Friday, November 21, 2008

News from the Network, Vol. 1, No. 13

Most of this week has been spent in meetings preparing for various events, and in responding to questions from various commentators. Unfortunately, some of the commentators become increasingly vague when asked for specifics of their critiques, and when pressed for details, unfortunately take refuge in ad hominem attack without presenting an argument based on reason. Not unnaturally, responding to this sort of thing takes a great deal of time that could be more productively spent doing something else . . . like writing blog entries. Nor can we leave the comments unanswered, for that would give the impression either that we did not have an answer, or that the critics were correct in their statements, some of which truly approach the surreal. Given that, then, here is this week's "hard" news.
• Norman Kurland will be speaking at the Washington, DC, "End the Fed" rally tomorrow (Saturday, November 22, 2008) outside the Federal Reserve Board of Governors building in downtown DC at 1 p.m. Norm will make the case that neither CESJ nor the Just Third Way advocate abolishing the Federal Reserve System, but rather reforming it to conform to its original purpose, with the addition of Kelsonian binary economics. Recommended reforms would terminate the State's power to monetize deficits and restrict all new money creation to productive projects, with self-liquidating zero-interest credit extended in ways that makes new owners out of people who currently own little or nothing in the way of capital. More information about the "End the Fed" rally can be found on their web site, Similar events will be held throughout the country on the same day. Reverend Walter Fauntroy is making space available at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, DC for the organizing and planning group of the DC "End the Fed" event tonight (Friday, November 21, 2008) after 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to both events.

• CESJ met with Mr. Chris O'Connor of the Colonel John Fitzgerald Division, Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) of Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, November 20, 2008, to present CESJ's Just Third Way as something that might assist the AOH in carrying out part of its social service mission. Mr. O'Connor is currently reading Michael D. Greaney's book, In Defense of Human Dignity (available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble), and was provided with copies of Curing World Poverty (1994), Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen (2004) and Father William Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice (1997).

• CESJ held its monthly Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, November 19, 2008. Norman G. Kurland, Dawn K. Brohawn, Steve Neskis (via telephone), Robert Crane (via telephone), Rowland Brohawn, Michael D. Greaney, and Harriet Epstein attended. Lunch was served after the meeting. Harriet distributed small gifts obtained during her recent trip to Israel, which were greatly appreciated.

• Progress is being made on editing and formatting Harold G. Moulton's 1935 classic, The Formation of Capital. This is an important book, especially in light of the recent spate of bailouts and gross misuse of the commercial and central banking system that led to the present financial crisis. Dr. Moulton may have been the only economist of note in the 20th century who had a deep understanding of money, credit, and banking. Unfortunately, the prescription of Lord Keynes, not Dr. Moulton, was the blueprint for the New Deal and virtually all subsequent fiscal and monetary policy.

• William Cobbett's "long lost" book, The Emigrant's Guide (1829) is almost ready to go to the printer. The book consists of a series of letters written by people classed as "paupers" in England, but who, on reaching America, became owners of productive assets and contributing members of society. As one emigrant enthusiastically wrote to his parents, "America forever for me!" The Just Third Way seeks to make access to the means of acquiring and possessing productive capital as democratic as it was in early 19th century America by promoting Capital Homesteading and reform of the central and commercial banking system. This edition is particularly noteworthy for the addition of an in-depth foreword, extensive notes, an index, and a bibliography.

• Another "long lost" work, Father William Ferree's "Discourse on Social Charity" has been added to the current edition of Introduction to Social Justice (1948) for publication in a combined format. "Social Charity" was taken from what may be the only existing record of a talk Father Ferree gave in 1966 at a Marianist high school in New Jersey. The book is currently in editing and should be ready to go to the printer sometime in the current fiscal year.

• A package has been sent to Mr. A. J. Matt, Jr., editor and publisher of The Wanderer, a national weekly Catholic newspaper, in response to comments by one Dr. Rupert J. Ederer, former professor of economics at Buffalo State University, New York, that were published in the Wanderer's "From the Mail" column on October 23, 2008. Dr. Ederer's comments, while denigrating CESJ's Just Third Way, Chesterton's distributism, and the proposals of Henry George, were vague. Fortunately, CESJ is in possession of some of Dr. Ederer's writings in which he declares that he believes that private property, contrary to natural law theory and explicit teachings of Aristotle, Aquinas, Maimonides, Ibn Khaldûn, and many popes, is "prudential matter," meaning that it is not a natural right. Dr. Ederer hinted that CESJ was somehow subverting Catholic social teaching, which is based on the natural law, as is the social teaching of all religions and philosophies in one form or another. Assuming that Dr. Ederer's innovative views on private property are at the heart of his one-sided dispute with CESJ, a careful explanation of CESJ's position on private property was prepared and sent to Mr. Matt, along with copies of CESJ publications, as well as letters from Vatican officials attesting to CESJ's interfaith efforts to advance Catholic social teaching. Selections from the letter to Mr. Matt will be published on this blog over the coming weeks.

• Mr. Rodney Shakespeare, co-author with Robert H. A. Ashford of Binary Economics: The New Paradigm (1999) has been engaging in an e-mail exchange with various members of CESJ over the issue of whether allowing a government to create money for public works is a basic principle of binary economics, or a barely-tolerable expedient that can only be justified in an emergency. Mr. Shakespeare takes the former position, and, although he is a barrister, has failed to make a case.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 33 different countries and 43 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months.
As usual, there are a great many other news items that we haven't heard about because you haven't submitted them. If you're tired of reading about what we're doing, let's hear from you. If you have a SHORT item about how you are advancing the Just Third Way, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org.

Donations to CESJ support our Capital Homesteading projects and Just Third Way initiatives, and are tax deductible in the United States under IRC § 501(c)(3).

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