This has been another busy week at CESJ, albeit one a trifle easier to write about than last week (which was also pretty full). Our meetings are productive . . . but they aren't the most fun or even informative to read about, even in short news items. Be that as it may, we have been making some significant progress:
• According to the NCEO Bulletin, the percentage of worker ownership in the private sector has been in a slight decline since reaching a plateau some years ago. A number of reasons are cited for this development, among them the general economic decline, loss of tax credits, and so on. Although this was not addressed, it may also be that, with growing government control of the economy — the federal deficit is projected to be 72.5% of GDP this year, as opposed to 40% four years ago, and every dollar of government debt means a dollar spent into the economy for government purposes, and a future dollar in taxes that must be collected to redeem the debt — workers are less willing to take responsibility for their own welfare, and companies are less willing to risk it. It might also be that, with the perception that government is willing to bail out failed companies considered "too big to fail," there is less incentive to implement worker ownership with its greater concern for the viability of the company.
• Supporters of the Just Third Way are urged to start preparing for the annual "Rally at the Fed" in April in Washington, DC. With the heightened focus on the economy and the failure (so far) of any of the incumbents and candidates to come up with a viable solution that doesn't involve a permanent outstanding government debt, a proposal that has the potential to eliminate deficits and the debt in a generation or so and achieve full employment without inflation should make for a lively topic of discussion. You should plan on attending just to see the (metaphorical) fireworks.
• It's well known that some of the people in CESJ and the Just Third Way are involved in the American Revolutionary Party. While there is no organizational affiliation, and CESJ does not endorse or support any candidate or party, the ARP has included much of what CESJ proposes for Capital Homesteading in its platform. Recently there were questions raised about the "don't subsidize, don't criminalize" position on abortion, with some people holding that removal of any government support is tantamount to criminalizing abortion, and others taking the position that not advocating criminalization is tantamount to supporting it. We believe that, while the arguments on both sides have some merit, there is no cause for concern. As explained in the book, Supporting Life: The Case for a Pro-Life Economic Agenda (2010) — available from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble in trade paperback, and in Amazon's Kindle format — we think that the "don't criminalize, don't subsidize" position is consistent with the natural law and thus the social teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (among others), and satisfies the demand for continued availability of abortion until such time as what A. V. Dicey called "public opinion" can come up with something that will completely satisfy both the Pro-Choice and the Pro-Life position — as we must admit is possible if we treat people holding a position that differs from our own as fellow human beings rather than demons. It's a complex argument, so don't expect to get it in the weekly news notes. You'll have to read the book.
• The CESJ core group had a very interesting and informative discussion with the president of the Foundation for Enterprise Development on Thursday. She is very concerned with how to foster entrepreneurship through worker ownership while maintaining a viable and vital corporate culture. That is something that Justice-Based Management is concerned with as well. There might be some common ground for future collaboration.
• Guy S. in Iowa put us in touch with a leader in Santorum's campaign. This represented the fruit of a lot of effort on Guy's part, and may help significantly in setting up another meeting between Rick Santorum and Norman Kurland. Not that we're limiting ourselves to a single candidate or party. If someone will listen and is willing to hear about something that has the potential to turn this country around (to say nothing of restoring the personal and individual sovereignty that supports the human dignity that is the hallmark of what America means), we are more than happy to give of our time.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 57 different countries and 49 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, the Philippines and India. People in Venezuela, Hong Kong, Australia, the United States and India spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Raw Judicial Power, Part XI: The Slaughterhouse Cases," "Aristotle on Private Property," "E. J. Dionne v. Citizens United," and "Raw Judicial Power, Part XIII: The Slaughterhouse Cases, Effects."
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.