Friday, April 29, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 17


The Dow fell 200 or so points yesterday, and is down almost another 150 as this is being written.  This is all to the good for the gamblers, as they make money regardless which way the market goes; it’s the volatility itself that allows them to generate enormous profits.  The problem is that commercial banks, which since the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the recombination of commercial and investment banking can own equity shares other than their own, prefer to pump money into stock market speculation instead of making business loans.

Carter Glass, the "Glass" of Glass-Steagall
And can you blame them?  With the Federal Reserve holding both the interest rate and discount rate down artificially, and dealing in government debt instead of private sector qualified paper, it is much more profitable to pour funds into the stock market than into actual productive activity.  This gives the illusion of economic growth as the Dow and other indices rise, and justifies more government debt as the indices fall.  Both benefit the politicians one way or another.

To try and shift people’s thinking along more rational lines, here’s what we’ve been doing this past week (right after the commercial break about Amazon Smile):

• And now for something completely the same: the usual announcement about the 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.

• Norman Kurland and Dawn Brohawn had a series of important meetings this past Wednesday at Virginia Tech.  There was a great deal of interest expressed in the Just Third Way and, especially, Justice University as a way of helping to pump new life into Academia.  One of the economics professors complained about the iron grip that Paul Samuelson has on the economics taught in most universities and the fact that virtually no one ever goes to original sources any more.  This has led to massive misinformation regarding classical economics, for example, with most economists, even those with Ph.D.s, unaware that classical economics is divided into two “hostile” camps, “Smithian” and “Ricardian,” which can probably best be characterized by their respective views on money.  For the Smithian school of classical economics, money is anything that can be accepted in settlement of a debt.  For the Ricardian, money is limited to currency and currency substitutes.  In the Quantity Theory of Money equation, M x V = P x Q (where M is the quantity of money, V is the average number of times each unit of currency is spent in a year, P is the price level, and Q is the number of transactions), the Smithian school regards M as the “dependent variable,” meaning the quantity of money derives from all the other factors.  The Ricardian school regards M as the “independent variable,” meaning all the other factors derive from M . . . which is mathematically meaningless, as this puts three dependent variables in one equation, which is insoluble.

• CESJ’s latest book, Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland has now been officially published, and is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as by special order from many “regular” bookstores.  The book can also be ordered in bulk, which we define as ten copies or more of the same title, at a 20% discount.  A full case is twenty-dix copies, and non-institutional/non-vendor purchasers get a 20% discount off the $20 cover price on wholesale lots ($416/case).  Shipping is extra.  Send enquiries to publications@cesj.org.  An additional discount may be available for institutions such as schools, clubs, and other organizations as well as retailers.  Initial sales are encouraging, and CESJ (although interfaith) has applied for an “imprimatur” which will allow the book to be used as a text in Catholic schools.

• Through a new program offered by Ingram, CESJ’s book distributor, we have added subcontractor facilities for printing books “on site” in Brazil, Poland, South Korea, Germany, Russia, and India for local sales and wholesale orders through the Ingram catalogue.  We currently also have subcontractor facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia for “publisher direct” wholesale and bulk orders, meaning you can order directly from us for wholesale and bulk sales in the U.S., U.K., and Australia instead of going through Ingram.  Ingram makes the same amount of money either way, although the amount you pay for shipping may be less with Ingram as they tend to have better contracts with shippers than CESJ does.

The Red Fort
• Speaking of India, a CESJ friend has offered to give a packet of CESJ material to a highly placed government official in India when he meets with him next month.  We are currently putting together a package that should appeal to the official and suggest ways to implement Just Third Way reforms at the state and national level.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 54 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, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Are Rights for Everyone?” “Curb Your Dog(ma),” and “The Purpose of Production.”

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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