April 27, 2020
Today your host Dave Hamill has a chat with Lisa Saleh, a Hubert Humphrey Fellow affiliating with CESJ. Lisa, who is from Yemen, has worked with Doctors Without Borders and other organizations, is interested in applying Just Third Way principles throughout the world, with an emphasis on public health policy.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Yup. Unemployment claims just increased by another 4.4 million . . . and the stock market is up! Exactly who (or what) is supposed to be producing the goods and services that make a profit that is allegedly reflected in the value of a company’s shares we don’t know, but, hey, who needs to work when your shares increase in value? Unless, of course, you happen to undergo a reality check:
Thursday, April 23, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there is a slight problem when advancing technology displaces human labor from the production process. It seems that when a machine replaces a human worker, the human worker loses his or her job and thus has no source of earned income until and unless he or she finds another job.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
One of the more acceptable ways to make a name for yourself in the more liberal areas of Academia is to go after the moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790). All you have to do is say the “right” things about Smith, thereby demonstrating you have the “right” attitude about capitalism and its purported high priest, and you will be accepted, or at least acceptable — assuming you don’t transgress any other unwritten law of the Groves of Academe.