• The manuscript of Dr. Alamgir's book, Prison Notes from Bangladesh, has been received, and is being reviewed for possible publication either by CESJ's imprint, "Economic Justice Media," or by Universal Values Media, Inc., a for-profit publisher specializing in fiction with a natural law orientation. We expect to have a response ready for Dr. Alamgir within a few weeks. So far the book looks very good. It is a graphic reminder that, despite all the headlines being seized by "fundamentalists" who have managed to stray far from the fundamentals of any religion, there are devout and sincere people out there willing to work with others of all faiths to advance the common good of all, rather than attack and destroy those with whom they disagree.Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.
• Over the last five years CESJ's publishing program has been steadily expanding, with our editors targeting high quality books that explain and reinforce the Just Third Way, particularly difficult concepts like private property, social justice, and (most mystifying to many people) money, credit, and banking. We now have more books "in the pipeline" than we have in print, but hope to speed up the process, especially in light of the obvious and critical need for materials that prove something besides stale and unworkable Keynesian solutions is possible.
• Last month The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly newspaper, published an article in support of "social credit," a proposal from the 1920s by Major C. H. Douglas to redistribute surplus production in the form of fixed prices and a national dividend. The article began by citing Michael D. Greaney's book, In Defense of Human Dignity, in which the article on social credit concluded that social credit, because it seems to undermine or abolish the natural right to private property, does not appear to be consistent with Catholic social teaching. Unfortunately, the article in the Wanderer gave no reasons or arguments for or against the claim that social credit is not consistent with Catholic social teaching, merely stringing together a long series of quotes from individuals in support of social credit. We sent a letter to the Wanderer, which included a list of eight critical questions for the social credit movement, pointing out the flaws in criticizing without offering a critique, but have not yet received a reply. We followed up early this week with a proposal to rewrite the letter as an article presenting the arguments against social credit as a valid expression of the natural law (and thus Catholic social teaching), so that people can judge for themselves on the merits of the case.
• We received an inquiry from a parochial school in St. Louis asking about using CESJ's and UVM's ("Universal Values Media," www.benson-unabridged.com) books as texts. We let them know that educators and schools are entitled to the 20% wholesale discount on any books from either CESJ or UVM, and what the shipping costs would be within the 48 contiguous states. We also let them know that, if used as fundraising items, the discount is increased to 25%, giving the parish, school, or other organization, for example, $5 for every $20 book sold. A thousand books sold for the benefit of a school, parish, or other organization would thus generate approximately $5,000.00, a significant amount in these times, when the regular flow of donations and contributions has diminished considerably for many organizations. Books also confer significant benefits of their own, that items such as chocolate, cookie dough and wrapping paper — innocuous enough in themselves — do not. With Lent coming on, Christian groups might be particularly interested in natural law approaches to solving social problems found in CESJ's books, while the values-oriented approach in UVM's fiction would provide a more beneficial form of entertainment than can usually be found in the major media. If you or your organization would like to find out more about using CESJ's and UVM's publications as texts or fundraising items, send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• As noted in a previous blog posting, we received a very encouraging thank-you note from the Hon. Enda Kenny, leader of the Fine Gael party in Ireland for sending him and other party leaders copies of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen. Fine Gael is Ireland's second largest political party, and its platform appears to have many similarities with the Just Third Way. We look forward to hearing more from Mr. Kenny and Fine Gael, as well as the other parties in Ireland, all of which are gravely concerned with the present crisis, for which Capital Homesteading might offer a viable solution.
• On Thursday, Norman Kurland received a telephone call from a journalist in Warsaw, Poland, who wants to write one of his opinion columns on the Just Third Way for Warsaw's largest daily newspaper. The journalist, Mr. Pompowski, was referred to Norman Kurland by Dr. Norman Bailey, former chief economic advisor to the National Security Council under President Reagan. As Dr. Kurland noted in his e-mail follow-up to Mr. Pompowski, "I look forward to seeing your opinion column. I hope that it will inspire the Polish people and Polish political, moral, and academic leaders to study and implement a Just Market Economy based on the principles of Personalism of the late Great Pope John Paul II and the binary economics of my mentor Louis O. Kelso. As I mentioned, . . . writings from the home page of our Center for Economic and Social Justice website at http://www.cesj.org may be useful to provide you and your readers with the policy and legislative changes that are needed to lift the artificial barriers to universal access by every citizen to the ownership of productive capital assets when they are newly-created or existing assets change hands."
• We received an interesting telephone call this week from Mr. Tom Laney, a member of the United Auto Workers ("UAW") who is involved with an effort to have the workers purchase Chrysler. Mr. Laney earlier sent an e-mail to Norman Kurland and purchased a copy of In Defense of Human Dignity. Mr. Laney then contacted Michele Mauder and Santino Scalici and mentioned CESJ. Norman Kurland sent Mr. Laney a note with links to material on the CESJ web site he could look at. Norman Kurland later received a note from Ms. Mauder, who said she was intrigued with CESJ's approach, which embodies Justice-Based Management as an integral part of any worker-owned company. Ms. Mauder is organizing the Chrysler Employee Buyout Committee. They have a web site, www.employeeownedauto.org, which may be worth a visit to see an alternative to what is otherwise being proposed to "save" the American auto industry. It is noteworthy that the late labor statesman Walter Reuther, a champion of ownership rights for workers, was head of the UAW. The union he headed could find no better way to honor his memory.
• Mr. Christian Miller, an engineer on the west coast whose son is in the military in Iraq, has been proposing an Iraq oil share proposal similar to that of the Just Third Way. He has a web site, www.iraqoilshares.org. Mr. Miller called and looked at our web site, we looked at his, and Norman Kurland has had a number of exchanges with Mr. Miller.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 43 different countries and 48 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Over the same period we have experienced over 150% increase in total readership, according to the statistics counter of "Google Analytics." Most visitors are from the United States, with Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Brazil rounding out our "top five" countries where we're read the most. Due possibly to Norman Kurland's interview with a Polish journalist, there was a sudden leap in inquiries from Warsaw, all on the same day. The top spots for the average time spent on the blog, however, go to Venezuela, Croatia, Poland, Mexico, and Jordan, in that order. Our most popular posting continues to be the first in the ongoing series explaining why Mr. Obama's stimulus package is a disaster. Of the remaining "top ten," 1 is a "News from the Network" posting, 8 examine Keynesian economics, 2 are from the stimulus series, and 1 addresses the financial crisis in Ireland (obviously there is some overlap, e.g., the financial crisis in Ireland traces the problem to its Keynesian roots). The bottom line, of course, is that the slavish adherence to Keynes is wrecking the world's economies, and the sooner people begin to look at the situation in terms of Kelso and Adler's binary economics, the better off everyone will be.
Friday, February 20, 2009
News from the Network, Vol. 2, No. 8
While most of the world is properly worried about the economic crisis, and the financial markets continue to drop on the expectation that the stimulus — even if it works — will take a long time to kick in, some people are beginning to realize the potential of the Just Third Way for a just and workable solution to the problem. Several encouraging events have taken place this week, giving definite signs that progress, despite the best efforts of academia and the media, is being made.