Wearing our “for-profit hats” (Equity Expansion International, Inc.), with a couple of nods to CESJ, we returned last week from a “retreat” in Cleveland, Ohio, meeting with members of a new start-up company who seem very interested in implementing the Just Third Way. We also met with a professor at John Carroll University . . . getting caught in a hailstorm with tornado warnings, but that’s another story. . . .
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Recently we came across one of those “tastes great/less filling” debates about the virtues of socialism v. capitalism, and the practicality of capitalism v. socialism. There was obviously no way it could ever be resolved, for both sides in the, uh, er, “discussion” were not either defining their terms or even being too clear on what they were talking about.
Monday, July 29, 2013
We love it when we get intelligent questions that we can answer without too much trouble. In addition to the fact that it proves somebody is actually reading this blog, answering the question saves us the trouble of trying to think of something to write about. We were therefore delighted to receive the following question a few weeks ago:
Friday, July 26, 2013
And the winner is . . .? Actually, in this case, it’s easier to pick the losers: We, the People of the United States. At stake is the next chairmanship of the Federal Reserve. Since none of the candidates appears to have the faintest idea what a central bank is supposed to do, the best we can hope for is the same financial floundering to which we’ve been subjected since the New Deal.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
By the early 19th century, it appeared that democracy had triumphed over divine right. The French Revolution had been a misstep, of course, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and boys will be boys. Besides, you know . . . foreigners. And even the French had some good in them, e.g., Alexis de Tocqueville and what many authorities consider the first great work in sociology, Democracy in America.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
In the previous posting we mentioned that Walter Bagehot, whose economic theories were a strong influence on John Maynard Keynes (whose own theories have pretty much wrecked the global economy), wrote favorably of the political theories of the totalitarian philosopher Thomas Hobbes.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Democracy is based on the principle that people have the inherent right to rule themselves, and thus to select the form of government and society best suited to their needs, as long as it respects fundamental human rights. How a specific government or society meets that requirement is up to the people who come together to organize it, and can take many forms, but the substance must remain, or the system is unjust.
Monday, July 22, 2013
People often think of economics as “the dismal science.” In the opinion of some authorities, this is due to the discredited theories of the Reverend Thomas Malthus that, nevertheless, became entrenched as economic orthodoxy. This was primarily because Malthus told the wealthy and powerful — and those who depended on them — precisely what they wanted to hear.
Friday, July 19, 2013
The CESJ team has been preparing to go to Cleveland tomorrow for a retreat. We’ll hopefully report on the retreat next week, but this week our time has been taken up with preparing for it. A number of interesting sessions have been planned and a number of meetings scheduled that could result in significant advances — but we won’t know until the end of the retreat how well things went. Unlike some reporters who see the future and it works, we have to wait until the events we’re reporting actually happen.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
This is a little complicated, but it is critically important in all of human thought. Bishop Fulton Sheen translated a passage of Aquinas referring to the effects of abandoning the first principle of reason as committing "mental suicide" after stressing the fact that the first principle of reason is the strongest and clearest thing "the Angelic Doctor" wrote about. G. K. Chesterton called forgetting or ignoring the first principle of reason "the assassination of Thomism."
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
We recently received two questions about the monetary theory underlying binary economics, especially as it would be applied in Capital Homesteading. The first question was whether future savings are any more secure than what backs the currency now. The second question was how future growth actually backs a currency.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
In college economics courses we all learn that under fractional reserve banking, banks can create money out of nothing. This allows private interests to circumvent the government’s monopoly on money creation, and thus to control the economy.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Most authorities and experts have a partial understanding of “Say’s Law of Markets” and its application in the “real bills doctrine” from the perspective of past savings (the present value of past reductions in consumption) instead of future savings (the present value of future increases in production). This causes a little confusion when we attempt to explain the monetary and fiscal reforms of Capital Homesteading.
Friday, July 12, 2013
As is usual in the summer, this has been something of a slow week for news . . . unless you’re big on Hollywood fluff (which is pretty much the same as Washington fluff these days). On the Just Third Way front, matters in Cleveland seem to be chugging along, which ought to please Drew Carey because, after all, Cleveland Rocks.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
If we keep raising the issue of the Federal Reserve, it’s because other people keep insisting on two things that we know are incorrect. One, the federal government is the sole legal money creator in the United States. Two, central banks were invented to finance government.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
This brings us to the sticking point. Why has every pope since Leo XIII (and a number before him, such as John XXII in 1329) stressed the importance of private property? Clearly it is not income, or (at least) income alone. The whole concept of the just wage, while frequently misunderstood and even more frequently misapplied, addresses the problem of an adequate and secure income, even if mistaken for false charity and used in the short term as an expedient.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
In the tenth and eleventh postings in this series, we demonstrated that capitalism is based on two premises, one true, and one false. In today’s posting we will show that socialism is also based on two premises, both of which are false. This is, in fact, why the Catholic Church condemns socialism, while it “only” criticizes capitalism.
Monday, July 8, 2013
The claim that both capitalism and socialism are based on opinion — faith — is easily proved. As we have demonstrated countless times on this blog, both capitalism and socialism rely on the demonstrably false premise that the only way to finance new capital formation is to cut consumption and accumulate money savings; financing for all new capital is presumed to come out of the present value of production that was withheld from consumption.
Friday, July 5, 2013
The Dow shot up this morning more than a hundred points in the first few minutes of trading . . . and as of this writing has been losing ground . . . regaining it . . . losing it again . . . ever since. In other words, business as usual. The rapid rise is presumably in response to a favorable jobs report for June, while the drop is presumably due to the situation in Egypt. It does raise an issue about the widespread belief that the stock market is a leading economic indicator, but what can you do?
For one thing, support an initiative like the proposal to make a counteroffer to the Chinese purchase of Smithfield Foods, Inc., as we explain in our first news item this week:
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
In yesterday’s posting we learned that capitalist theory is correct in asserting the absolute character of the right to be an owner, i.e., “title.” We also learned that being correct in such an important matter is not enough. We must also be right for the right reason.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
By the time Pope Leo XIII issued Rerum Novarum advocating private property in capital for everyone (§ 46), “private property” had come to mean different things for the rich, and for the non-rich in America. This was largely due to two circumstances.
Monday, July 1, 2013
As promised last Thursday, here is the full, unedited text of Professor Rodney Shakespeare’s comments on CESJ’s response to him that we sent out June 17, 2013. This was cut and pasted directly from the e-mail as Professor Shakespeare sent it. The only changes are the removal of some extraneous spaces Professor Shakespeare seems to have added in the heat of composition: