If you’re worried about the increasingly wild stock market fluctuations, President Obama’s State of the Union Address, the Bitcoin brouhaha, or the cold weather, don’t worry, we’re on it. All except for the cold weather. Today, however, we’re concentrating on this week’s news items, of which there are a couple of some significance:
• Two professors from Salisbury University in Maryland spent Tuesday of this week at Mid South Building Supply, Inc., a 100% worker-owned company headquartered in Springfield, Virginia. A delegation from the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), Norman G. Kurland and Dawn K. Brohawn, joined the professors and company top management for a dinner later. The professors were impressed with the success of the Mid South ESOP.
|Archbishop Corrigan of New York|
• Also on Tuesday we received a copy of a manuscript, cir. 1895, giving Archbishop Michael A. Corrigan of New York’s firsthand account of the “McGlynn Case” of 1886-1894. The controversies stirred up by Father Edward McGlynn, a priest of the New York Archdiocese, appear to be the primary source of the distortions of “distributive justice” that worked their way into Catholic social teaching. The situation seems to have been a contributing factor in the issuance of the first “social encyclical” by Pope Leo XIII in 1891: Rerum Novarum, “On Capital and Labor.”
|Judge Peter S. Grosscup|
• For years CESJ has been aware of the work of Judge Peter Stenger Grosscup (1852-1921), a justice on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, one of Theodore Roosevelt’s “trust busters.” A number of Judge Grosscup’s articles are on the CESJ website. From investigating newspaper accounts of the early 20th century, we have uncovered many new details of the relationship between Roosevelt and Grosscup, and why, possibly, Roosevelt did not stress expanded capital ownership as much as Grosscup did. It turns out that Roosevelt disagreed with a legal opinion issued by Grosscup in the Standard Oil rebate case, which led to a rift that lasted a number of years. Interestingly, we also discovered that Grosscup and Archbishop John Ireland, a friend of Roosevelt and a progressive (although often mischaracterized as a populist) who strongly supported Rerum Novarum against populist and socialist interpretations, seem to have been acquainted — at least they both served on the Committee on Arrangements of the National Conference on Trusts and Combinations in 1907.
|Grosscup as a young man|
• We recently obtained a rare copy of Grosscup’s 1908 journal article, “The Government’s Relation to Corporate Construction and Management” published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 32. In the article, Grosscup proposed that workers be given the opportunity to become part owners of the companies that employ them and, while not compulsory by any means, that the law should favor such a move. This is consistent with § 46 of Rerum Novarum, “We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.”
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 53 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, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Philippines, and Nigeria. The most popular postings this past week were “A Brief Course in Banking Theory, I: Banks of Deposit,” “Raw Judicial Power, I: ‘The Beginning of the Quarrel’,” “Some Thoughts on Money, Part II,” “Why Did Nixon Take the Dollar Off the Gold Standard?” and “Aristotle on Private Property.”
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.