As of this writing, the Dow is down more than a hundred points. It was up over a hundred the other day, just after it was down over a hundred. This is not a Good Thing for many reasons. From a historical and psychological point of view, it desensitizes people to fluctuations in the market, increasing what psychologists call “the zone of indifference,” i.e., “Ho-hum. It’s down a hundred, up a hundred . . . what’s on TV?”
Friday, May 29, 2015
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Crisis of Reason, III: Symptoms of Irrationality
Yesterday we looked at the source of today’s “crisis of faith,” which is really a crisis of reason. How is that? As every pope since Pius IX (including John Paul I . . . remember him?) has made clear, just as you must base charity on justice, you must base faith solidly on a foundation of reason. Reason does not replace faith, of course, any more than reason can replace faith. Faith completes and perfects reason, it does not contradict it. It’s faith AND reason, not faith OR reason.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Crisis of Reason, II: The Source of the Problem
A few thousand years ago the Roman poet Horace said that you can chase Nature out with a pitchfork, but she always comes back. The point, of course, is that you can’t really go against nature. Once the pressure is off, things always get back to normal.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Crisis of Reason, I: Bad News and Good News
Here’s the bad news — and it’s very bad news, not just for Catholics and other Christians, but for adherents of all organized religions, especially the “thinking” religions, such as Judaism and Islam. While there have always been those who just didn’t fit into the whole religion-thing (a category the Catholic Church covers with its “invincible ignorance” doctrine), an overall decline in the numbers of people who don’t go along with a program has always been a sign of a society in deep trouble.
Monday, May 25, 2015
Why Have Property?
Recently — over the past couple of centuries or so — the idea has grown up that ownership of capital is justified on the grounds that it is the best way to optimize the possibility of an adequate and secure income. As a bonus, property (the right to be an owner) also confers power. As Daniel Webster noted almost two hundred years ago, “Power naturally and necessarily follows property.”
Friday, May 22, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 21
The big news this week involves the backlash from the failed coup and political situation in Burundi. CESJ’s current Fellow is a top scholar from Burundi, bringing events there a little closer to home than is usual for happenings in East Africa. Despite that, Burundi remains a fascinating place, with great opportunities for implementing the Just Third Way once the situation stabilizes:
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Some Comments on Charity (and Justice)
There is massive confusion these days about the difference between justice and charity . . . to say nothing of the bewildered babblings about virtue itself, rights, duties, natural law and supernatural law, individual and social virtue . . . the list seems to be endless.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Some Comments on Subsidiarity
One definition of subsidiarity is “a principle of social doctrine that all social bodies exist for the sake of the individual so that what individuals are able to do, society should not take over, and what small societies can do, larger societies should not take over.”
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Some Comments on Rights, Subsidiarity, and Charity
A lot of discussion about economic and social justice brings up such esoteric concepts as “rights,” “subsidiarity,” and “charity.” The problem is that a lot of people who use the terms don’t really seem to be using the classic definitions of these concepts, but appear to be tailoring them to fit their current wants and needs.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Water on the Brain
Back in 1897 English novelist Louis Tracy (1863-1928) published An American Emperor: The Story of the Fourth Empire of France. Very briefly, a very rich American (in the popular English fiction of the day, there were two types of Americans: the bold rich entrepreneur, and the bold poor frontiersman, both of which were present in An American Emperor) has the idea, for various complicated and romantic reasons, of spending his millions to benefit humanity, specifically the Republic of France.
Friday, May 15, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 20
Stock Market soar like eagle . . . to suck in all the turkeys . . . We’ve talked enough about the stock market, though, and prefer to report on something most people and all politicians are unaware of: the alternative to the fake economic growth caused by government debt and stock market speculation. We refer, of course, to Capital Homesteading, and our efforts to tell people about the Just Third Way:
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Religion v. Science? Or Faith AND Reason?
It comes as a surprise to many people that the pope is as entitled as anyone else to his opinion on what should be done about climate change. This doesn’t make it a matter of religious doctrine, nor could it be an infallible declaration.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
What is an “Encyclical”?
We’re not really interested in purely religious matters on this blog (although sometimes our opinion as to what constitutes a “purely religious matter” may differ from others in the Just Third Way Gang), but we are trying to get to various prime movers and leaders with vision to get them behind the Just Third Way . . . one of whom happens to be Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
A Few Comments on the Minimum Wage
Back in the late 1960s labor-statesman Walter Reuther testified before Congress on the ideas of Louis O. Kelso, noted as the inventor of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Reuther noted that if workers relied on raising fixed wage to increase consumption income, they would end up worse off than before. Raising wages simply adds to the cost of producing marketable goods and services.
Monday, May 11, 2015
The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, VI: People-izing the Corporation
The first principle of economic justice as defined by Kelso and Adler and refined by CESJ is participation. The institutions of the common good must be open to participation by everyone. That is why the principle of participation — participative justice — leads off the three principles of economic justice. After all, if the system isn’t working the same (or nearly the same within reasonable parameters) for everyone, it really cannot be said to be a just system.
Friday, May 8, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 19
A number of important contacts have been made to advance the “Five for the Family” campaign. This could result in the campaign starting to generate the essential number of “likes” and “shares” (by the way, you can “like” only once, but you can “share” as many times as you wish (we would have said “as you like,” but that would have been a little confusing.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, V: Financing Widespread Ownership
In yesterday’s blog, we posted the portion of Grosscup’s “long lost” speech that looked at the two primary types of barriers to widespread capital ownership: 1) Those that deny the right of ownership to ordinary people, and 2) Those that deny the rights of ownership to ordinary people — two very different, if closely related things, and very important.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, V: Restructuring the Social Order
Yesterday we posted the portion of Judge Grosscup’s 1907 speech highlighting the fact that, under then-current methods of corporate finance (which still obtain today), most people had no means to obtain ownership of the large corporations, combinations, and trusts. In today’s portion, Grosscup makes it clear that it is not the size of the enterprise that matters, but the distribution or size of the individual ownership stake.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, IV: Who Shall Own America?
“Power,” as Daniel Webster pointed out nearly two centuries ago in 1820, “naturally and necessarily follows property.” No one understood this better in the early twentieth century than Judge Peter S. Grosscup of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Monday, May 4, 2015
The Lost Speech of Peter S. Grosscup, III: Bad Legal Principles
The more we find out about Judge Grosscup, the more there is to admire. For example, Grosscup had a temporary rift with Theodore Roosevelt over some obscure points of law in the Standard Oil rebate case in 1907/1908. Grosscup found on appeal that the enormous fine ($29 million plus), intended to bring Standard Oil to its knees, had been illegally levied.
Friday, May 1, 2015
News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 18
The main thing this week (and probably for the foreseeable future) is the “Five for the Family” campaign. This relies on continuing support — and that doesn’t (necessarily) mean money, but your help in spreading it around your networks. The more people know about it, the more likely we are to catch the attention of gatekeepers and prime movers to champion the idea of Capital Homesteading for every child, woman, and man.
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