THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Friday, August 14, 2009

News from the Network, Vol. 2, No. 33

According to a CNNmoney dot com report ("Recovery maybe here, but hold the celebration say economists"), "the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression is over." The problem is that nobody knows it yet: "most average Americans won't feel like things are significantly better in the near term."

Inasmuch as virtually all of the so-called "economic growth" has been the result of artificial stimulation by the federal government and the wild swings in the speculative market for secondary equity and debt, it is difficult to see how the alleged recovery is supposed to be sustained. Nevertheless,
The Wall Street Journal's survey of top economists, published Wednesday, found that 57% believe the recession is already over, while another 23% believe that the economy will turn in the next month or two. Most economists now expect growth in the gross domestic product, the broad measure of the nation's economic activity, of about 3% or more in the period of July through September.
Unless these so-called gains are the result of actual production of marketable goods and services in which ordinary people participate fully by contributing both labor and ownership, instead of State subsidies and buying and selling intrinsically worthless stocks and bonds back and forth on Wall Street, the so-called recovery will prove to be as ephemeral as the Keynesian New Deal. The New Deal resulted in a brief burst of artificially-stimulated prosperity until 1936, when things began to fall apart again. The "top economists" seem to forget that Keynesian programs did not end the Great Depression. It was the Second World War — and the world no longer has the capacity to carry on a struggle on that scale without facing total annihilation both financially and physically. . . aside from the fact that engaging in a war to reestablish prosperity scarcely meets the requirements for a just war.

Be that as it may, the main events of the week are:
• A series of important telephone conferences on the East St. Louis project have taken place this week. A great many details were discussed and relationships realigned. Several action items were reviewed and future assignments suggested. Some project specifics were reviewed and the process of evaluation begun.

• Work on the new book on money and credit is advancing rapidly. The middle section, consisting of an historical survey of ideas about money, credit, banking, and finance through the ages is nearing completion of the first draft stage. Among other things, our research has traced the roots of Keynes' misconceptions about money and credit. These embody, in part, the fallacies embedded in the British Bank Charter Act of 1844 and the United States National Bank Act of 1864, both considered applications of the theories underlying the proposals of the "British Currency School."

• A number of e-mails have been sent, following up on various personal contacts that were made over the past two weeks. No responses have been received, possibly because of the usual slowdown that occurs in August.

• We have located and purchased a rare copy of Keynes' Treatise on Money (1930), the book which Friedrich von Hayek reviewed and declared was filled with errors. Keynes made a few references to his Treatise on Money in subsequent works, but otherwise seemed content to let it lapse into obscurity without either correcting or repudiating it. Consequently, the two-volume Treatise on Money is one of Keynes' rarest titles. If you have books in the areas of economic and social justice, you might want to consider donating them to CESJ, after first checking to see if we don't already have them in our research library. We will do an internet search to determine the fair market value of the donation, and credit you with a tax-deductible contribution. (We usually use abebooks dot com to find out the price of collectible and used books.) You do not have to check first to see if we want any copies of The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) or The New Capitalists (1961), or even any of Kelso's later books. We have a constant demand for both titles, which are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain at reasonable prices.

• As of this morning, 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 two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the UK, Brunei, and Argentina. People in Israel, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, and Singapore spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular posting by far is "What Caused the Economic Crisis" from last week, followed by the letter to the Wall Street Journal on Caritas in Veritate, the Keynesian paradox of thrift (which seems to be especially popular in Brunei for some reason), the news reports, the response to Dr. Michael Novak (which has received no reply), the recent postings on the economic situation in Ireland, and the brief series on William Cobbett. With respect to the amount of time spent reading, the postings on "Can We Spend Out Way Out of the Recession," the usury series, and the Cobbett series appear to be the most popular.
Those are the happenings for this week, at least 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." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.