Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Influences on CESJ?


As we may have mentioned one or a dozen times, we like getting questions . . . that we can answer.  So far we’ve been lucky, and haven’t gotten too many of the kind we can’t answer, e.g., “Are you guys just crazy, or what?”  (Actually, we can answer that question, too.  We just prefer not to.)  Anyway,
Who are the key thinkers/ideas that have influenced your mission and understanding of economics?
Louis O. Kelso
Heading the list, of course, are (in chronological order) Leo XIII, Pius XI, and Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler.  To oversimplify somewhat, Leo XIII had a vision of everyone empowered economically through capital ownership.  Pius XI’s completed social doctrine with its “act of social justice” showed how to bring about the necessary restructuring of the social order, while Kelso and Adler identified the key institutions for reform and developed specific technologies to democratize access to and use of those institutions, specifically money, credit, banking, and finance, as well as tax and ownership systems.  Thus, in response to a growing need on the part of the people of the world, Leo XIII provided the idea, Pius XI showed us how, and Kelso and Adler showed us what.
Henry Thornton
Other key thinkers (also in more or less chronological order) are George Mason for listing private property as a natural right in his draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Adam Smith for the first principle of economics (“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production”), Henry Thornton for working out the principles of mercantile/commercial and central banking and the real bills doctrine, Jean-Baptiste Say for the best statement of “Say’s Law of Markets” (briefly and inaccurately summarized as “production equals income, therefore, market-based demand generates its own, competitive market-based supply, and supply, its own demand” — which doesn’t work unless everybody can earn incomes from both labor and capital, and financing of new capital formation comes out of future savings instead of past savings), William Cobbett, Charles Morrison, William Thomas Thornton (no relation to Henry), Peter Stenger Grosscup, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, and Fulton Sheen for their advocacy of expanded capital ownership, and Harold Moulton for explaining the principles of corporate finance as they operate in a modern advanced economy.
On the “negative” side, the economic thought of John Maynard Keynes has been extremely important . . . for what it got wrong.  As Keynesian economics is the single most influential body of thought in political economy today — even Milton Friedman acknowledged this when he declared “we are all Keynesians now” — the damage done by adhering to his theories or even simply reacting against them has been incalculable.
Due to its incorporating binary economics, the Just Third Way is the only system in the world today that is neither Keynesian, nor a reaction against Keynes; the assumptions underlying the Just Third Way are fundamentally different from those underlying Keynesian, Chicago/Monetarist, and Austrian economics, as well as capitalism and socialism in general, viz., the understanding of money, credit, banking, and finance, the role of private property, and concepts of justice in all its forms.
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