Something is clearly wrong, especially with President Obama's vision of hope and change. Evan Bayh of Indiana has just announced he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate. ("Bayh's Leaving is Latest Setback to Party," The Washington Post, 02/16/10, A1.) Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut — senior Senators in key positions — had already announced they were not running for reelection. Ted Kennedy's Democratic sinecure in Massachusetts went to a Republican, and so on. Something clearly has to be done, and done right away.
First, however, a quick lesson in social justice: as we've noted a number of times on this blog, and as is explained in William Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice, social justice — organized efforts to restructure our institutional environment in order to lower barriers to full and effective participation in the common good — takes time. That being the case, what do you do in the meantime to take care of all the immediate problems that keep cropping up? You take care of them, of course. Just be careful that whatever you do doesn't negate or contradict the long-range solution that you're working toward in social justice.
Unfortunately, that is what is happening all over, most recently with the "PIIGS" crisis in Europe. ("The Greek Tragedy that Changed Europe," The Wall Street Journal, 02/13-14/10, W1.) Consistent with the principles of Keynesian economics, in which you can continue to spend without producing forever and ever without the bill ever coming due, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain — the PIIGS — have habitually spent more than they have produced, or that people have available to tax. To add to the problem, unions in Greece are demanding increases in pay and benefits without a corresponding increase in production.
Obviously, this situation is unsustainable. As Jean-Baptiste Say explained to the Reverend Thomas Malthus nearly two centuries ago,
Since the time of Adam Smith, political economists have agreed that we do not in reality buy the objects we consume, with the money or circulating coin which we pay for them. We must in the first place have bought this money itself by the sale of productions of our own. . . . it is impossible for [us] to buy any articles whatever to a greater amount than that which [we] have produced either by [our]selves, or by means of [our] capitals and lands. (Jean-Baptiste Say, Letters to Mr. Malthus on Several Subjects of Political Economy and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce. London: Sherwood, Neely & Jones, 1821, 2.)Even more simply put, you can't spend what you don't have — and you won't have anything if you don't produce something. Attempts to get out of a hole by digging it deeper (the Keynesian solution), or just stop spending so much money (the Monetarist and Austrian solution) are worse than doing nothing. They give the illusion that something positive is being done and build false hopes, while in reality the situation is being made worse by adherence to systems that have already proven either inadequate or counterproductive, and the maintenance of barriers that inhibit or prevent ordinary people from becoming productive.
Nobody is addressing the real issue: how do you make people productive so that 1) they have something to spend to meet their needs without going into debt, and 2) they have something that the State can tax and spend to meet its needs without going into debt. There are significant barriers in place preventing either individuals and families, or the State from meeting their needs out of current income, that is, out of what is currently being produced. Europe (and the rest of the world) has been living off of past accumulations, and the bill is coming due.
The single most important of these barriers is twofold: 1) the people in charge of the system don't understand money, and consequently 2) they continue to create money in ways that enslave rather than liberate people. This puts people at the service of money, rather than putting money at the service of people.
The solution is to organize in social justice and work together to change the way in which money is created, and to effect the change in a way that liberates people. We're already presenting the details of what needs to be done in our current blog series on the restoration of property, but writing and posting a blog, however careful the analysis and brilliant the presentation, is useless unless 1) people read the blog and send links to the blog out to their networks, and 2) policymakers become aware that there is a sound alternative to the raving insanity of thinking that they can continue to spend without producing, or can cut spending without having anything in the coffers in the first place.
The first of these steps we can accomplish immediately — that is, you, the reader, can do so, just by sending out links to these postings to your network. The second involves a little more effort: show up at the annual rally outside the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC on Thursday, April 15, 2010 (after you've filed your tax return, of course). If you can't make it to the rally (and even if you can), spread the work around your networks by (again) sending out links to the blog postings.
You might even try dropping a hint or two to your local media — those outlets that actually pay attention to their listeners and readers. Let them know that there is a possible solution to the current crisis that virtually no one in authority or a position of power is looking at, and direct them to the CESJ website for further information, especially the material on Capital Homesteading.
Mark your calendar: April 16, 2010.