Friday, August 16, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 33

Breathe easy.  The CIA has just released a report on “Area 51” in Nevada.  In a stunning revelation, it has absolutely nothing to do with extraterrestrial beings.  Instead, Area 51 was used to test the U-2 spy plane . . . which has nothing to do with Bono (or Cher).

Or does it?  After all, Sonny Bono was mysteriously killed, probably on secret orders from the CIA after he did too many favors for Mickey Mouse, the corporate logo for America, Inc., and a suspicious character, whose popularity in the media may have been endangering that of the Irish rock group that has never given a concert in Roswell, New Mexico.

Coincidence?  We think not.

And if you think that is atypical of the sort of argumentation that seems to persuade people today, late last week someone attempted to clinch an argument against the monetary and fiscal policy of the Just Third Way by declaring that taxes are the rent we pay on the money created by government. . . .

To counter this sort of thinking (or lack thereof), here is what the Just Third Way network has been doing for the past week:

• Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting op-ed piece on the late Howard Zinn by Dr. David J. Bobb.  Zinn seems to have epitomized, if not been one of the inspirations for the “Double V” of modern academia: Vitriolic and Vindictive (or Venal and Vicious, if you prefer).  Zinn’s work helped inculcate generations of American students with a near-pathological contempt for and loathing of America as well as the natural rights of life, liberty, and property.  Someone once commented that Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States (1980), became a bestseller due to so many professors forcing their students to buy it.  An avowed communist and atheist who has been all-but canonized by the Catholic Worker movement, Zinn had an enormous, if often uncredited, influence on popular understanding of what is incorrectly termed “social justice,” that which solidarist economist Dr. Franz Mueller called “meliorism,” i.e., the demand that the material needs of “the poor” come above everything else, and are the sole focus of all activity, domestic, civil, and religious — a view specifically condemned by the late Pope John Paul II (Ecclesia in America, § 67). Zinn had his imitators, conscious or not.  The books of bestselling author Kirkpatrick Sale come to mind, e.g., The Conquest of Paradise (1991), “paradise” being the theocratic Aztec Empire that practiced cannibalism and human sacrifice on a gargantuan scale, and engaged in genocide to provide sufficient victims for the altar and the dinner table.

• The “long lost” book by Fulton Sheen that shows the importance of freedom to religion, and of private property in capital (“creative wealth”) to freedom, is in the final stages of pre-press before being submitted to the printer.  The projected release date is September 2, 2013, Labor Day, not September 1 as we originally reported.  A number of prominent figures have said they are considering giving endorsements, and possibly writing reviews.

• The stock market has been taking a beating this week, in our opinion because of the uncertainty over the situation in Egypt combined with the general aimlessness of the “recovery” efforts.  The real problem, of course, is twofold.  One, production and consumption have been separated by the concentration of capital ownership, by a private sector elite in capitalism and a public sector elite in socialism.  Since, as Adam Smith pointed out in The Wealth of Nations (1776) as the fundamental principle of economics, the whole purpose of production is consumption, the solution is obvious: reconnect production and consumption by an aggressive program of widespread capital ownership.  Two, when the financing of new capital formation is restricted to existing accumulations of savings, ownership (control) of all new capital is, as a rule, restricted to those who are already rich, or to the State bureaucracy who control the coercive power of the State to force redistribution.  Shifting to future savings as the source for all new financially feasible capital and replacing traditional forms of collateral with capital credit insurance and reinsurance has the potential to make every child, woman, and man a direct owner of capital, reconnecting production and consumption.

• Out of the blue this morning we received notice of another “long lost” work by Fulton Sheen on the reasons why socialism is antithetical to the fundamental principles of all religions.  Also in the document is testimony from a Rabbi and a Protestant minister, both of which state their agreement with Sheen.  At the same time, we came across the full text of Orestes Brownson’s 1849 essay on socialism.  The two could very easily be combined with Pope Leo XIII’s “forgotten” encyclical warning against the dangers of “Christian socialism,” Graves de Communi Re (“On Christian Democracy”), 1901, for a short pamphlet reemphasizing the importance of widespread capital ownership.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 51 different countries and 48 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and India. The most popular postings this past week were “If You Have a Free Moment,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Shakespeare Speaks! (Again),” “News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 30,” and “Some More Questions About Future Savings.”

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.



Baseball Billy said...

"... reconnect production and consumption by an aggressive program of widespread capital ownership". Considering the current productiveness of capital as compared to the current productiveness of jobs/labor, do you think an unemployment rate of zero (0.00)%, if that could be "accomplished", would cure our current malaise?

PS: If you need my endorsement of the Fulton Sheen book, just let me know.

Michael D. Greaney said...

All endorsements for the Sheen book are more than welcome. When you have something, send it to "publications [at] cesj [dot] org."

Widespread direct ownership of capital, and terminating the market in government debt would give us an effective unemployment rate of zero — meaning probably somewhere around 1-2% at most, as there will always be someone who gets hit with the double whammy of bad investments and under- or unemployment of his or her labor — statistically, you KNOW it's going to happen, which is why we will always need a social safety net.

That being said, yes, with consumption power not being diverted into reinvestment, supply and demand would be back in sync, just as they were prior to the growth of the government "bond market" that resulted in the Panic of 1825, which is generally identified as the start of the modern "business cycle," i.e., overblown prosperity punctuated with bouts of downturn and unemployment. Getting back to a private sector asset backing for the currency, with that backing consisting of the present value of existing and future marketable goods and services, and eliminating government debt backing, should — everything else being equal (i.e., no natural disasters, war, or other disruptions in the economy) — restore and maintain a stable and growing economy.