As of this writing (10 am), the stock market is plunging. The world is coming to an end. Again. According to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, this is due to the rapid decline in the price of oil. The fall in oil stocks is having a ripple effect throughout the market, with the perceived increase in consumer spending due to the illusion of increased disposable income not enough to offset the perceived decrease in future revenue from oil.
|The Tulip Mania of 1636; Everybody got taken for a ride.
You, of course, see the problem. As with everything else on Wall Street, the issue is not grounded in reality, but in what people think is going to happen if something they think might happen has a potential effect. Facts? Who needs facts? The secondary market in debt and equity runs on the triumph of opinion over knowledge, not on how well or ill the primary market that produces and distributes marketable goods and services does its thing.
That may be why this has been such a “thin” news week, but here goes:
|Agrarian Socialist Henry George (1839-1897)
• The discussion with the georgists was unilaterally terminated. This was due to some of the georgists making assertions about the Catholic Church that any reasonable person would construe as an attack. This blog has not posted attacks on Judaism, Islam, or any other organized religion, nor will an exception be made for the Catholic Church. A call to flood the blog with spam was handled by Google when the georgist robot triggered an automatic filter that requires anyone commenting (including the owner of the blog!) to verify that he or she is not a robot. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone trying to comment, but we had no control over it.
• Filming of the video to launch the Campaign for Distributive Justice has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. We will work to launch on or before the nineteenth using still photos, replacing them in the future with a video when it is filmed.
|Proto-Populist Adam Smith?
• We came across an interesting fact this week about Adam Smith. Prior to the publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the focus of the relatively new science of political economy was how to accumulate as much gold and silver in your country to enrich the sovereign and make the nation powerful — in short, mercantilism. In the introduction to Book IV of The Wealth of Nations, however, Smith claimed that the purpose of economic activity is to enrich both the sovereign and the people — a radical idea at the time (and he wrote it before the Declaration of Independence). The Just Third Way takes Smith’s anti-mercantilist orientation one more step, and claims that the purpose of economic activity is to enrich the people . . . to whom the State must come for a grant of taxes in order to defray the legitimate costs of government.
|Twenty-first Century Lincoln Rick Santorum?
• Rick Santorum is exploring another run for the presidency in 2016. CESJ president Norman Kurland and CESJ counselor, the late Father Cassian Yuhaus, met with Santorum some time back when he was a senator. Santorum was positive about the Just Third Way, and opened the door for Norm to present CESJ’s Iraq Oil Proposal at the Pentagon. If someone could open the door again to Santorum, he might see how a presidential candidate who espouses Capital Homesteading and its potential to restore not merely the American economy, but the American Dream for everyone, could virtually walk into the White House in 2016.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 59 different countries and 55 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, Canada, India, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week were “Two Key Questions for the Georgists,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “In Your Face,” and “The Purpose of Production.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those 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, so we’ll see it before it goes up.