Monday, August 1, 2011

"America's Capacity to Produce"

In 1934 as volume one of a four-volume study on alternatives to the Keynesian New Deal, the Brookings Institution under the leadership of Dr. Harold G. Moulton published America's Capacity to Produce. This was followed by America's Capacity to Consume (1934), The Formation of Capital (1935) and Income and Economic Progress (1935).

It's not as though you haven't seen these mentioned previously on this blog. What brought it up today was that yesterday we went to church, and the sermon was on the multitude that just loafs and fishes. Or maybe it was the multitude fed on loaves and fishes. The point being made, of course, was that the earth has the capacity to produce in abundance for all. The problem is how to get what is produced to those who will consume — the purpose of production, after all, being consumption.

Of course, CESJ is not affiliated with any religion, but has members from many faiths and philosophies consistent with the Aristotelian/Thomist understanding of the natural law. Our "Just Third Way" beyond both capitalism and socialism (the former based on concentrated private ownership of capital and greed, the latter on concentrated public ownership of capital and envy) embodies the social doctrine of Pope Pius XI as analyzed by CESJ co-founder the late Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., eulogized on his death in 1985 as "America's greatest social philosopher," and the "binary economics" of Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler.

As you can see from the "CESJ Accomplishments Brochure," CESJ's Just Third Way as applied in Capital Homesteading has received the encouragement of His Holiness Blessed John Paul II, and the endorsement of President Ronald Reagan. The goal, as expressed by Pope Leo XIII, is "to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners" (Rerum Novarum, § 46) to bring about "the redemption of the non-owning workers" (Quadragesimo Anno, § 59).

Expanding on the stated goal of the popes, we would extend the opportunity for capital ownership from workers to every child, woman, and man, thereby empowering every individual, family and community to resist the Culture of Death in the most effective manner possible. As Daniel Webster stated in the Massachusetts Convention in 1820, "Power naturally and necessarily follows property." Benjamin Watkins Leigh of Virginia concurred: "Power and Property can be separated for a time by force or fraud — but divorced, never. For as soon as the pang of separation is felt . . . Property will purchase Power, or Power will take over Property."

The Just Third Way thus fits in perfectly with the remarks in the sermon about the capacity of the earth to provide in abundance for all. As capital replaces labor as the predominant factor of production, however, the question becomes how the non-owning worker — or anyone else — can become an owner of capital without first having to reduce consumption and save in order to invest.

The answer is that using traditional methods of finance it is possible to turn the "present value" of future marketable goods and services to be produced by new capital into "money" and repay the money when the capital becomes profitable. In this way people without savings can become owners of the capital that is taking away their jobs and still have adequate and secure capital incomes. This would have the potential to supplement and, in some cases, replace wage income and, especially, State welfare that imposes a condition of dependency on the recipients — "a yoke little better than that of slavery itself" (Rerum Novarum, § 3).

The application of this to the Pro-Life movement is obvious. From dependents on wealthy individuals or the State, characterized as financial drags on the economy, ordinary people become full participants in and contributors to the common good by sharing in the production of marketable goods and services as owners of both labor and capital. Any economic rationalization for abortion is eliminated.

Personally, we would like to see an "International Conference on a Pro-Life Economic Agenda" in or around Washington early next year, possibly near April 15, everybody's favorite day, and tie it somehow to the annual "Rally at the Fed" calling for reform of our tax and monetary systems. The 2011 Rally featured Mrs. Eileen Mpofu of the U.K., who is an official with the Labour Party, and who is currently working on getting Norman Kurland to the president of South Africa and the head of the central bank . . . at the same time that her husband, Pollant "P. J." Mpofu, who is an advisor to the head of the Labour Party, is working to get Norm to leaders in the U.K.

CESJ lacks the logistical support and other resources for such an initiative, as do many other institution acting alone. If Pro-Life and Pro-Choice leaders in and around Washington become interested, however, there are institutions in this area, secular, religious, educational, and so on, that with the right incentive, might be persuaded to run such a "multi-organizational" conference with the co-sponsorship of CESJ, coming together in the Coalition for Capital Homesteading. Conceivably, it could be the first Pro-Life conference in history to attract "Pro-Choice" adherents in support of its goals — and thus be the first one to make significant advances that benefit everyone, not just an economic, educational, or political elite.

#30#

2 comments:

nail-in-the-wall said...

46. If a workman's wages be sufficient to enable him comfortably to support himself, his wife, and his children, he will find it easy, if he be a sensible man, to practice thrift, and he will not fail, by cutting down expenses, to put by some little savings and thus secure a modest source of income. Nature itself would urge him to this. We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.

Leo XIII -‘RERUM NOVARUM’- Capital and Labor -1891- (3 x 40 = 120 years ago)

Michael D. Greaney said...

Wish I'd said that. But then, if I did, nobody would have listened. Come to think of it, nobody's paid attention to the pope, either.