Friday, October 20, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 42



A number of projects have made great progress over the past week, from the proposed re-launch of The Just Third Way Hour to the final editing and review of Red Star Over Bethlehem.  Perhaps it won’t be too much longer before world leaders start catching on to the fact that there is a viable alternative to the sad condition of today’s society:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Make Tax Reform Even Worse



All the recent talk about tax reform, good, better, and worst, has focused on the debate as to which philosophy of taxation, and which specific tweaks to the existing system, will best stimulate an acceptable rate of economic growth.  Commentary has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, with the usual barrage of inane and erudite remarks, interspersed with more or less veiled attacks on the intelligence, motives, and fashion sense of anyone on the other side, but no one has raised the real issue here:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nothing Succeeds Like Secess!



Secessionism, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday (“Secessionism’s Dangerous Return,” 10/17/17, A15), is big, it’s bad, and it’s back.  The way things are going, it’s 1914 all over again, with the big powers and little people squaring off for a final showdown.  As the author, Walter Russell Mead, a fellow of the Hudson Institute and Professor of Foreign Affairs at Bard College, opines,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Austria’s Shift Right . . . or Left



The Königsee in Austria
Both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post commented on Austria’s recent election that there was a shift to the right.  Both papers cited gains by the “Freedom Party,” Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, founded in 1956 as a right-wing populist and national-conservative political party originally led by a former National Socialist and SS officer opposed to socialism and Catholic “clericalism.”  The party’s advance to the number two spot in the number of seats in the legislature is attributed to growing sentiment against immigrants.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Few Thoughts on Mondragon



Last week we came across an article on the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain.  And what are the Mondragon Cooperatives, you ask?  (People who are not familiar with them tend to get blank looks, even outrage, when they admit they never heard of them so we’ll spare you the humiliation if you don’t know.  And the sense of superiority if you do. . . .)

Friday, October 13, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 41


Yet another week filled with outreach and information.  The Big Event this week, of course, has been the National Cooperative Business Association Conference, with a number of CESJ representatives interacting with some of the “higher ups” in the organization and discussing the complementarity of the Just Third Way and the coop movement.  There have been a few other things, as well:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Solidarismo Costariccense: The Solidarity Movement in Costa Rica



With so many members of the CESJ core group in town who knew and worked with Don Alberto Martén Chavarría, founder of the solidarity movement in Costa Rica, we thought we’d let people know a little bit more about it, especially as it provides a core organization that might provide a core organization around which to put together the rebuilding of the entire region.  There can obviously be improvements to make it more consistent with the Just Third Way, but the solidarity movement is a great advance over previous arrangements:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Puerto Rico: A Few Suggestions



It’s unverified (by us), but we’ve heard that the “Jones Act Waiver” for Puerto Rico is going to expire and won’t be renewed.  And what, exactly, does that mean?  The “Jones Act,” which dates from the 1920s, stipulates that cargoes going from one U.S. Port to another must be carried on U.S. flag vessels.  This presumably helps the struggling U.S. Merchant Marine by providing employment . . . and greatly increases prices in Puerto Rico. . . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Project Economic Justice: President Reagan’s Speech, II



What with everything else that has happened, Puerto Rico seems to have disappeared from public attention . . . that is, until people start wondering how to rebuild without bankrupting the rest of the United States.  Oddly enough, a possible program for rebuilding that will make money instead of costing money is ready to hand, and only needs to be implemented.  Today we look at the second part of President Ronald Reagan’s speech to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice that presented the plan.  This is a follow-up to the extract from the strategy paper, “Project Economic Justice: A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” which led up to the work of the Task Force.  For those interested in seeing and hearing rather than (or in addition to) reading, here is the video of the speech:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Project Economic Justice: President Reagan’s Speech, I


Today we post the first half of President Ronald Reagan’s speech to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice on August 3, 1987.  This is a follow-up to the extract from the strategy paper, “Project Economic Justice: A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” which led up to the work of the Task Force.  For those interested in seeing and hearing rather than reading, here is the video of the speech:

Friday, October 6, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 40



Things continue to move forward on the expanded ownership front, although the powers-that-be don’t seem to have glommed on to the potential of the Just Third Way for solving a rather large number of problems that otherwise seem insoluble.  Perhaps if those of you reading this would send the links for the Project Economic Justice strategy paper extract or the text of President Reagan’s speech to a politician or two, we might see some action. . . . In the meantime:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Project Economic Justice: Two-Tiered Capital Credit System, II



Continuing our examination of a program that could be instituted to rebuild Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, today we continue looking at Part II of the “strategy paper” that led to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice, “Project Economic Justice: A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” to be followed by President Reagan’s speech to the Task Force.  Today we post the first part of the second section of Part II, along with the introductory section from yesterday that will be repeated for each section as it is posted:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Project Economic Justice: Two-Tiered Capital Credit System, I



Continuing our examination of a program that could be instituted to rebuild Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, today we continue looking at Part II of the “strategy paper” that led to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice, “Project Economic Justice: A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” to be followed by President Reagan’s speech to the Task Force.  Today we post the first part of the second section of Part II, along with the introductory section from yesterday that will be repeated for each section as it is posted:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Project Economic Justice: A New Social Contract



Continuing our examination of a program that could be instituted to rebuild Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean, today we begin looking at Part II of the “strategy paper” that led to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice, “Project Economic Justice: A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” to be followed by President Reagan’s speech to the Task Force.  Today we post the first section of Part II, along with an introductory section that will be repeated for each section as it is posted:

Friday, September 29, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 39



This week’s news notes give a graphic illustration of the universal applicability of the Just Third Way principles and even specific vehicles for expanding ownership in ways that avoid putting the burden on current taxpayers by raising taxes, or future taxpayers by incurring a burden of (more) debt.  Of course, we refer primarily to Puerto Rico, but there is also the Virgin Islands, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Florida, and even the city of Detroit, Michigan:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Project Economic Justice: Ideological Framework



As we noted yesterday, we will be posting the original “strategy paper” that led to the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice, “Project Economic Justice:A Beachhead for Regional Infrastructural Reform,” to be followed by President Reagan’s speech to the Task Force.  Today we post Part I of the paper in its entirety:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Project Economic Justice: Origins



Hurricane Maria wreaked what the news services are calling unprecedented devastation on Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean, and for once it is not the usual media hype and hyperbole.  Agriculture, infrastructure, and anything else you care to name is in ruins.  Added to what happened already in the Virgin Islands, the situation in Cuba, Venezuela, etc., etc., etc., and a virtually endless catalogue of catastrophe, as soon as the politicians stop wringing their hands and trying to find someone to blame, there is going to be the need for a comprehensive plan to rebuild not just Puerto Rico, but the entire region.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What, Exactly, Is “Infallibility”?



Bear with us, if you don’t mind.  This really does have something to do with the Just Third Way and Capital Homesteading.  In addition to the three principles of economic justice (Participative Justice, Distributive Justice, and Social Justice), and binary economics, the Just Third Way depends a great deal on the natural law applications found in Catholic social teaching.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The First . . . Homesteader?



Everybody knows — or should know — that Abraham Lincoln was the one who put through the first Homestead Act in 1862 . . . right?

Friday, September 22, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 38



What with Trump and Kim Jong Un “exchanging insults,” earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida, it doesn’t seem as if there is very much good news to report from anywhere.  Still, we’ve managed to round up a few items that might help make your day a little brighter, or at least bearable:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Rise of Socialism



In theory, there is no reason why anyone with a financially feasible capital project cannot participate in the process of money creation by entering into a contract.  In practice, however, money creation is reserved to those who are already wealthy.  This is because they control collateral, the universal means for securing against financial risk.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Philosophies at War



In 1943 at the height of the Second World War, Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) published Philosophies at War.  The book gave Sheen’s perspective on the real source of the conflict.  A thematic follow-up to such earlier works as Religion Without God (1928), and Freedom Under God (1940), the work is not well known, and is very rare.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Greece on the Skids



It has been a while since Greece was in the news, but that doesn’t mean the situation there is any better . . . it just means that other things are more immediate, and more bright and shiny to catch the eye of the media.  The problem, however, is still with us — and by “with us,” we’re implying that the problem Greece faces right now is what is down the road for everybody once we’re too far gone down the path laid out for us by Keynesian economics.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Is Education the Answer?



When some says that something or other is the answer, we always have the impulse to say, “What is the question?”  If you aren’t asking the right question, frankly, any answer will do, just as if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.  Fortunately, today’s question was asking why governments are reacting to widespread unemployment and the disappearance of many jobs by advocating more education.

Friday, September 15, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 37



What with the surge in natural disasters, news on the Just Third Way front has slowed somewhat.  Still, there are a number of things that have been happening that suggest things may eventually be turning from the wrong way, to the Just Third Way:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Stimulus and the Global Financial Crisis



Every now and then we get some questions or comments to which we can respond.  Oh, we don’t mean like the troll who, in response to our comment about how it’s better that government should go to the people for its money rather than the other way around, shrieked that there should be no government at all, that it’s a thief, that anarchy is the only ethical system!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Social Justice and the American Red Cross



As the result of what are perceived as inadequacies in the disaster relief efforts of the American Red Cross (ARC), some authorities are urging people not to contribute to the organization.  Granted that serious mistakes have been made, and that this writer has personal reasons for not contributing to the ARC, attempting to undermine the institution is itself a serious error, and the antithesis of social justice.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Taxing Problem: Production and Consumption



We’ve covered quite a bit on why a consumption tax might not be the best way to go in this short series.  We have one more reason, and it might not be one that occurs to most people simply because it is highly technical and gets into economic and financial theory.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Taxing Problem: Own or Be Owned



We were going to talk about how a consumption tax distorts consumption patters today, but we might get to that tomorrow.  This is the good part about being “the Boss of the Blog.”  You can change your mind at the last minute and still not get fired or anything. . . .

Friday, September 8, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 36



While most people are quite properly focused on the remarkable series of natural disasters that have occurred over the past week — the “law of the urgent over the important” — we have been able to make some progress in advancing the solution to more manageable problems, such as war and the economy:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Taxing Problem: It’s STILL Regressive



Yesterday we looked at the problem of a consumption tax from the perspective of “rule of law.”  We decided (we did; we don’t know what you decided) that a consumption tax when it relies on people proving they spent as much as they did on consumption in order to get their exemption, is contrary to a sound philosophy of law that we call “rule of law.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Taxing Problem: Rule of Law



Abolishing the income tax sounds great at first glance.  Nobody likes to pay taxes anyway, and all the expletive deleted recordkeeping, penalties, interest, weird requirements, etc., etc., etc., only add insult to injury.  So why not have a national consumption tax of some kind instead of an income tax?  The regulatory burden would be much less, and everybody’s life would be much simpler, wouldn’t it?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Universal Basic Income



There has been a lot of discussion recently about the UBI, the “Universal Basic Income,” by means of which every citizen . . . or maybe every person . . . or perhaps just those whom the government bureaucracy likes . . . or whatever, would receive enough cash to meet their needs adequately . . . or maybe just basic subsistence . . . or maybe something else, depending on who makes the decisions.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Capital for Labor Day!



This past Friday, September 1, 2017, we read the “Labor Day Statement 2017” of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Most Reverend Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, September 4, 2017.  It’s dated today, but it was released last week . . . possibly to give its author a running start to get out of town ahead of angry mobs of the unemployed.

Friday, September 1, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 35



There is quite a bit going on this week, especially given the advances the Just Third Way is making in the media, what with the phenomenal increase in the audience for The Just Third Way Hour.  Although we have not yet received verifiable figures as to that audience size, there are already initiatives underway to leverage it to help get the word out:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Money Creation for Dumbos



We don’t really mean what we say in the heading of this blog posting.  First, we couldn’t use “for Dummies,” because that one was already taken.  Second, our readers aren’t dummies.  Third, our readers aren’t flying elephants, either.  Come to think of it, “Money Creation Made Easy” might have been a better heading, except that money creation isn’t easy.  It is, however, quite simple.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Legal Counterfeiting



The late Paul Samuelson once quoted the late Irving Fisher regarding the monetary policies of the late John Maynard Keynes to the effect that what developed into Keynesian “Modern Monetary Theory” is, in reality, nothing more than “legal counterfeiting.”  While it is unusual to find so many defunct economists in agreement on this point, there is another that is even more remarkable:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Crypto Currencies: Coin or Con Game?



Just yesterday the Wall Street Journal had an opinion piece by Mr. Andy Kessler, who writes for the Journal on technology and markets.  The article, “The Bitcoin Valuation Bubble” (August 28, 2017, A15) raised some interesting questions . . . such as, What is a “Bitcoin,” anyway?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Taxation and Representation

We're still having computer problems, but that will not stop "the Happy Revolution" . . . even though such things don't exactly make us completely happy!  (Obviously.)  Today we're featuring the (unedited) exchange we recently had on FaceBook with a commentator who is proposing a reform of the entire tax system, but — injudiciously in our opinion — has not considered the implications of his proposal, nor what taxation really is.