In our last episode, we saw the distributist economist whom we have been calling “Tom Steele” (“Joe Wide” was, perhaps, sufficiently “broad” in his outlook to remain silent and be thought a fool rather than to open his mouth and remove all doubt) give us a piece or two of his mind. Judging from the amount he shares, he has a great deal of mind to spare. We hope. . . .
Monday, July 31, 2017
Friday, July 28, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Despite the extended analysis of the errors inherent in the position of “Tom Steele,” the distributist economist, and his associate, “Joe Wide” — pseudonyms we inserted to avoid making things personal — Wide seems to have remained silent. Perhaps he was persuaded of the truth of our position. Who knows?
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
So far in this discussion we have discovered that the distributist economist we’ve been calling “Tom Steele,” and his associate we’ve termed “Joe Wide,” have made three fundamental errors in their financial analysis. These are, 1) the belief that future cash flows can be known with absolute certainty in the present, 2) that there is an ideal value or price of something that has no relation to the value that buyers and sellers assign to what is being exchanged, and 3) Return On Investment (ROI), the discount rate, and the interest rate are all the same. We can now address what may be the most fundamental error of all: their understanding of money and credit.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Yesterday we looked at the notions of a distributist economist whom we’ve been calling “Tom Steele” and his associate, “Joe Wide,” regarding their assumption of absolute certainty of future events (future cash flows) and the existence of an ideal value of something that completely removes the opinion of the buyer and the seller as to the utility of what is exchanged in a transaction. In short, Wide and Steele take a “Platonic” view of the universe that assumes that ideas have an existence independent of the human mind, when the real world is Aristotelian.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Last week we began examining the claims made by a prominent “distributist economist,” whom we have been calling “Tom Steele,” as communicated through his associate, “Joe Wide.” We discovered that a number of assertions advanced by Wide and Steele regarding Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) simply did not fit the facts.
Friday, July 21, 2017
There seems to be an increasing polarization between “left” and “right,” or between “liberals” and “conservatives.” Very few people are aware of the fact that the Just Third Way has the potential to attain liberal goals without violating conservative principles:
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Yesterday we looked at the complaint of a “distributist economist” whom we are calling “Tom Steele,” who claims that workers purchasing a company on credit can never repay the loan principal because all earnings go to pay the interest. There are a few things wrong with that claim (like everything), but Steele’s associate, whom we are calling “John Wide,” made a few statements about ESOPs that are not, strictly speaking, accurate. We promised to look into those “alternative facts” today.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, we got a request for help from a member of the CESJ “Board of Counselors,” the advisory board of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice. The Counselor, a Catholic “permanent deacon” (whom we shall call “Deacon John”), had gotten into a discussion with a former member of the CESJ Board of Counselors and an associate of the former Counselor. The former Counselor had withdrawn from the organization after making a number of unsubstantiated claims concerning various individuals in general, and the Just Third Way in particular,.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
In The Quiet Man (1952)) — one of the greatest films of all time . . . except when Knute Rockne, All American (1940) is showing — one of the minor characters arguing with another (“Mister Maloney”) tries to clinch it by saying, “If you knew your country’s history as well as you claim to know it, you’d know that,” etc.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Some people in the nineteenth century considered Orestes Brownson a bit of a crank. He kept insisting that he wanted to know what was true, not what was convenient, expedient, or popular. That creates a bit of a problem when what you come to believe is true is inconvenient, not very expedient, or unpopular, especially when it annoys other people who don’t care to be reminded that truth is always true and prefer to go with opinions, preferably their own.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Bastille Day! We’d say “Happy Bastille Day!” but some people in France still think the French Revolution might not have been the best way to go, but it was significant, and it is important, even if we can’t give it wholehearted and enthusiastic support. Like anything, even (or especially) the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution, it could have been better, so let’s just celebrate it for what it was supposed to mean, not for any mistakes people might have made. Besides, we can’t be down on revolutions per se since the Just Third Way is (in a peaceful way) more earthshaking than the American and French Revolutions combined:
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Before his conversion to Catholicism in 1844, Orestes A. Brownson (1803-1876) was a supporter of the socialist ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, the Abbé Félicité de Lamennais, and many of their disciples. These included Pierre Leroux, whose work Brownson during his socialist phase greatly admired. (Butler, In Search of the American Spirit, op. cit., 88-89.) No one in the United States, therefore, was more alert to the dangers of all forms of socialism, or their seductive power over the minds of people, than he. (Ibid., 116-162.)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Last Friday’s “News from the Network” excited a bit of a controversy among Catholic socialists — evidently not an oxymoron, despite Pope Pius XI’s statement in § 120 of Quadragesimo Anno that, “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Yesterday we looked at what many people in power (both politically and financially) think of as “tax reform.” We discovered that there is a big problem when you’re trying to reform the labyrinthine tax code — it doesn’t matter which country, pretty near every one of them is a complete mess.
Monday, July 10, 2017
According to an article in last week’s Wall Street Journal, “America Once Led the World on Tax Reform” (07/06/17, A15), America once, er, led the world on tax reform. This is actually kind of meaningless, because what the author of the piece talked about was the fiddling with the Internal Revenue Code under President Reagan, not the more fundamental issues addressed by the Continental Congress under President (of the Continental Congress) John Hancock.
Friday, July 7, 2017
Things are heating up around the world with respect to problems that could be solved by applying the principles of the Just Third Way. Everywhere, from North Korea to England, we see the growth of State power and its intrusion into every aspect of life . . . and death. College students are tortured to death for stealing a piece of paper, infants are sentenced to death because the State has determined their lives can’t be saved and wouldn’t be worth living even if they could, and millions more infants are killed simply because they are inconvenient or might become so. It’s not a question of whether we need the Just Third Way, but how badly we need it:
Thursday, July 6, 2017
According to Reuters news service, Nestlé, the chocolate maker, has announced a buyback of its outstanding shares of up to 20 billion Swiss francs (cir. $20.79 billion) over the next three years. How much they actually buy back will depend on market conditions, share price, and so on.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
On Monday we looked at how the wage system operated in nineteenth century America prior to the Civil War. We noted that when times were good and workers in demand, wages tended to rise. When times were bad and workers had to take what they could get, wages tended to fall. We concluded that trying to induce prosperity by raising wages puts the cart before the horse; high wages don’t bring prosperity, prosperity brings high wages.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017
We had last Thursday’s posting on the minimum wage hike in Seattle in mind while doing some research into early nineteenth century socialism, especially the varieties promoted by Henri de Saint-Simon, Félicité de Lamennais, and Charles Fourier. All three claimed their systems were either a new version of Christianity, or replaced Christianity, whatever best suited their purposes.