An interesting effect of the current phase of the Great Depression is that the "Recession Generation" is opting to rent consumer items that used to be standard purchases for the upwardly mobile, i.e., dwellings, automobiles, furniture, even clothing. On the upside, this allows people to conform to the general trend in modern society to avoid permanent commitment at any level, and to have certain things that would otherwise be beyond the reach of under- and unemployed people.
The downside is that, just as Americans were largely stripped of capital ownership following the first two phases of the Great Depression (1893-1898, 1930-1939), they are now losing the opportunity and means to purchase the consumer durables that, in some small measure, offset the traditional wealth-building in the form of capital. A house in which you live does not generate income and thus is not a true investment, but at least it had value that, in a pinch, could be liquidated. Now even this is disappearing.
Clearly the only solution to the current global financial and economic crisis is either Capital Homesteading, or something so like it as to be indistinguishable. If any more evidence is needed, here it is:
• The pigeons are coming home to roost. Or maybe it's chickens. However the aphorism goes, generations of students have been "plucked" by the lie that a college degree guarantees you a good job. This is in the mistaken belief that the ability to parrot back what some professor wants to hear will somehow enhance creativity and entrepreneurship, resulting in automatic economic growth. As the Wall Street Journal reported in its headline yesterday, however, college debt is "hitting" the well-to-do. People who pushed increasingly expensive higher education in the hope that it would result in a better life actually put the cart before the horse and reversed cause and effect. It's the better life that results in higher education. Better education, healthcare, liberal attitudes, voting for politicians who give you what you want rather than what you need — all this comes as a result of economic growth. It doesn't cause it. Spending massive amounts of money on such things without first implementing a system such as Capital Homesteading to pay for them virtually ensures a financial disaster, first for individuals, then groups, then nations and, as the global debt crisis only continues to worsen, the world.
• In a similar vein, over the past week we attempted to respond to some questions in an internet discussion group regarding binary economics and Capital Homesteading. Fortunately, having had some exposure to logic, we quickly realized what one of the participants in the discussion was doing — making a string of assertions, claiming these disproved everything about binary economics and Capital Homesteading, and then demanding proof that what he was saying in presumed refutation is not the case. The extremely subtle "trick" being pulled was to make proponents of the Just Third Way "guilty until proven innocent," in a manner of speaking. The participant was, in so many words, demanding that we prove that what he was saying is not true. He was, in short, demanding that we prove a negative, which is a logical impossibility. It was an object lesson in what all supporters of the Just Third Way have to be aware of — and also demonstrates the quality of so much of the extremely expensive higher education that afflicts the world, since many of the critics of the Just Third Way have Ph.D.s and even Nobel Prizes, yet employ such tricks that shouldn't fool a second grader.
• All of this is a graphic demonstration of the need for Justice University, which should probably include remedial classes in simple logic as well as basic philosophy and ethics.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 49 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, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, and India. People in Nepal, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain 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," "Lies, Damned Lies, and Definitions, XXVI: The Depression," "Lies, Damned Lies, and Definitions, XXIII: Hijacking the Federal Reserve," and "Lies, Damned Lies, and Definitions, XXI: The Economics of Banking."
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.