Friday, March 25, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 12


Yet another week filled with some important news items:

Mark Your Calendar: Gather with students, grassroots leaders and concerned citizens on Friday, April 22, 2016 in Washington, DC, for the 12th annual demonstration at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.  Co-hosted by the Coalition for Capital Homesteading and the Center for Economic and Social Justice, the rally will run from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM, starting on the mall side across the street from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the Federal Reserve Building (between 20th and 21st Streets, NW).

Amazon Smile program.  To participate in the Amazon Smile program for CESJ, go to https://smile.amazon.com/.  Next, sign in to your account.  (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.)  Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.”  If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through.  Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.

• The first draft of the Just Third Way book on the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 is finished and is currently in editing.  With any luck, we can soon have it submitted to the printer by the end of next week, with copies available on the official publication date, April 24, 2016, exactly one hundred years from the Rising on Easter Monday, 1916.  The title has been tentatively changed to Easter Witness: A Just Third Way Vision for Ireland.  We’ve assigned an ISBN, and should be in a position to start taking wholesale orders by the end of April.

• CESJ has purchased a portable projector, projector screen, and laser remote controller with which to make presentations.  The “maiden voyage” of the equipment at Virginia Union University was very successful, with none of the usual glitches that tend to crop up when dealing with new equipment.

• Joyce Hart, producer of Sisters of Selma (2007) has expressed interest in the story of the Just Third Way, and will be attending this year’s Rally at the Fed in Washington, DC (above).  She will interview Dr. Norman G. Kurland and talk with others in the CESJ core group.

• Norman Kurland gave a talk at Virginia Union University on the Just Third Way that was very well received.  A number of students indicated interest in exploring the possibility of forming a campus CESJ chapter, while at least one faculty member requested information on becoming a CESJ Fellow.

• Father Columba, who arranged for Norm to speak at Virginia Union, has also put him in touch with a number of Biafran leaders in the United States who are interested in promoting just social change.  Norm ended by saying they should focus on monetary reform, and they should develop a preliminary proposal for a West African Development Bank, a regional central bank that would operate in accordance with sound commercial and central banking theory, while adding expanded capital ownership as an essential prerequisite for the extension of credit for productive purposes.  Credit for non-productive purposes would be strictly prohibited, as money for consumption and gambling should come only out of existing accumulations.

Fr. Oswald von Nell-Breuning, S.J.
On learning that the existing translation of Fr. Oswald von Nell-Breuning’s Die Soziale Enzyklika (1932), Reorganization of Social Economy, had been done by a socialist and does not reflect Nell-Bruening’s thought accurately, CESJ stalwart Jeanna C. immediately obtained two copies of the original German . . . “much to [her] husband’s bewilderment,” as neither of them speak or read German.  We hope to surface a competent (i.e., accurate and pro bono) translator to do a first run-through, as our German is not quite up to that, although good enough to check and supervise a more accurate version than the 1938 translation.

Jean-Baptiste Say
• We had another question about what’s wrong with socialism — of any kind.  We think Say’s Law of Markets explains it pretty well. It’s based on Adam Smith’s core principle of economics: “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.”  All things being equal, the only way to consume something is to produce it first. (You can’t usually consume what hasn’t been produced.)  Thus, if you want to consume something, you must produce something, either for your own consumption, or to trade to others for what they have produced. In this way, as Say’s Law is usually summarized, Production = Income, therefore, Supply (Production) generates its own Demand (Income), and Demand, its own Supply.  That’s IF you produce something by means of your labor, land, or other capital. If, however, machinery is taking over the burden of production, and you don’t own the machinery, you can’t produce. Socialism says, fine. Take from the machine owner some of what he or she produces, and give it to non-producers, thereby removing the incentive of producers to produce, and increasing the incentive of others to consume without producing. Everybody becomes worse off.  Nobody seems to consider helping people who don’t own productive capital to purchase it on credit, pay for it out of future profits, and become productive that way.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 52 different countries and 51 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, India, and Sudan. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “The Crisis That Need Not Be, I: A System Designed to Fail,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “The Purpose of Production,” and “The Crisis That Need Not Be, IV: Rally at the Fed.”

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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2 comments:

Dcn. Joseph B. Gorini said...

Regarding the English translation of "Reorganization of Social Economy," I am aware that Bernard W.Dempsey, S.J., is called a "personalist economist," but who beside Michael Greaney calls him a "socialist"? DJ

Michael D. Greaney said...

Anyone in the CESJ core group, and others who have read Fr. Dempsey's "Frontier Wage," which is a reworking of Msgr. John A. Ryan's "A Living Wage" (1906) and "Distributive Justice" (1916). Whenever the source of rights shifts from the individual human person created by God, to some form of the collective created by man, you have socialism, whether or not it calls itself such.

The shift from the human person to the abstraction of humanity is the theory of society that Pope Pius XI identified in § 117 of Quadragesimo Anno as being utterly foreign to Christian truth and why, a little later (§ 120) he said that "no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist."

This is not to say that a great many people haven't fallen into this error. It does mean, however, that a lot of work needs to be done in correcting the errors of the past in order to avoid continuing to make them in the future. Unfortunately (as you well know), some people prefer to take what is intended as fraternal correction as a personal attack, making it all the harder for anyone to hear what is said.