As of this moment (around noon, EDST), the Dow is holding "steady" at a loss of 200. This may be due to the usual slow trading as staff go to lunch. (Believe it or not, the noon lunch break actually helped slow some of the frenzy in 1929, at least the first couple of days.) What will happen in the afternoon is anybody's guess. The panic mode may inspire the politicians to announce another round of "quantitative easing," or news from Asia or Europe may change the picture — but what that means will only be determined by how the gamblers choose to interpret matters.
In the meantime, we keep moving forward to try and get the doors opened to the gatekeepers and prime movers:
• The "Jobs Data" are out for May. Instead of the anticipated estimate of 158,000 new jobs forecast by the economists, there were only 69,000. This is a net loss, and the official unemployment rate went up a tenth from 8.1% to 8.2%. The obvious solution is to stop relying on jobs and switch to ownership, but word hasn't seeped through to the prime movers yet.
• In response to the "weak" jobs report, as of 11:15 am (EDST), the Dow was down over 200 points. We have no idea what this means or what it will be by the end of the day, for the stock market, while categorized as a leading economic indicator, seems to react a little too quickly to unemployment, a lagging economic indicator. In other words, cause and effect — logic — are reversed. If we realize that the stock market is not actually an economic indicator, but an emotional indicator of gambling fever, this begins to make a little sense — although it doesn't explain why we are asking gamblers for their opinion as to the health of the economy. The purpose of economic activity is to produce marketable goods and services for consumption. The purpose of gambling is to have the luck to take what someone else has produced without having to offer anything in exchange that you have produced.
• Kicking retirees and potential retirees in the teeth is that, in response to the weak jobs report, yields on ten-year U.S. Treasuries fell to less than 1.5%. In the words of one analyst, this "will mean major product changes to the fixed annuity marketplace." Financial advisors are being warned to lock their clients in to current yields before they go even lower, especially if there is another round of "quantitative easing" to cheapen retiree's holdings of government debt and people refuse to buy any more in the face of falling yields.
• The financial emotionalism (we'd say "panic," but that has a specific meaning in this context which is not what we're talking about) has given fuel to those who want another round of "quantitative easing" as the solution. That is, print up more money with nothing but government debt behind it (i.e., counterfeit), and hope that the Keynesian system finally starts to function as advertised, although that has yet to happen in the 80 or so years they've been trying to get it to work.
• The "jobs situation" is actually almost exactly 300% worse than the official statistics let on. Wednesday's Washington Post had an article ("Prime-Age Workers Still Lost in the Recession's Undertow," A1, A12). The aggregate unemployment rate for all workers in the age 24-54 range is (check it yourself) 24.3%. The official statistic is 8.2%, up from 8.1%. Do the math. Unemployment during the worst of the Great Depression of the 1930s was almost the same as today.
•We had a very good telephone conversation on Tuesday with a Harvard Law School professor who thanked us for alerting her to a body of thought on law and economics (the Just Third Way) of which she had previously been unaware. We sent her links to The Capitalist Manifesto (pointing out the importance of Chapter 5), Father Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice, and the brief outline of Capital Homesteading.
• Daniel Moore, a CESJ National Field Secretary in Ohio, has made a number of important connections in the labor movement in Ohio and in the national office of Catholic Charities in Washington, DC — simply by being persistent and targeting key individuals. Dan did not try to "sell" the connections on the Just Third Way himself. Instead, he said enough to intrigue the people and get them interested in talking to Norman Kurland.
• Russell Williams, a CESJ National Field Secretary in Connecticut, has been named Social Justice Coordinator for his region's Baptist Convention. By taking advantage of the political outreach techniques outlined in Father William Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice and providing substance in the form of the three principles of economic justice and the four pillars of an economically just society of the Just Third Way, Russell now has the position to be able to reach out effectively first within the Baptist community, and then to other churches and religions to gather interfaith support for the Just Third Way as applied in Capital Homesteading — and to free all Americans and people everywhere from economic slavery to the State.
• On a somewhat lighter note, CESJ's Director of Research, Michael D. Greaney, has managed to get CESJ mentioned in a number media outlets from Northern Virginia to Valley City, North Dakota in connection with his appointment as new "Coordinator" of the Irish SIG of American Mensa. Bringing in CESJ and the Just Third Way as a secondary issue or bit of information can sometimes be effective in helping to spread the word, even if it is a little indirect.
• In connection with his appointment, Michael is planning on integrating Just Third Way material into the SIG's newsletter, Litir Scéala an tSIG Gaelach, when appropriate. Subscriptions to the "e-zine" newsletter are free, and you don't have to be a member of Mensa either to subscribe or to register as a SIG member. Subscribers will get a monthly newsletter to be published on the 17th of every month, quarterly publications flyers, and occasional special announcements. You can forward all material to your network via e-mail, especially if there is some Just Third Way material brought in. It might prove to be an effective means of spreading the word. A special effort is being made to get organizations to sign up as "Institutional Members" that can then circulate the newsletter among their members.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 62 different countries and 51 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Canada, India, and Australia. People in Syria, Egypt, the United States, Taiwan, and Brazil spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Aristotle on Private Property," "The Global Debt Crisis I: What is the Problem?" "The Global Debt Crisis V: What's Really Going On?" and "The Global Debt Crisis VII: A Permanent Solution."
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.