A lot of things have been happening this week, and we still don’t have to resort to the usual causes of the day about which the major media obsess. As far as we are concerned, this demonstrates that the Just Third Way is the way to go; all other presumed solutions to the messes of modern society are simply the result of desperate people trying desperate measures before they have tried common sense:
|Pius XI: fighting the "new things" destroying all religion.|
• Is Religion Dying? In an article this past Wednesday in The Washington Post (“Vatican Worries the Catholic Church is Losing the Young,” 10/03/18, A-10) it was claimed that because of recent scandals, an all-male clergy, intransigence on same sex unions, divorce, etc., etc., etc., the Catholic Church is imploding. Nothing, of course, was said about other Christian denominations and other faiths facing the same problems and being in even greater danger of devolving into second rate social service agencies and civic clubs. The fact is that of the mainstream Central- and Western European-descended Christian denominations, the Catholic Church is in better shape than many of them. Typically, the closer a religion, denomination, or sect adheres to its traditional beliefs, the stronger and more integrated it is into the lives of ordinary members it is going to be; religions don’t grow by turning themselves into secular institutions, but by providing an alternative when the surrounding culture opposes traditional beliefs. That is why religions that try to conform to the world end up disappearing. For example, these days even when it is not the official policy of a particular denomination, it is not unusual for a parish or congregation to defy authority openly and adopt the mis-called “progressive agenda” in full. As a result, many churches as well as individual parishes and congregations have lost virtually all their older members, and are losing the younger members, ending up catering exclusively to special interest groups. Can this trend be reversed? Of course it can. All the popes since at least Pius IX have been working to make the laity more active in the life of the Church, not as “pretend priests” or by conforming to the world, but by “integrating” Catholic moral principles and religious doctrines into their daily lives. It’s what Pope Pius X meant by “integralism” and Pope Pius XI tried to do by restructuring Catholic Action, not to mention what John XXIII may have intended with Vatican II. What was lacking, of course, is the foundation on which to build that life, which means the Just Third Way. Make individuals and families economically independent of government and special interest groups, and they will be more able as well as more inclined to be better Catholics, as well as Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.
• Amazon Raising Minimum Wage. Amazon has announced that it will be phasing in a $15.00 per hour minimum wage for its workers. It is not entirely clear who is expected to absorb this cost increase or why the company did not choose to go with the far more cost-effective compensation plan suggested by labor statesman Walter Reuther decades ago: ownership sharing with increases in compensation and benefits coming from the bottom line, which does not increase costs and lead to price increases that force consumers to pick up the tab for the company’s generosity.
|Why not make the "Ring of Fire" into a "Ring of Finance"?|
• Pacific Rim Common Market? A number of the Pacific Rim countries are worried about Chinese expansionism. There may be a simple — but not easy — possible solution. Right now, the Chinese monetary colonialism is driven by money backed by China’s own debt and a certain amount of foreign currency reserves . . . which are backed by the debt of their governments. If some of the leading Pacific Rim countries, e.g., Australia, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and so on, would get organized and institute a regional development bank — a multi-country central bank — and establish a regional reserve currency to which participating countries could peg their currency, AND mandate that the reserve currency and all participating currencies must be elastic, asset-backed (government debt is not an asset if it backs the government’s own currency!), stable, and uniform, then there would be no need for any country to rely on anyone’s past savings to finance growth and development, especially if new money is only created in ways that create new owners of capital. The downside for the politicians is that participating governments would lose the ability to monetize deficits and manipulate the value of the national currency. The plus side for the politicians is . . . okay, there is no plus side for politicians who would have to start working toward a balanced budget and paying down debt. Realistically, issuances of new government debt would not be cut off “cold turkey,” but would have to be phased out. As tax revenues rose, however, and government entitlements fell as more people could meet their own needs, the citizens would benefit. Plus, mandating private sector asset backing for the participating currencies as well as the reserve currency would mean that no country would have to worry about another country manipulating things to its own advantage. Of course, this is just a small (but important) part of what needs to be done to have a sustainable program of economic reform — but it can't be done without it, even if first done in only a small part of one country. A more detailed summary of what could be done is found in the description of Capital Homesteading on the CESJ website.
• Meeting with Graduate Student. The scheduled meeting with the graduate student in sustainable urban development came off as planned and went very well. The Just Third Way allows for innovative solutions to the decay of communities throughout the United States and the world that can be financed without taxpayer funds or inflationary government debt in a manner consistent with the natural law and Catholic social teaching.
• Just Third Way and Distributism. Purely by coincidence, less than a day after the meeting with the graduate student studying sustainable urban development, another graduate student approached CESJ regarding the history of “distributism,” a philosophy developed by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc that seeks to apply natural law concepts and Catholic social teaching to the economy by advocating a policy of widespread capital ownership, with a preference for small, family-owned farms and artisan businesses, but without prejudice to larger enterprises if they are broadly owned by the workers. We were able to provide the student, who is planning a dissertation on the history of distributism, with a little advice and a lot of material, including information regarding two upcoming books related to the student’s area of interest.
• Capital Homesteading and Catholic Social Teaching. A short book comparing the Just Third Way and Catholic social teaching is nearly half drafted and may soon be ready for submission to a publisher for consideration.
|William Hurrell Mallock|
• What Happened to Social Justice. The book is currently in editing and may soon be ready for pre-press. With the subtitle, “The Roots of Democratic Socialism,” the book is both timely and of lasting significance, given the persistence of the idea that “democratic socialism” is in any way compatible with the natural law basis of the U.S. Constitution or Catholic social teaching, or that democratic or religious socialism is somehow inherently different from other forms of socialism.
• W.H. Mallock’s Property and Progress. We recently received a copy of Property and Progress, William Hurrell Mallock’s 1884 refutation of Henry George’s 1879 book, Progress and Poverty. Interestingly, George said of Mallock’s book that it was the only reply to himself worth serious consideration. George’s agrarian socialism was the inspiration for Fabian socialism, which Chesterton and Belloc developed distributism to counter.
• Ferree Compendium. A compendium of some of the shorter writings by CESJ co-founder Father William J. Ferree, including Introduction to Social Justice (1948) and Discourses on Social Charity (1966) has been completed and is currently being edited.
|You knew we were going to use it sometime.|
• 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 42 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Politics and Religion,” “,” “Just Third Way Podcast No. 36,” “Birth of the Broad Church,” and “CESJ Looks at Money, Part II.”
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.