Friday, October 3, 2014

News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 39


The stock market is, as usual, booming . . . which is oddly, the same thing we said a few weeks ago . . . and have been saying for quite some time.  That is, when we’re not noting a drastic plunge.  Why no one seems to be worried about the increased volatility of the market, and the fact that there seems to be nothing behind the much-touted “recovery” except for tremendous amounts of government debt and toxic assets is a little puzzling.

Perhaps this is a needless concern.  After all, the market was volatile in 1929, and nothing much came of that . . . did it?  Be that as it may, here’s what we’ve been doing to try and get things back on track, economically and politically (in the Aristotelian sense; we are, after all, a 501(c)(3)):

$10 on Amazon and B&N
• Sales of CESJ’s latest “Paradigm Paper,” The Political Animal: Economic Justice and the Sovereignty of the Human Person, are promising.  Although the first printing was relatively small, our distributor reports that 25% of the printing has already been sold, mostly via direct sales, but some on Amazon.  As word starts to spread and people review the book, we expect sales to grow.  As it is, we are very close to breaking even on the book barely two weeks after its official publication date!  The Political Animal, like all CESJ publications, is available in bulk at substantial savings.  With the 20% discount applicable to bulk sales (i.e., ten or more copies of a single title), a full case of 50 is $400, plus shipping.  Enquire at “publications [at] cesj [dot] org” for details and cost of shipping bulk/wholesale orders.  Individual copies are available now on Amazon, and on Barnes and Noble.  Interestingly, three copies are currently available on abebooks.com . . . albeit at more than twice the cover price in one instance.  Evidently The Political Animal is well on its way to becoming a collector’s item, although much more affordable and useful than most such things. Please note: CESJ does not sell retail.

• This past week, a member of the CESJ network suggested that the core group get in touch with a number of important individuals.  This is, of course, useful to know about specific “targets,” so to speak, but much more useful if someone serves as a “door opener” to introduce CESJ, especially Dr. Norman Kurland, to prime movers so that we can get straight to the message and proposals without first having to “sell” CESJ to someone.  We frequently only get one chance to sell one thing, and having to sell CESJ first means we might not get to the more important message, or come off as self-promoters.

• CESJ’s volunteer Fellow, Astrid Uytterhaegen, is temporarily back in Washington from the Louvain in Belgium to participate in the CESJ panel presentation at American University tomorrow (below).  She will be here for a week, reviewing the new “Paradigm Paper,” and working on brief tasks before returning to work on her Masters in economics.

• CESJ will be participating in the 11th Annual Public Anthropology Conference on “Violence, Resilience, and Resistance” at American University, Saturday and Sunday, October 4 and 5.  CESJ will have the tactically important first session for its participatory panel discussion on the Just Third Way on Saturday morning.  Parking is free both days.  Admission is free, but registration and conference information is available on the website.  Lunch will be provided both days, but you must register for the conference in order to attend the lunch.

• The presentation at the National War College in Washington, DC, scheduled for today, was postponed to a later day due to a conflict with the NCW’s Oktoberfest celebration.  It was felt that not too many people would be interested in hearing about binary economic theory and its application to counterterrorism efforts when free beer and bratwurst were available elsewhere.

$10 National Bank Note issued by the First National Bank of Columbia, PA
• We didn’t have too much time last week to say more about our visit to the First National Bank Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  As soon as we clean up the year-end tasks (CESJ’s fiscal year ended this week on September 30), we will be in contact with the museum’s gracious curator and guide, Ms. Nora Stark, to discuss possible joint programs or presentations.  The First National Bank, organized under the National Banking Act of 1863 (as amended in 1864), while no longer an operating financial institution at that location, is an excellent example of what was once a small commercial bank geared toward the needs of the local community.  This is something that has, by and large, gone by the boards since the 1990s and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.  As Hilaire Belloc might have put it, the “small man” (meaning the small or local business) is not “interesting” to the mega-banks and financial conglomerates, which undercuts the ability of local business outside the large cities to obtain the all-important credit.  Civil War buffs and other historians should be very interested in the bank; part of the museum’s collection consists of documents relating to the burning of the bridge across the Susquehanna to prevent the advance of the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee should the rebel force be victorious at nearby Gettysburg in July of 1863.  Be sure to visit the website, especially the short video. Note that the Federal Reserve System, which went into operation a century ago next month, was intended in part to replace the inelastic, government debt-backed reserve currency of the National Bank System (modeled on that instituted by the British Bank Charter Act of 1844) with an elastic, private sector asset-backed reserve currency with a stable value.  Unfortunately, the politicians got mixed up in it, and today we have an elastic, government debt-backed reserve currency that keeps falling in value.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 64 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, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Ecuador. The most popular postings this past week were “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Fulton Sheen Suspended . . . Again?, I: What’s the Story?” “Fulton Sheen Suspended . . . Again?, III: Faith v. Reason . . . Again?” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” and “Happy Capital Day!, II: The Capital Question.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those 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, so we’ll see it before it goes up.

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