It may sound like the “same old same old,” but it’s really . . . okay, it’s the same old same old. The difference is that every day we seem to be reaching a larger number of people about the Just Third Way and Capital Homesteading, and a number of people are still coming up with the same old excuses that they have for decades, evidently not realizing that they’ve worn a little thin over time. Be that as it may, here are a few highpoints on what’s been happening in the movement:
|Henry C. Adams: debt a danger to sovereignty|
• Another Global Debt Crisis. Or, more accurately, a continuation of the same debt crisis that has had the world in its grip since the near worldwide adoption of Keynesian economics and the fixed belief that governments can back currency with their own debt and somehow stay financially stable. According to an article in this past Tuesday’s Washington Post (“Global Debt Raises Red Flags,” Washington Post, 09/04/18, A-1, A-11) current government debt behind much of the global money supply stands at $169 trillion. On the eve of the so-called “Great Recession” (a euphemism that fooled no one at the time, and now sounds just plain silly. So, of course, the media continue to use it) total debt stood at $97 trillion. Some authorities believe the current troubles in Argentina, Turkey, and other “emerging markets” (another euphemism that means countries trying to grow their economies by consuming far more than they produce) are simply the harbinger of a global meltdown waiting to happen. Others, more Keynesian, continue to insist in the face of all experience for the past century or so that the size of a government’s outstanding debt is irrelevant because it just means existing wealth in the economy is being divided into smaller and smaller pieces. The only problem is that the government except in a socialist economy does not own that wealth. Currency backed by government debt is really backed by the government’s power to tax and collect that wealth — and that depends in turn on the citizens’ willingness and ability to pay the taxes needed to redeem the debt backing the currency. And the size of the public debt (as Greece and countries indebted to China have discovered) is the single greatest danger to the independence and sovereignty of a country, as Henry Carter Adams pointed out exactly 120 years ago in his book, Public Debts: An Essay in the Science of Finance (1898). The situation is similar to that of the early nineteenth century when governments began issuing debt on a massive scale after discovering that a central bank could be turned away from the private sector and into a government money machine by monetizing debt instead of private sector productive assets. The new republics of Central and South America tried to spend their way into prosperity and only ended by kicking off the Panic of 1825, which financial historians consider the first of the “Boom and Bust” busts. What is needed is an intensive program to be implemented throughout the world that will at one and the same time restore an asset backing to the currency and the rest of the money supply, and build purchasing power into consumers, thereby restoring Say’s Law of Markets. One possibility is .
|The downside of a state-controlled free market (yes, we know).|
• The Collapse of China’s P2P Lending Industry. In a related story (“From Get Rich Quick to Wiped Out,” Washington Post, 09/04/18, A-6), although this one applies to private sector investment instead of public finance, China’s innovative — and unregulated — “Peer-to-Peer” investment loan houses have crashed, leaving investors, many of them low income workers and retirees lured by the chance to “get rich quick” speculating in the stock market, high, dry, and bankrupt. It turns out that many of the P2P loan houses were pyramid schemes or invested in startups that went under very quickly. Nor can the police or the government do anything, for there are no securities laws covering the industry, which sounds much worse than the wildest days of the wildcat stock jobbing on Wall Street just before the Crash of 1929. In fact, the closest thing we can see to what is happening right now in China was the Mississippi Scheme and the South Sea Bubble. During the latter, shares were floated for hundreds of new companies, virtually all of them ways to separate people from their money as easily as possible, described in Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1844).
|Not a thing of the past, but there are alternatives.|
• Prison Jobs. Prison strikes are spreading (“Prison Jobs Shouldn’t Be Slave Labor,” Washington Post, 09/04/18, A-15). This isn’t the prison movie type of strike that leads to a riot after banging on the tables with tin cups. This is about genuine “slave wages” for work. Yes, technically convicts are slaves. They are bound absolutely to the will of others and cannot come and go as they please — the legal definition of slavery. Prior to American independence, British convicts were a prime source of labor for the American colonies and a profitable source of revenue for the Crown. One of the reasons they had the death penalty for so many crimes was so that sentences could be commuted to penal servitude for life and the convicts sold to people who needed cheap labor and didn’t mind the added danger. Today there is generally a rehabilitation aspect added to the punishment for a crime, but often ignored. It is, after all, quite expensive just to lock someone up without the added cost of rehabilitation. As for prison industries, the unions made certain that whatever was available to convicts were the dregs that no one else wanted, especially union members. Restitution to victims? Forget it. Of course, it might be time to look at something like the New Birth Project proposed some years ago, that would address many, if not all, the grievances of the convicts. Perhaps it is time to give it another look.
|Misleading stereotypes aren't always bad. . . .|
• Mainstreet Employee Ownership Act. The “Main Street Employee Ownership Act,” which became law on August 13, has been getting quite a bit of coverage in the national media. The Washington Post, CNN, and even the Philadelphia Enquirer have all run major stories on the bill.
• Canny Scots Stereotype? Or just being humanly intelligent? Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, has announced the creation of “Scotland for EO” (“Employee Ownership”), a government-supported organization that will support the continued development of employee ownership in Scotland. As Sturgeon commented, “All the evidence tells us that employee ownership delivers benefits to business performance, the people who work in them, and the places in which they are located.” Now we just need the rest of the United Kingdom as well as the rest of the world to follow suit.
• NCEO Initiative. The National Center for Employee Ownership in Oakland, California, reports that the Cook County, Illinois, Commission on Social Innovation is working on a variety of initiatives to support more employee ownership as a result of research by the NCEO. Research shows that the median household income for worker owners is 92% higher than that of non-worker owners.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to 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 33 different countries and 44 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, India, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “,” “News from the Network, Vol. 11, No. 35,” “A Primer on English Liberalism,” “The Crisis of Democracy?” and “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property.”
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#