While some analysts are gushing over the drop in the unemployment rate (below), others are looking at problems in the real world beyond Wall Street and the Washington Beltway. For example, the state of Michigan is evidently laying the groundwork for a "managed bankruptcy" of the city of Detroit. This is hardly good news, but it has been interesting to observe the behavior of the stock market on news that it does not appear that there will be an easy solution to the "fiscal cliff" — the Dow increased by nearly 150 points before dropping to about half that as the instant profit takers took their profits. Both in Washington and in New York, evidently, bad news is good news, at least if you can profit off of the misfortunes of others.
Be that as it may, here's what we've been doing over the past week to advance the Just Third Way:
• Michael D. Greaney, CESJ's Director of Research, has been asked to speak at an informal gathering of Catholic clergy on the universal applicability of the natural law, and how this fits into the concept of "Christ the King" in a democratic society.
• The recently announced closings of a number of Catholic schools in various dioceses around the country has opened up the possibility of exploring the application of the Justice University concept, both as a way of promoting a value-based education and as a cost-cutting measure.
• We got a very positive comment about Capital Homesteading from a participant in the Ancient Order of Hibernians "LinkedIn" group. We agreed with him, however, that — at least under the current system — job creation that is not simply a complicated and expensive form of redistribution but is geared toward production of marketable goods and services is the most immediate solution, especially if it includes worker ownership.
• Presumably the unemployment rate for November plunged drastically, spurring another round of claims that the "Great Recession" is over. Unfortunately, we didn't see any statement to the effect that the rate was adjusted to account for people who simply stopped hunting for work, or those who acquired temporary positions for the holiday season. "The market" is "reacting skeptically," not with a drastic increase in the Dow.
• Citicorp has announced massive layoffs — 11,000 people — driving up the market value of its shares. IBM has announced that it has adopted new benefits policies that make it less expensive to lay off workers. This is expected to increase the value per share of IBM stock.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 69 different countries and 55 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 United Kingdom, Canada, the Philippines and Australia. People in Spain, the United States, Estonia, Portugal, and Germany 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," "News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 4," "The Road to Fascism," and "The Turning Point, II: The Trigger."
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.