A Blog of the Global Justice Movement

Friday, September 9, 2011

News from the Network, Vol. 4, No. 36

We have had some interesting doings this week, although not as many as we anticipated. Some people who promised to get back to us didn't manage to do so. We think they forgot about Labor Day and the short work week, and some of them are in Northern Virginia, which has a few problems with flooding. They're excused.

That does not, however, lessen the need to continue door-opening efforts. It actually makes it more critical to try and introduce these ideas to the Powers-that-Be both in the United States and around the globe. After President Obama's speech about job creation that left funding specifics and what, exactly, the jobs are supposed to be created to do (to say nothing of who will own the nebulous infrastructure) somewhat up in the air, it is becoming increasingly evident that world leaders are in rather dire need of the Just Third Way — and, just as obviously, know nothing about its potential, especially as applied in Capital Homesteading, to bring about desired results without redistribution, increased taxes, or inflation and currency manipulation.

That is, without increasing taxes to finance economic growth. Governments have been spending so much that it's likely taxes will have to go up to repay the mountain of debt that's built up, but that's a different issue — and, with Capital Homesteading, the tax base would be there to fund the paying down of debt over time. Most people will likely end up paying less in taxes than now, once we get away from the perception that the rich need tax breaks in order to encourage them to reinvest their excess income. No, you just need to operate the financial system properly in accordance with classic banking theory, and spread out ownership of all new financially feasible capital so that people have more money to spend. And tax.

Still, we're getting the word out in bits and pieces, as you can see here:

• On Tuesday of this week, host Rick Tormala of Tormala on Tuesday, a radio show out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, interviewed Norman Kurland. Norm's talk, which segued into Chesterton and Belloc's distributism from Norm's early days in the civil rights movement, concentrated mostly on the general compatibility of "classic distributism" and the Just Third Way. Tormala on Tuesday can be found 10 am to noon every Tuesday (obviously) on WPRR 1680 AM, 95.3 FM, or via the internet by following this link. Briefly, classic distributism and the Just Third Way agree on a limited economic role for the State, restoration of the rights of private property, and widespread direct ownership of the means of production. Where classic distributism and the Just Third Way disagree is in the role of the free market and its role as the best means for determining just wages, just prices, and just profits. Because classic distributism relies on existing accumulations of savings as the sole source of financing for new capital formation, there is a heavy reliance on the State to enforce external controls as a means of achieving equality of opportunity (vide Hilaire Belloc's An Essay on the Restoration of Property, 1936). This contradicts the desire for a limited role for the State, something that could be avoided by reforming the financial system to include democratic access to future savings via pure credit mechanisms, and relying on systemic, internal controls instead of external imposition of results. Norm reports that he spoke with Rick Tormala since the interview, and Rick wants Norm back on the show in the near future for a full hour.

• Michael D. Greaney was quoted at length last week in a column in the Japanese edition of the Wall Street Journal. The article, which can be accessed here, is by Misako Hida, a free-lance writer in New York. Ms. Hida is an award-winning journalist who has written widely on economics and finance for such publications as The Weekly Economist, Newsweek (Japanese edition), a bunch of others for which we don't trust the translation program to get the titles right, and has translated books on economics into Japanese (available on Amazon Japan), including Employment Crisis (2009), a compendium by the Diamond Weekly, David K. Shipler's The Working Poor: Invisible in America (2005), and Jill Fraser's White Collar Sweatshop: The Deterioration of Work and Its Reward in Corporate America (2002). Ms. Hida's website is here. Ms. Hida previously interviewed Michael for an article earlier this year in The Weekly Economist, the largest financial journal in Japan.

• We received an interesting set of questions from a businessman in Japan, although not, unfortunately, as a result of Ms. Hida's articles, as it was a couple of weeks ago. He was wondering about the applicability of the Just Third Way, especially Capital Homesteading, to Japan and other countries in Asia. We were able to assure him that, whatever the cultural differences and difficulties with terminology, the Just Third Way is based on universal principles and can thus be applied anywhere, even if some specifics might need a little tweaking or adjustment to fit a particular situation. In fact, the environment in Japan might be more conducive to Capital Homesteading than that of the United States at present. Japan has a higher degree of solidarity, and industrial relations are not locked into the conflict model. Management and workers are not always at loggerheads, each trying to gain at the expense of the other. We can't but recall that "the Deming Way" was invented by an American, W. Edwards Deming, but applied in Japan with rather spectacular results. Maybe it's time for Japan to lead the way again, and show America how it's done. Faced with a proposed half-trillion dollar job creation program (as Japan still faces a hefty price tag to rebuild after the earthquake and tsunami), something that shows how to finance economic growth (or rebuilding) without putting it on the back of the taxpayer should resonate very well in both countries . . . especially with the taxpayers.

• As regular readers of this blog and friends and members of CESJ are aware, while CESJ has a publishing program, publishing is not our primary emphasis. That's why it takes a while to get publications out — our time and resources tend to get diverted into trivial matters such as saving the world. Still, we have made some slight advances, and may be coming out fairly soon with The Restoration of Property: A Reexamination of a Natural Right by . . . well, modesty forbids, but we just plugged a raft of books by other authors, so we are within our rights demanding equal time on our own blog. If you can't wait for the new book (or even if you can), please feel free to purchase In Defense of Human Dignity (2008) or Supporting Life: The Case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda (2010), or possibly both.

• We have requested permission from the copyright holder to republish another book by Dr. Harold G. Moulton, possibly his shortest work, with a new introduction by CESJ. We'll let you know more details if/when we get permission. We'd also like to do Moulton's Principles of Money and Banking (1916), which is in the public domain, but it's a rather lengthy piece and, as we have other things that must be done, what we'd like to do gets set aside.

• Can anyone put us in touch with Texas governor Rick Perry? Whatever his faults, he seems to grasp the idea that government doesn't produce wealth, and that the current system is set up to fall down. We have a proposal, Capital Homesteading, that he (or any other politician serious about addressing the economic situation in a realistic way) should find intriguing.

• We made contact through a LinkedIn group with some Pro-Life workers in Toronto, Canada, who are investigating the Just Third Way as something they might possibly present to their MP (that's "Member of Parliament" to those of us south of the border). Capital Homesteading as a Pro-Life economic agenda should be acceptable to both Pro-Life movement and Pro-Choice groups as a way of bringing about a better life for all without the economic necessity or rationalization of abortion. They have expressed interest in trying to arrange for Norm Kurland to meet with their representative, or at least have a telephone conference.

• Pollant Mpofu is still working to arrange meetings for Norm with African and British leaders. Pollant has already scored with one of Prime Minister Cameron’s ministers, and gotten Norm a phone interview, but follow-up has been difficult due to the deteriorating situation across the pond.

• Foster Gamble has released a trailer and announced the premier date of his new movie, Thrive (11/11/11) in San Francisco. Mr. Gamble interviewed Norm for a couple of hours a few years ago on the potential of the Just Third Way for restructuring the system and making it possible for people to, well, thrive. None of the interview made it into the film, which — according to the trailer — seems to focus on some kind of Chariots of the Gods source of limitless free power. That's nice, but we're more interested in who is going to own the capital that uses the free power — and who controls access to the power. To be able to produce enough to supply the world with all the marketable goods and services it needs is one thing. Figuring out how people are going to buy those same goods and services is quite another. Still, Thrive looks like a very polished, even slick presentation, but it's not clear how much it has to do with the Just Third Way. You can view the trailer here.


• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 43 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, the UK, Canada, the Philippines, and India. People in Uganda, Zambia, the United States, Canada and the Philippines spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Panic in the Streets," parts II, I, IV, and III, in that order, followed by "Alternative to the Stimulus, Part II."

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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4 comments:

nail-in-the-wall said...

Mondragon? Distributists? Just Third Way? (Tag Time 18:00 minutes on)

http://www.publicrealityradio.org/listen.php?episode=1358

Michael D. Greaney said...

Yo, Nail — you forgot to mention that the link you provided is to the show featuring Norman Kurland talking about Capital Homesteading.

Thanks for the link, but next time be more than a man of few words.

nail-in-the-wall said...

Okay,.. Okay,.. One to many hits on the head from the Just Third Way.

THE 'NEW' SLAVERY;

Michael D. Greaney said...

"One to"? Should that be "One too," or maybe the ol' "One-two" to the noggin?