Perhaps not surprisingly, there is not much good news this week, or at least we haven’t been able to find it. What little there is seems to be internal, e.g., some important publications are in the works for CESJ, and there has been a great deal of interest expressed in the projects. As for the rest of the world:
|Ain't tariffs a great idea?|
• “Corporate Profits Take Off.” In the Wall Street Journal of 08/30/18 (pages A-1, A-2), it was noted that corporate profits have “taken off,” and that this was a sign of a strong economy, fueled by tax cuts and an overall solid economy . . . in which consumer debt is rising rapidly to fuel those same corporate profits. It sounds good to say that profits are up (after all, what does it profit a man to gain the business and lose the profits?), but Say’s Law of Markets is predicated on the assumption that what is consumed must first be produced; consuming without producing is a really bad idea, as the people of Greece have known for some time. The fact that consumer debt is rising at the same time as corporate profits should worry a lot more people than it does. For Say’s Law to function, every producer should be a consumer, and vice versa, which is what something like Capital Homesteading is designed to do.
|Yes, CESJ publishes books. How many do you want?|
• What Happened to Social Justice. The book is still in editing (quality, after all, takes time), but the buzz is beginning to build, with a number of people anxious to see what could easily become a pivotal work in the field of social justice, showing how the concept developed in response to the growth of socialism, and what happened to “hijack” the concept so that socialists and modernists were able to turn it to their advantage. Rest assured as soon as we have a publication date scheduled we will accept advance wholesale orders (no, sorry, not individual retail orders; local tax law makes it too complicated for that, wholesale orders only). Right now it looks like the cover price of the hardback will be $30 and that of the “trade paperback” will be $20 — but don’t hold us to that; we’re cutting the margin thin on this book to achieve wider distribution, and the price may be higher to be able to cover direct costs and overhead. At an estimated 450 pages, however, it will be a bargain, completely aside from the value of the subject matter.
|Saint-Simon: invented a "New Christianity"|
• Catholic Social Teaching and Socialism, Are They the Same? No — the fundamental principle of socialism, as articulated in the “the New Christianity” of Henri de Saint-Simon (also called “the religion of humanity” and “the democratic religion”), is that the material wellbeing of society, with a special emphasis on the needs of the poor, is to be accomplished at any cost and by any means necessary. The principle of Catholic social teaching is that the material wellbeing of society, with a special emphasis on the needs of the poor, is to be accomplished at any cost and by any means necessary (and here is the difference that Christian socialists ignore) within the confines of the natural law. That is, no one’s natural rights are to be violated, especially life, liberty, and private property, regardless of the good you hope to achieve; it is not mete that one man be sacrificed even to save the entire nation. As Fulton Sheen and others have pointed out, the natural law IS God; we do right not because God says so, but because God is so. When the socialists declare that God has commanded that the rich be punished and their goods distributed to the poor, that is their interpretation of something they take as God’s Will. Reason says you may not violate the rich man’s rights any more than the poor man’s rights, or vice versa. Socialism wants to replace justice with charity. Catholicism wants to fulfill justice with charity; what socialism wants is Hugo Grotius’s notion of the natural law based on opinion rather than knowledge, what Sheen called “religion without God.” Socialism insists only the abstraction of the collective has rights, which may or may not be vested in actual people, while Catholicism insists that “only man, the human person, and not society in any form is endowed with reason and a morally free will.” (Divini Redemptoris, § 29.)
|Why not rebuild in a way that pays for itself.|
• Puerto Rico Rebuilding. Yes, we’re tempted to ask, What rebuilding? but according to the Wall Street Journal of August 30, 2018 (“Puerto Rico Creditor Group Starts Talks,” B-10) the possibility of one of the major groups of creditors rescheduling the debt has raised the price from less than 25¢ on the dollar in January, to more than 50¢ on the dollar. Of course, a program of Capital Homestead would get the creditors $1 on the dollar, plus interest, as well as put the Commonwealth on a sound financial footing for the future. This would improve on a proposal Governor Luis Ferré made back in January 1972 which required people to put up cash to purchase special growth shares. Capital Homesteading would require that the assets pay for themselves out of future profits, thereafter providing consumption income and a restored tax base that would enable the government to pay off Puerto Rico’s debt in full.
|Have a cow, man.|
• Plummeting Currencies. The currencies of Argentina, Turkey, Brazil, and India continue to fall against the dollar. This underscores the problem of having currencies without any objective standard of value, such as cattle (common standard in the ancient world for thousands of years), silver (virtually the worldwide standard from 750 B.C. until the end of the eighteenth century), or gold (“king” of the nineteenth century . . . notice how they keep getting shorter and shorter for each standard as government takes over more and more control over money and credit?). Today’s “standard” of government debt depends solely on the ability of a government to make good on its debt to justify the value it puts on its currency. Maybe it’s time to look into R. Buckminster Fuller’s idea of the kilowatt hour . . . as soon as the world’s monetary and tax systems can be put into rational shape.
• Retooling the Future. It’s still in the outline phase, but it’s not too early to start thinking about CESJ’s planned book, Retooling the Future: How Justice, Ownership, and Money Could Change the World. The idea is to take a hard look at a systems approach to social tools such as capital, institutions, money, credit, and so on. Money, for example, is a way to carry out transactions and must be directly related to what is involved in any transaction; money serves to “irrigate” an economy, not run or control it.
Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 28 different countries and 42 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, India, Australia, Canada, and Peru. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Accident of an Urgent Necessity,” “The Pilgrims of God and Liberty,” “Just Third Way Podcast No. 31,” “,” and “The New Greek Myth.”
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.#30#