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, February 26, 2010

News from the Network, Vol. 3, No. 8

The economic news is, as expected, contradictory, confusing, and changing by the moment. At almost the same time we read that home sales in January were down although prices rose (this only puzzles those people convinced that the laws of supply and demand are somehow a Capitalist Plot To Take Over The World), and within minutes an announcement that January Home Sales Are Expected to Show Growth. Stocks fall immediately after Bernanke announces a rate hike . . . and then follows with another announcement to the effect that he was just kidding. Stocks rise. Banks are not lending, so policymakers discuss ways to "incentivise" banks to lend to meet political goals, then Biden announces that he will push to implement new controls to protect workers' savings from political decisions.

If any of this makes sense, please let us know. Be warned in advance, however, that any justification or explanation of recent economic policy or decisions that references Keynes or Keynesian economics will be rejected on the grounds that Keynesian economics — and Monetarist and Austrian — is based on one or two assumptions that do not make sense, and is therefore inadequate to explain what's going on.

Virtually all current economic proposals, remedies, solutions, and what-not avoid or ignore the need to produce something before you can redistribute it, tax it, or whittle away its value with inflation. No one is addressing the pressing need to revive Say's Law of Markets and the real bills doctrine in a way that allows full participation by everyone both as owners of labor and of capital. Instead, they concentrate on attempting to drain more blood out of some very squeezed turnips and stones.

Virtually all — but not all. Our efforts to introduce policymakers and prime movers to the possibilities inherent in the Just Third Way and Capital Homesteading continue unabated — although (as we keep pointing out) we need you to bait (or bate?) the hook and start opening doors.
• Outreach efforts continue, with a number of CESJ members and friends working to open doors to individuals who have a good chance at getting us to people in power — prime movers. Naturally, while this makes for dull reading in these news briefs, we cannot report any specifics on these efforts until they bear fruit. For example, reporting that we are going to meet with the Lord High Everything Else of Titipu could easily result in canceling the meeting, or in giving His Lordship a bad opinion of us and reason to reject everything we say — no one likes to have his or her hand forced, and reporting these meetings could come across as trying to do just that. Since by the nature of these efforts and the admittedly low profile of CESJ on the public radar only a few actually do bear fruit, the most we can do is report that efforts are being made.

• While not all efforts at door opening are successful, we urge you to step up your efforts in that direction. The more efforts are made, the more will be successful — but no efforts will be made unless you undertake them. We cannot "sell ourselves." We need those "third party endorsements." Thus, if you truly believe that the Just Third Way and Capital Homesteading have the potential to pull the economy out of the recession in a way that opens up equal opportunity for participation by everyone as owners of labor and of capital — not just tame welfare recipients — then you should be making constant efforts to surface prime movers.

• The four-pronged strategy is not just surfacing potential prime movers, of course. It also entails surfacing you. That means you should be prepared to show up at the annual peaceful rally outside the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC, on April 15, 2010. We stress peaceful, because (possibly due to frustration) some people anticipate the "Tea Party" demonstrations planned for the same day might get out of hand. Of course, we believe that this is due primarily to the fact that the Tea Party movement, unlike the independence movement in colonial America from which it takes its inspiration, lacks a coherent and comprehensive goal and means to that goal. In part for that reason, the annual rally at the Federal Reserve will assemble near the main Tea Party demonstration in an effort to suggest a financially sound and politically feasible proposal — Capital Homesteading — with the goal of making every citizen an owner as a way out of the current financial and economic mess.

• The problem of rebuilding an economy almost from the ground up is one that has been faced many times in history. The key, of course, is production — production in which everyone participates both as an owner of both labor and capital. This was brought home by a recent re-reading of the novel, The Teahouse of the August Moon (1951) by Vern Sneider (1916-1981). Sneider, whose output consisted of four novels and a collection of short stories, covered the same theme in The King from Ashtabula (1960). Both of these novels appear to be out of print (although the play version of The Teahouse of the August Moon, 1953, is available — don't confuse it with the novel), but can be obtained at very reasonable prices at In both novels the protagonist (the American military commander of a village in Okinawa during the occupation in Teahouse, a college student who unexpectedly finds himself the hereditary ruler of a Pacific island in King) is faced with an economy in ruins. Both find that to make life bearable for the people in their charge they have to increase production of basic goods and services — food, clothing, and shelter — and at the same time establish new industries to replace what was destroyed in the war or to produce goods formerly imported and that are necessary for the people to produce more food, clothing, and shelter. For example, to make tatami (floor mats) in Teahouse, Captain Fisby, the American commander, has to carry a work crew to another part of the island where the special reeds for the mats grow, trade non-existent salt for the special loom to weave the mats, promise fish that haven't been caught with nets that don't exist to lure a salt maker to relocate to the village (and then "a white coat like the mayor's" to get the salt maker to start work), locate people with the special knowledge to make fishing nets and the material to make the nets, and promise future tatami to the naval engineer in charge of constructing a new officer's club to obtain the cloth necessary to provide the white coats everyone suddenly wants — and all this on the same morning trip. In order to make these exchanges of existing and future production much easier, Fisby "invents" money, currency, and then foreign exchange in commodities because nobody outside the village will accept the local currency that consists principally of oral promises backed by Fisby's personal word. The theme running through both books is how, once they are released from the artificial constraints imposed by other people's assumptions about the way things have to work (symbolized in Teahouse by Colonel Purdy's insistence that every village build a pentagon-shaped schoolhouse and institute a curriculum that has nothing but recreational activities — the schoolhouse materials are used in Fisby's village to start construction of a teahouse, which spurs all the ancillary industries and increased production that rebuilds the local economy) people will become productive and provide for themselves instead of sitting around waiting for the State (e.g., Captain Fisby) to hand out the daily distribution of sweet potatoes.

• Invitations to the Second Social Justice Collaborative on April 16, 2010 will be going out soon. If you want to receive an invitation (receiving an invitation or even requesting it does not commit you to attend), send an e-mail to dbrohawn [at] cesj [dot] org in the extremely near future (as in "before March 1, 2010"). There are rumors that pizza and soft drinks (a.k.a. "soda" and "pop" to easterners and midwesterners) will be provided for lunch.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 43 different countries and 43 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months — there must be something about the number 43. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Canada, Ireland (Éire) and Brazil. People in Egypt, Poland, Barbados, India and the United States spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings are Guy Stevenson's "Expanded Capital Ownership Now," Part I of the Restoration of Property series, "Ride the Pig," Part XX of the Political Animal series and "Waiting for the Penny" are the most popular postings.
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.