Today we have our fourth monthly “special edition” of the News from the Network that has a number of features that we are sure you will find interesting:
Quote of the Month
We find this month’s quote from Henry C. Adams to be particularly appropriate, especially in light of the fact that it was two-hundred years ago that Daniel Webster noted during the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1820 that “Power naturally and necessarily follows property.” From the Just Third Way perspective, the solution to this natural tension between power and property, of course, is found in the Economic Democracy Act (formerly the Capital Homestead Act), the goal of which (as Pope Leo XIII said) is create a legal, financial, and social environment within which “private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.” (Rerun Novarum, § 46):
The broad theory of constitutional liberty is that the people have the right to govern themselves; but the historical fact is that, in the attempt to realize this theory, the actual control of public affairs has fallen into the hands of those who possess property.
Henry C. Adams, Public Debts, An Essay in the Science of Finance.
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898, p. 9.
• Real Economic Stimulus. It has become extraordinarily clear that, however desperately an increasing number of people may need assistance during the pandemic, simply redistributing wealth — whether directly through the tax system or indirectly through the monetary system — is not a solution. What is needed is a program that can help everyone become productive, either through their labor or their capital. Since “creating jobs” has proven to be an extremely costly and self-defeating form of redistribution in many cases, it is evident that the only real solution is to make as many people as possible capital owners, and that means the Economic Democracy Act.
• Fratelli Tutti. Consistent with the belief that the solution to massive social problems lies in redistributing existing wealth, His Holiness Pope Francis seems to have fallen into popular error in his latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. This is not to say that much, if not all, that the pope recommends may be necessary, even essential, in the short term as an expedient, but to rely on emergency measures as a solution is to go against human nature, which is contrary to justice and even charity. This is because in Aristotelian-Thomism, the natural law is derived from human nature, which is a reflection of God’s Nature, and thus cannot be violated without going contrary to reality. As is the case in civil and domestic society these days, religious society needs to get behind the Economic Democracy Act.
• Economic Personalism Book. Everything seems to be ready to go for the submission to the printer and for making an electronic version available for free. The only tasks remaining are to prepare the text for the distributor’s catalogue and the landing page for the free electronic version. We anticipate that we will submit the files to the printer some time next week, with the trade paperback available for both retail and bulk sales within one to two weeks after that. The free electronic version should be available sooner.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos. Somewhat surprisingly for presentations intended for a “Catholic audience,” the series of videos being put out by the Sensus Fidelium YouTube channel, that now have upwards of 55,000 views, seem to be more popular with non-Catholics than with Catholics! This might be because they focus on the “natural law” foundation of Catholic social teaching, which applies to every human being, not just Christians in general or Catholics in particular. Consequently, the story related seems to be of interest to people of all faiths and philosophies who are concerned about how the world might have gotten itself into the shape it’s in and a possible way of getting out of it.
Just Third Way Definition
Continuing our look at the virtue of justice, this month we look at the particular virtue of “economic justice,” an application of social justice:
|Louis O. Kelso|
Economic Justice, which touches the individual person as well as the social order, encompasses the moral principles which guide us in designing our economic institutions. These institutions determine how each person earns a living, enters into contracts, exchanges goods and services with others and otherwise produces an independent material foundation for his or her economic sustenance. The ultimate purpose of economic justice is to free each person to engage creatively in the unlimited work beyond economics, that of the mind and the spirit.
Like every system, economic justice involves input, out-take, and feedback for restoring harmony or balance between input and out-take. Within the system of economic justice as defined by Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler, there are three essential and interdependent principles: Participative Justice (the input principle), Distributive Justice (the out-take principle), and Social Justice (the feedback and corrective principle). Like the legs of a three-legged stool, if any of these principles is weakened or missing, the system of economic justice will collapse.
This month’s feature article requires a little bit of “mental editing.” Our terminology has changed from “Capital Homestead Act” to “Economic Democracy Act,” but the substance remains the same, as can be seen from this “economic justice classic” article from 2005:
Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen:
Reforming the Tax System
Norman G. Kurland, Dawn K. Brohawn, Michael D. Greaney
Tax Notes, “Tax Analysts: Current and Quotable,” October 24, 2005
CESJ Editor’s Note (11/11/08): The proposed level of tax exemptions under the Capital Homestead Act has been increased since this article was published in 2005. The exemptions from federal taxes allowed for a family of four, for example, have been raised to the first $100,000 of family income (previously $30,000), keeping more money in their pockets to pay for living expenses including their health coverage and education. See http://www.cesj.org/socialsecurity/projections-cha.htm.
Extract: “Few Americans today would label the U.S. tax system as either simple or fair. Many Americans believe that tax breaks are mainly benefiting the extremely wealthy. While the top 5% of Americans account for more than half of all personal income tax revenues, through advantageous arrangements wealthy taxpayers frequently are able to avoid paying anything but a token amount of taxes on their capital incomes. The payroll tax and sales and excise taxes take a much bigger share of disposable income from middle and low income Americans than from wealthy Americans, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.”
Video of the Month
This month’s video is another episode from the series on the background of the development of Economic Personalism:
• New Book Endorsements. We’re coming out with a new book on economic personalism very soon. Do you know anyone of note or an institution that might be interested in giving us an endorsement? If so, consider approaching that individual or organization and asking if they would like a complimentary copy, and let us know who and where to send it, either the ebook link or hard copy. It doesn’t matter if they are “liberal” or “conservative,” as long as they care about helping make a better life for everyone.
• Surrender to Your Muse. Send us your cartoons, links to your videos, articles, and so on. Anything that has a direct connection to the Just Third Way will be considered, and credit will be given.
• News Items. Submit brief news items. We can use them for the weekly News from the Network as well as the monthly newsletter format, so don’t be stingy or shy.
In a rather surprising discovery, we found that the National Biscuit Company — Nabisco — had an employee stock ownership plan in 1901. It was, of course, nothing like the ESOP Louis Kelso invented. It provided a single share of preferred stock (meaning not as good as the controlling common stock) to any employee willing to purchase it on the installment plan. Promoted as a worker benefit, it was announced February 21, 1901. It’s not clear how long the program lasted or the actual benefit to the employees.
• 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 24 different countries and 41 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, the Philippines, India, and Canada. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “JTW Podcast: Socialism, Part 12: The Act of Social Justice,” “The Slavery of Savings,” “The Just Third Way of Economic Personalism,” “News from the Network, Vol. 13, No. 43, “ and “How to Have Your Cake and Eat It.”
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 incivility in the past on the part of some commentators, we have disabled comments.