Rollercoaster fans should really be loving the stock market. Just this morning it was down a couple hundred, then up, and then down again. . . . Workers in an ESOP that have independent appraisals of the shares in their accounts are probably feeling pretty smug right about now — they are insulated to some degree from the antics of the speculators on Wall Street; an offer that differs materially from the appraised market value of the company is very carefully vetted, and the share valuation is not quite as subject to manipulation; can you say “DOL Investigation”?
Friday, January 30, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
People today tend to think there was something inherently wrong in the German people that they allowed Hitler to come into power. From a purely economic and financial standpoint, it’s not all that hard to understand.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Having allowed our readers to refresh themselves with a brief hiatus before completing this blog series, we return to our discourse on the importance of standards, especially when dealing with money and credit. Possibly to oversimplify, there may be no greater single problem today in the economic and financial sectors than the fact that the concept of standard has ceased to have any meaning.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting article on how surpluses of basic commodities, while they are bad, can be good for some brave investors (“Rout Signals ‘Buy’ to Some: As Surpluses Grow From Oil to Copper, Investors Risk Pain Now for Gains Later,” The Wall Street Journal, Monday, January 26, 2105, C1, C6.) There are so many things wrong with just the headline, to say nothing of the article, that we hardly know where to begin.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Thanks to the extraordinary initiative of two CESJ stalwarts, Ms. Harriet Epstein of Northern Virginia, and Dr. María Teresa Rosón de Pérez Lozano, professor of Commercial Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, we were able to get a group together to attend an event in Washington, DC, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Ætate, the 1965 encyclical on relations with non-Christian religions. The event was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Jewish Community of Greater Washington.
Friday, January 23, 2015
According to President Obama’s State of the Union Address this past Tuesday (which we missed to attend a talk on the fiftieth anniversary of the issuance of Nostra Ætate, the encyclical on Catholic relations with non-Christian religions, below), everything is great, great, great. The economy is booming, evidently there’s no terrorist threat, and so on, so forth.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
We interrupt our regularly scheduled series of postings on standards (and lack thereof) in modern society to offer a few comments about what we think is wrong with the Pro-Life movement. Lest you be turned off already, please note that we fully support the goal: an end to abortion. We just want to offer a few comments and observations on how the effort might be more effective and less confrontational . . . at least, up to a point.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
So far in this brief series we’ve covered the why, what, and application of standards, and what can happen when you don’t have any. Today we’re going to look at what happens when people manipulate standards to their own advantage, especially the monetary standard.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
We’ve been looking at standards, what they are, how they apply, even why we should have them. Today we look at the sort of thing that happens when you don’t have standards, or you remove them, i.e., drift (or jump headfirst) into relativism.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Last week we looked at two questions: 1) Why have standards? and 2) What are standards? We discovered that we have standards so that everybody knows what everybody else is talking about or dealing with, and a standard is something established or correct, a way of determining if something measures up (or down) to a pre-determined, objective amount, quantity, degree . . . whatever — it’s something that’s the same for everyone, and it stays that way. Establishing and maintaining standards is so important that most nations delegate the power to set and enforce standards to the State.
Friday, January 16, 2015
The stock market has been all over the map this week. This demonstrates that areas or groups many people consider to be trendsetters, indicators, leaders, and so on, so forth, are in reality nothing of the sort. We include the stock market (which has little or nothing to do with the primary, productive market), academia (which has almost nothing to do with real education these days), politics (which has little, if anything to do with what Aristotle meant by the term) . . . and so on, so forth.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Yesterday we asked the eternal question, “Why Have Standards?” Today we start getting down to basics, and ask “What Are Standards?” Yes, we answered that in part yesterday, but we need to expand on it a bit in order to get to the point we’re eventually going to make in this series. Yes, there’s a point to all this, believe it or not.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
For years, CESJ’s chief volunteer was a Southern Lady (note the capitalization) who, on occasion, was wont to make a comment or two about persons who lacked what she called “standards.” Generally this was in response to an enquiry about why she chose not to associate with certain individuals or groups. Her almost inevitable reply was, “I have standards,” implying that they did not.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Not necessarily in that order, of course, but they do seem to be related, especially in modern academia, which has some rather serious problems that nobody seems to be dealing with. Er . . . with which nobody seems to be dealing? Forgive us, oh Strunk and White!
Monday, January 12, 2015
|Lumberjacks. Real Men.|
. . . and women are glad of it? No, we’re not talking about the Last Frontier. Raymond Cardinal Burke recently gave an interview in which he laid out the reasons why he thinks there is a “Catholic Man Crisis.” We had a number of problems with the article, which we read in great detail. Primarily, since when is the “crisis” a “Catholic thing”? Well, maybe His Eminence meant “catholic,” which means “universal,” in which case, okay, we’ll agree with him. Up to a point.
Friday, January 9, 2015
It’s difficult for anyone familiar with economic and financial history not to feel a little uneasy about the increasingly wild fluctuations in the stock market. All of the experts in academia and government seem to forget that the stock market isn’t really what they call an “economic indicator,” leading or otherwise. It’s a secondhand shop for used debt and equity. The primary market, where people engage in agriculture, industry, and commerce, really doesn’t have much to do with the secondary market, where people move pieces of paper around.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
In the world of classical economics of the Banking School (of which binary economics appears to be the sole survivor), money is a symbol, a means of exchanging, measuring, and storing claims on the present value of existing and future marketable goods and services, i.e., production, whether produced by labor, land, or technology.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
We had one more posting in last year’s series on solidarism that we interrupted in order to present the series on Thomas à Becket. It’s a bit of a tag-end, but here it is:
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Silly persons like to point out that every right Saint Thomas died to defend was eventually recognized as being properly the purview of the civil order, so that his death was — in their eyes — totally useless and meaningless. Some even end up agreeing with Henry VIII Tudor, who put Saint Thomas on trial for high treason post mortem, that the Archbishop was a consummate villain who was trying to assert the supremacy of the Church over the State . . . rather than the supremacy of the State over the Church, as Henry Tudor did.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Last year (we couldn’t resist saying it that way) we looked at how the Romans viewed separation of Church and State. We begin this year by looking at how things changed with the coming of Christianity.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Interestingly, the January 3rd-9th issue of The Economist just arrived, with a cover story on “Workers on Tap: Technology, freelancing and the future of the labour market.” Our first reaction, of course, is to wonder why a British magazine doesn’t use “the Oxford comma.” Our second reaction was a bit delayed until we read an article in today’s Wall Street Journal on “New Year, New Laws on Pay, Pot, Pets.