Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Slavery of Past Savings, Part III: Now Hear This!

One of the most common complaints about implementing the Just Third Way is that "they" won't let "us." "They" usually refers to those who own or control existing accumulations of savings (those whom Pope Pius XI called a "despotic economic dictatorship," Quadragesimo Anno, § 105), while "us" is, well, the rest of us.

There's just one, tiny problem with the "us v. them" mentality (aside from the fact that you spend so much time hating that you never seem to get anything done). It's that you don't need past savings or current reductions in consumption to finance new capital formation.

How many times do we have to say this? Existing accumulations of savings are NOT required to be able to finance new capital formation.

No, really, they aren't. We mean that. There's a reason we keep putting up links to Harold Moulton's The Formation of Capital and Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler's The New Capitalists. The "secret" is in the subtitle of the latter: "A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of [Past] Savings."

Does that mean our time would be better spent in studying how money is really created (i.e., discounting bills of exchange, albeit in many, many, many different forms, including coins of gold and silver), than in trying to find and punish those whom we have decided are guilty, guilty, guilty?

Absolutely. Not only is it consistent with basic precepts of justice and charity as applied in human society — forget about any authority you think you have to enforce God's law just because you think the Poor Old Duffer needs your help to run the universe — but it makes much more sense to work to fix things so that the system runs the right way, rather than let the system continue to go to hell as long as you find out who (you think) is responsible.

What? You mean messes don't correct themselves just because you found the allegedly guilty party and punished him or her? Horrors! "Oohh, I've wasted my life," as Comic Book Guy said in The Simpsons Episode 9.4, "Treehouse of Horror VIII" when he saw a missile with a nuclear warhead coming down the street towards him.

There's hope, however. First, do a little reading — although before you delve into Just Third Way materials, take a refresher course in Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book. It wasn't a best seller just because it looks good on a coffee table.

After that, you might try (in this order) The Capitalist Manifesto, The New Capitalists, and Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen . . . all of which are available free in .pdf, especially if you can't find one of the semi-rare print copies of The Capitalist Manifesto and The New Capitalists, and are too cheap to spring for the $18 plus shipping for Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen.

One more thing: for those of you into superstition and luck, this is a particularly auspicious time to (re) read The New Capitalists — 2011 marks the fiftieth anniversary of its publication. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, maybe ask the Kelso Institute what plans they have for a celebration.

#30#

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