A number of recent events underscore the importance of implementing Just Third Way reforms as soon as possible in order to head off what could be some disastrous events and to resolve a number of existing situations that appear to be without viable solutions. Still, there are a number of initiatives working to move forward that give a little hope that what seem to be insurmountable problems can be dealt with in an effective and just manner:
• William Greider. It is with regret that CESJ learned of the recent death of economic writer and journalist William Greider (1936-2019), who included information on what we today call the Just Third Way in his bestselling book, Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country (1988). Our understanding of commercial and central banking has greatly expanded since Greider published his book, but his identification of the key role the Federal Reserve plays in today’s confused and confusing financial system and challenge to mainstream political and economic thought remain valuable, if only to focus attention on the desperate need for reform. We do not have to agree with the prescription to acknowledge that a disease exists.
|William Thomas Thornton|
• Irish Brexit Effect. The stated reasons for Great Britain to leave the European Union were concerns over sovereignty, immigration, and the ever-popular “the economy.” Of course, there was none of these concerns that could not be dealt with by implementing Just Third Way reforms — and still could be — but as matters now stand, the question is what happens now, and nowhere does that appear of more immediate concern than in the Republic of Ireland, which is the only country in the EU that shares a border with the United Kingdom. Great Britain is Éire’s largest customer for agricultural products, and losing even a small share of that market bodes ill to hit the already troubled Irish agricultural sector very hard. Ironically, Ireland’s own problems could in large measure be remedied by implementing Just Third Way reforms. Even more ironically something similar was advocated in 1848 by William Thomas Thornton (1813-1880) in his book A Plea for Peasant Proprietors to remedy both the disaster of An Gorta Mór (“The Great Hunger”) and centuries of British misrule of the island, and revised in 1878 to counter the Fenian threat, but when finally partially implemented was too little too late.
• Mitt Romney Vote. Republican Mitt Romney, the only Republican to vote against President Trump, may be facing censure from his party and his constituency. Those in favor of such a move, however, may want to reconsider their position. Whether or not you agree with Romney, one of the hallmarks of a free society is that people can express and act on their beliefs without fear of reprisal. As the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall characterized Voltaire’s attitude toward someone with whom he disagreed in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is even more important that a legislator be able to act in accordance with his convictions. As the Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke declared in a speech to the Electors of Bristol on November 3, 1774, “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” Censure Romney by all means . . . if you don’t mind teaching our leaders that it is much better and safer to do what they think is popular than what they believe is right. Adolf Hitler was very popular, but that didn’t make him right.
• State and Local Ownership Initiatives. According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, issued a report on January 20 of this year recommending that worker ownership initiatives be promoted at the state and local level. While it is not entirely clear that the report is clear of what “ownership” and “private property” consist, at least it puts expanded ownership (even if only limited to workers) on the table. That at least gives legitimacy to demands that a program like Capital Homesteading, that would encourage everyone to become a capital owner, also be given serious consideration.
• Democratic Candidate Supports Worker Ownership. Also according to the NCEO, Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts and the latest contestant in the multi-sided duel for the Democratic presidential nomination, is in favor of achieving “Significant Employee Ownership and Wealth Creation by 2050.” Patrick stipulates that such ownership must come “with True Leadership, Governance, and Control.” We would suggest that if Patrick is serious, he should consider Capital Homesteading, which would not limit expanded ownership initiatives solely to people employed by private sector corporations.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon 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.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 31 different countries and 42 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Frontier Thesis,” “Social Justice IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “News from the Network, Vol. 13, No. 5,” “The Facts of Life,” and ““Part I: Is the Just Third Way Communist?”
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.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.#30#