Friday, July 23, 2010

News from the Network, Vol. 3, No. 29

This week seems to have been a big one for the push to establish a regular Just Third Way publications program. As you will see below, two long-term projects have finally come to fruition, and both of them have great potential to help spread the word, possibly even open doors in some critical areas.

That, however, is just on the surface. We have approximately five new works in the pipeline, along with a major revision of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen. On top of that are the reprints of economic justice classics, such as Henry Thornton's opus, An Enquiry in the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain (1802), which last appeared in 1939 with an introduction by Friedrich von Hayek who, astonishingly, completely missed the point that Thornton was making. We're also looking at John Fullarton's The Regulation of the Currencies of the Bank of England (1845), a devastating critique of the British Bank Charter Act of 1844 that locked the tenets of the Currency School into modern economics as unquestioned dogma.

In the world of support for expanded capital ownership, we have quite a list, from William Thornton's (no relation to Henry) A Plea for Peasant Proprietors (1848), first presented as a program of development following the devastation of An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger in Ireland, Henry Fawcett's Pauperism, Its Causes and Remedies (1871), even Charles Morrison's An Essay on the Relations of Labour and Capital (1854).

We have also come across some interesting "new" writers, such as Henry Dunning Macleod (1821-1902), a lawyer-economist who came up with such radical ideas as money must be backed by the present value of marketable goods and services. Unfortunately, he was not as good a writer as he was a thinker, which, when combined with the academic rejection of his ideas, have virtually assured his obscurity.

Finally, we don't know what it looks like, but for $6.00, what the heck, we discovered that Harold Moulton wrote what is described as a "dialogue in play form" in 1950, with the snappy title, The Dynamic Economy. Maybe we could put on the world premier of a long-lost 60-year old play.

In other endeavors, literary and otherwise, to advance the Just Third Way,
• We have two bits of Big News this week — we received proof copies of both Supporting Life and The Formation of Capital. Each in its own way is important. The former lays out the case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda that (if you're at all familiar with the Just Third Way) just happens to bear a strong resemblance to Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen. Come to think of it, that should be no surprise, since Supporting Life presents Capital Homesteading as a possible Pro-Life Economic Agenda that has the potential to satisfy both sides in the debate, at least economically and politically. Both books may be available next week on Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the earliest, but don't hold your breath. We will keep close tabs on both, and let you know the moment we know. In the meantime, we are accepting orders for bulk quantities of both books immediately. For bulk orders and for CESJ members, Supporting Life is available for $8.00 per copy (the cover price is $10.00), plus shipping — e-mail for shipping, and be sure to include the number of copies and a street address, no P. O. Boxes.

• It's hard to decide which book is the more important. Part of that is that each is in a somewhat different area, plus Moulton's book, The Formation of Capital, is a book on financial and economic theory and application, while Supporting Life is a political strategy directed at making the case to implement proposals based in part on the theory and applications described in The Formation of Capital. Since this particular item is about The Formation of Capital, we will give first place to Moulton. Just for now. Seriously, The Formation of Capital addresses what may be the most significant and influential — and thus damaging — assumption underlying virtually all of modern economics: that financing of new capital formation is impossible without existing accumulations of savings, that is, unless people cut consumption, save, then invest. Obviously, this restricts ownership of the means of production to those who can afford to cut consumption and save: those who are already rich! Moulton also points out another problem, one that he terms "the economic dilemma": that if you rely on cutting consumption to generate savings to provide the financing for new capital, the new capital will lack the effective demand to sustain it. Keynes "solved" this problem by redistributing through the tax system and by inflating the currency. Kelso and Adler, following Moulton, solved the problem for real by realizing that commercial banking was invented to create money by extending credit that could be repaid out of future savings, not past savings. In this way, effective demand could be sustained and people politically empowered by widespread direct ownership of the means of production financed by extending this "pure credit" unshackled from what Kelso and Adler described as "the slavery of savings" in the subtitle of their second collaboration, The New Capitalists (1961). The bulk and member price of The Formation of Capital is $16.00 ($20.00 cover price), plus shipping — again, e-mail for shipping, and be sure to include the number of copies and a street address, no P. O. Boxes.

• New connections are coming fast and thick, mostly through the tireless efforts of Lydia Fisher, author of Cinderella of Wall Street, not published by CESJ, but buy great quantities anyway ("makes a great Christmas gift," even if it doesn't scramble eggs or cut through tin cans). There is a great deal of synergy building with people like Dr. Max Weismann of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas, a former executive director of the "Susan B. Anthony List," a professor from Africa (below), a physician in St. Louis who turns out to have know the late Father John H. Miller, C.S.C., S.T.D., a long-time member of CESJ's Board of Directors, and on and on.

• Thanks to long-time CESJ Counselor Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood, the CESJ core group had a meeting with Dr. Marcel Kitissou, who is currently teaching in Utica, New York. Dr. Kitissou, who is from Togo in west Africa, expressed great enthusiasm for the possibilities for the Just Third Way in Africa.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 41 different countries and 44 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, Brazil, the UK, and Australia. People in France, Argentina, Venezuela, the United States, and Spain spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular posting is the posting on General McChrystal, followed by the piece on "The Rich? Who Needs 'Em?" "the Right Way to Raise Wages," the posting on von Hayek's "comeback,", and Why there won't be a "double dip" recession (answer: 1. It's a depression, and 2. You have to come out of one dip before you can have another).
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.

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