As we write, the stock market is plunging again as a result of the nervousness of the permanent debt crisis afflicting the world, but popping up most dramatically right now in Greece. We can't say we weren't warned. For thousands of years we've been told that credit extended for productive purposes is good credit, but credit extended to finance non-productive spending is bad. Keynes managed to convince us otherwise, and now we're paying the price. Here's what we're doing to try and fix it:
• We were contacted earlier this week by someone with a very interesting prospect in the Midwest that would, if otherwise feasible, allow for the implementation of a Just Third Way approach to solving the deficit problem afflicting so many cities, states, countries — in short, everybody. It's only a prospect at this point, so we won't say any more about it, other than we'll keep you updated if anything concrete develops.
• Yes, for years there has been massive confusion over the role of the Federal Reserve and even what it is or does. Still, in today's Wall Street Journal there was even more confusion expressed than usual. There were so many articles getting things wrong that we simply had to write a letter. The problem was that there were so many dumb things said that we couldn't narrow down the field to one. We had to go to three . . . and even that didn't use up all the material. This shows the importance of internalizing the principles of the Just Third Way to the point that you can write a letter or three into the Wall Street Journal. We'll try to run the letters next week on this blog if the Journal doesn't publish them . . . which means, look for them on the blog.
• Norman Kurland is planning on attending this year's Caux Round Table in Washington, DC. There seems to be an openness there to many elements of the Just Third Way, and the event offers some very good opportunities to present these ideas to a global audience.
• The National Lawyers Association conference scheduled to begin today in Denver was cancelled due to insufficient numbers of people who signed up. We have a sneaking hunch that the economy might have had something to do with that — evidently lawyers who are concerned with ethics aren't as flush with cash as they might be, and the others couldn't make it because of their tight ambulance-chasing schedule. In any event, we've made some suggestions to the Executive Director of the NLA, e.g., have it in DC next year (they already thought of it), pull in non-lawyers (ditto), and so on, so forth. What we'd really like to see is a focus on a Pro-Life economic agenda, culminating in attending the annual Rally at the Fed along with Pro-Choice groups and anyone else who supports a sound program of economic reform.
• In a bizarre paradox, a CESJ member was banned from posting on a Tea Party website. The stated reason was that the CESJ member was "a radical socialist." A couple of things wrong with the ban. One, not allowing discussion on controversial subjects is a sure way to turn into a navel gazer. Two, since when did advocating widespread direct ownership of private property make someone a "radical socialist"? It may be "radical," but — unless our good buddy Karl Marx was wrong in his summation of socialism as the abolition of private property (it's in The Communist Manifesto) — but it ain't socialist.
• Wendy Wiesner in Denver has started "Ethical Capital." We can't find a website up on it yet, so we don't have any details. More later.
• Jimmie Griffin has started a CESJ chapter in Waterbury, Connecticut. Read all about it in today's Waterbury Republican-American.
• By merest coincidence, an 80-year old CESJ member in Nevada sent us a nice, handwritten letter (her computer is down) giving us (yet another) writing assignment, suggesting a book on how the debt crisis is destroying not only the U.S., but the world. Within minutes of receiving the letter, we received a copy of Harold Moulton's 1943 93-page opus, The New Philosophy of Public Debt, Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. This was good in many respects, not the least of which is that now we don't have to write the book. Moulton already did it for us. Copies of Moulton's book aren't too hard to obtain, although when we read it we immediately understood why it hasn't been reprinted!
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 47 different countries and 40 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia, and India. People in Venezuela, Greece, Honduras, Canada and India spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular posting this past week was once again "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," followed by "Aristotle on Private Property," the first two postings on "Economic Recovery," and "A CESJ Orientation in Brief."
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.