Friday, June 22, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 25

A number of important initiatives have moved forward this past week. Things remain difficult for everyone — e.g., the "official" unemployment rate of 8.2% or so reported for May 2012 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics seems surreal when compared with the 24.3% of the workforce that doesn't have jobs ("Prime-Age Workers Still Lost in the Recession's Undertow," Washington Post, 05/30/12, A1, A12). Just don't ask us what the difference is between the unemployment rate and the rate of people in the workforce who don't have jobs. We're still trying to figure that one out. It may just be a way of staving off angry villagers who approach with torches and guns for all we know.

Anyway, to counter this sort of bureaucratic silliness that misuses the power of positive thinking and slips over into the delusional, people in the Just Third Way network are doing things that reflect the true power of thinking positively — and of backing up thoughts and words with deeds:

• Monica in Cleveland has been pushing forward with making contacts and opening doors for telephone conferences with key gatekeepers and prime movers to lay the groundwork for a Just Third Way approach to reviving the city economically. While the proposal is based on a completely different paradigm — don't think that agreement on superficial similarities affects the fundamental differences between binary economics based on the banking principle, and, say, Keynesian economics based on the currency principle — door-openers don't have to grasp the whole picture. They only need enough to be able to intrigue others. Let us answer the questions, and don't be afraid to admit you don't know. As sages throughout the ages have explained, realizing and admitting your ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.

• In the "Party Like It's 1929" Department, the Wall Street Journal reported today that in light of the ongoing debt crisis in Europe and to encourage lending, the European Central Bank is "poised to relax its collateral rules for central bank loans." (06/22/12, A9) This means that the security for the bad loans that Europe's banks have been making to governments will be downgraded, making a default even worse than otherwise. This is similar to what happened following the Crash of 1929, when the securities offered as collateral on commercial loans suffered a drastic loss in value. As the value of collateral decreased, banks began demanding settlement of their call loans and stopped lending. Borrowers with term loans either could not get them renewed or get credit in the first place, while others went into default as business activity went into a tailspin. Kelso's idea of collateralizing pure credit loans with capital credit insurance and reinsurance would have solved the problem caused by the Crash, while the mass purchasing power generated by widespread capital ownership would have kept demand at a level sufficient to forestall the Great Depression and allowed banks to lend to businesses.

• The CESJ core group had two days of intensive work sessions with Dave Kelly, who has been working with award-winning cartoonist Bert Dodson (The Way Life Works, 1998). Dave and Bert have been integrating Just Third Way monetary theory into an explanation of Capital Homesteading and its benefits for a cartoon presentation.

• The first issue in the new series of the newsletter of the Irish Special Interest Group ("SIG") of American Mensa, Litir Scéala an tSIG Gaelach, that went out on June 17, 2012 (including a feature article applying Just Third Way concepts to Ireland), was a reasonable success. The 28 subscribers (at least, those who "validated" their subscription) all got their copies of the newsletter delivered to their e-mail addresses — not a link, but the actual newsletter, in full — and, to date, more than 300 people have visited the website, making for quite a healthy circulation for a newsletter, the last issue of which was four years ago. Keep in mind that the more people who subscribe to the Irish SIG newsletter, the more people will receive the quarterly CESJ publications flyer, which is all to the good (at least for CESJ).

• The CESJ core group began work on revising the healthcare proposal currently on the website. Especially in view of the mandates in the "Obamacare" proposal, it was essential to remove any sort of mandate and let people make their own choices about the type of healthcare they want. Taking it off the back of the employer and making it a personal expenditure not only gives more freedom and keeps the State out, it makes people directly accountable for their own actions.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 64 different countries and 49 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, India, and Australia. People in Sweden, Cambodia, Qatar, Syria, and Spain spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Justice, I: Introduction," "CESJ's Orientation in Brief," "Aristotle on Private Property," and "Own or Be Owned: Capital Homesteading Now."

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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