Friday, October 28, 2011

News from the Network, Vol. 4, No. 43

Superficially this has been a "slow news week" from the perspective of the Just Third Way. That's extraordinarily deceptive. The more groups like the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement begin to realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with the system itself, not just the way the system is being maintained or run, the more likely it becomes that they will come around to the fact that the Just Third Way represents the only real hope for true reform:

• Michael D. Greaney, CESJ's Director of Research, gave a talk on William Thomas Thornton's A Plea for Peasant Proprietors on Saturday, October 22, 2011, before the Virginia State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The talk was well received, and a number of people signed up to receive the complimentary e-text of the book.

• Norman Kurland attended an event at the New America Foundation on Thursday, October 27, 2011. The subject was the revival of social Darwinism, which was combined with a revival of Malthusian doctrine. Both social Darwinism and Malthusian doctrine take for granted that "economic scarcity" means that there will always be an insufficiency of material goods to meet human wants and needs. "Economic scarcity" is a specialized term meaning that at time "x" only so much "y" exists, and that you cannot use the same piece of "y" in one thing, and at the same time use it in another. Economic scarcity says absolutely nothing about automatic insufficiency or how much more (or less) of something you can have at time "x + 1" if you use human inventiveness to "ephemeralize," or "do more with less." Mainstream economists stuck in a past dictated by defunct economists, however, always insert that, while human needs can be met easily, human wants can never be satisfied, because humanity is a gigantic, devouring machine that cannot be controlled. It only consumes, and does not produce, so that there can never be enough to go around. Of course, this orientation assumes that the theory of marginal utility and just plain common sense do not operate, and that people are irrational. Not surprisingly, an economist got up after the talk and announced that she was for "zero growth" because there were too many people. She did not volunteer to leave, so we assume she meant too many other people.

• Monica W. met with a city council member in Cleveland, and he put her and Jackie in touch with some lawyers dealing with the foreclosure crisis. Their interest was piqued when they found out there might be a feasible way to turn people from renters in their former homes, to a rent-to-buy arrangement, where the former owners become shareholders in a for-profit company that owns the homes.

• On November 4, Monica, Jackie and Norm will be meeting with the people from the "ESOP" organization, "ESOP" in this case meaning "Empowering and Strengthening Ohio People." They have also expressed interest in the concept of people becoming rent-to-buy tenants in the homes they formerly owned before foreclosure.

• Barbara O. attended an "Occupy Las Vegas" event on Thursday, and so intrigued one of the organizers that she was invited to speak. Her message? Own or be owned, and support the Declaration of Monetary Justice. One of the organizers said he would take a package of materials to New York to the "Occupy Wall Street" portion of the movement.

• Guy S. reported that the Tea Party and the Occupiers seem to be starting to move in the same direction. There is now an "Occupy the Richmond Federal Reserve" and "Occupy the Federal Reserve" in motion. Norm noted that we don't want to end the Fed, or let the government take over direct control of the money supply, but own the Fed.

• Monica reported that she had gone down to the "Occupy Cleveland" group, but that they came across as somewhat disorganized, without a clear objective. Norm suggested "planting" a few slogans, and getting them chanting, "Own or be owned" and "Capital Homesteading by 2012."

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 56 different countries and 50 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, the UK, Bulgaria, and the Philippines. People in Australia, Egypt, Germany, the United States, and Sweden spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Aristotle on Private Property," "The Perils of Ignoring History," "The Paradox of Thrift," and "Zombie Bot Slaves from Mars."

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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