As of this writing, the Dow is down over two-hundred points, probably due to the various noises about the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising rates, making it more expensive to create money to pour into the stock market. The possibility of eliminating “interest” altogether for any money that creates new owners of capital instead of to make the rich richer doesn’t seem to have occurred to any of the powers-that-be.
|Fr. William Ferree|
And yet Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler’s The New Capitalists: A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings has been around for more than half a century. Despite the continued “Dialog of the Deaf,” as Father William Ferree called it, we have been making a great deal of progress:
• Today, Norman Kurland, president of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, is giving a series of lectures via skype to Dr. Ralph Hall’s students at Virginia Tech. With Dr. Nicholas Ashford of MIT, Dr. Hall is the author of Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State (2011), which contains a chapter on binary economics, the first on the subject to appear in a college text. Norm, of course, will be talking about applications of the Just Third Way within the current legal environment as well as the direction that economic (and political) development must take to reestablish justice and ensure as far as humanly possible, and restore the proper social environment within which each human person — every child, woman, and man — has the opportunity and means to “pursue happiness,” i.e., acquire and develop virtue in the Aristotelian sense (hat tip to Louis Kelso’s co-author, Mortimer Adler).
• On Wednesday, the CESJ core group had a meeting with Dr. Anne Khademian of Virginia Tech. The purpose was to discuss how binary economics fits into the Just Third Way, and how the Just Third Way fits into Dr. Khademian’s field of Public and International Affairs. The author of numerous articles and books, Dr. Khademian’s research focuses on leadership and organizational culture, inclusive management, policy networks, and the work of organizations involved in homeland security and financial regulation. The meeting went very well, going over the time allotted, with follow-up meetings anticipated.
|Leo XIII: "New Things"|
• On Thursday, members of the CESJ core group had an introductory meeting with a Notre Dame alumnus who had come across a mention of the Just Third Way and saw a compatibility with his understanding of Catholic social teaching. This is not a surprising development, as Catholic social teaching (as any social teaching should be) is based on the Aristotelian-Thomist interpretation of the natural law, refined by Kelso and Adler in the area of economic justice, and by Pope Pius XI into a completed social doctrine, and analyzed by CESJ co-founder Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., president of Chaminade College, rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and Chairman of Dayton University. Recent research is revealing to what extent a sound interpretation of natural law has been distorted by the “new things” of which Pope Leo XIII spoke, resulting in numerous efforts since the early nineteenth century to “take shortcuts,” by redefining basic terms, shifting from reason illuminated and guided by faith to reason or faith alone, and turning over to the social tool of the State far more power than is necessary for it to carry out its proper function. Socialism, modernism, New Age thought, and many other detours around common sense (such as Keynesian economics and its reliance on government control of money and credit, and a complicated tax system) all try to do by force what the Just Third Way does by nature.
• Late Thursday evening we received a request for an interview about Father Ferree from a sister at Dayton University who is putting together a short biography of Father Ferree, drawn from personal reminiscences of the people who knew him. Many members of the CESJ core group were friends of Father Ferree, and during the last year of his life he made what he called his “monthly pilgrimage” from Dayton to Arlington to meet and discuss the Just Third Way. Many people don’t know that Father Ferree and Norman Kurland testified before the Lay Commission on the Economy on September 11, 1985 during the preparation of what became the U.S. bishops’ 1986 pastoral on the economy, Economic Justice for All. Sadly, the pastoral only made a single — incorrect — reference to the work of Father Ferree, possibly the world’s leading expert in the social doctrine of Pius XI, and made no reference at all to Norman Kurland, a leading pioneer in the expanded ownership movement who worked with ESOP inventor Louis Kelso.
• CESJ received a request to review a book, Exchanging Autonomy: Inner Motivations as Resources for Tackling the Crises of Our Times, by Marco Senatore, an Italian economist formerly with the World Bank. Assuming the book is in English, we will consider if we have the time to give the book adequate consideration.
• CESJ has also been asked to contribute a chapter to a book to be published in India by Laj Utreyja, Director of the Institute of Global Harmony in New Delhi. CESJ will be adapting a paper on sustainable growth for the project, and expects to submit the final draft to Dr. Utreyja before the end of September.
|Msgr. Ronald Knox|
• We have been receiving many questions and requests for information from distributists who appear to be dissatisfied with the answers they are getting from “establishment” Chestertonians. The general feeling of people asking the questions seems to be that there has been something of a drift away from the natural law based on the Intellect, and into Fabian socialism and an understanding of the natural law based on the Will, ironically the very things distributism was intended to counter, and that Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton protested in such books as The Servile State (1912) Saint Francis of Assisi (1923), and Saint Thomas Aquinas: The “Dumb Ox” (1933). Not surprisingly, these are also the things that both Msgr. Ronald Knox and Abp. Fulton Sheen struggled against in, respectively, Enthusiasm (1950), and God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy (1925) and Religion Without God (1928).
• CESJ’s latest book, Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland, 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-six 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. An additional discount may be available for institutions such as schools, clubs, and other organizations as well as retailers.
|Frog? Dinosaur? Lizard? At least it's smiling. . . .|
• Here’s the usual announcement about the Amazon Smile program, albeit moved to the bottom of the page so you don’t get tired of seeing it. 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.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 46 different countries and 44 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Germany. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 33,” “A Look at the Future, II: Labor Productivity?” “Let’s Talk About . . . Job Creation,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” and “Is the United States the Enemy of Freedom and Democracy?”
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.