In his 2015 book, God or Nothing, Robert Cardinal Sarah made an interesting distinction between poverty and destitution. We’re not sure we agree, but it may be something to think about. According to Sarah, most people through history have been “poor,” which he defined as producing enough to provide decently for one’s self and one’s dependents, but nothing more.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Monday, April 29, 2019
This week’s podcast features a repeat of the discussion about CESJ’s short (one minute and forty-seven seconds) introductory video, “People and Things.” The reason for rerunning it so soon after the original broadcast is that on Saturday, April 27, 2019, CESJ had its first “Justice University” seminar as part of CESJ’s thirty-fifth anniversary celebration. The seminar was well-attended, and the following workshop had a great deal of lively discussion, so we thought we’d let others join in the fun, if a trifle late and a little vicariously:
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that Monsignor John A. Ryan (1869-1945) had his thought formed in an environment that accepted “the democratic religion” of socialism as a given. The idea was to reduce Christianity to its essential elements, of which the first and overriding principle is that material wellbeing of everyone, especially the poor, is the goal of existence.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Although differences and disagreements between people of different faiths and philosophies are nothing particularly new, they seem to be achieving much greater depths of depravity than ever before. True, this might be merely the fact that with modern communications and the growing hunger of the popular media for sensation and scandal to titillate and entertain people who should have much better things to do, what was under the radar in former days is now the stuff of everyday life.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we examined the source of Monsignor John A. Ryan’s understanding of social justice and distributive justice as embodied in the two books that made him famous, A Living Wage (1906) and Distributive Justice (1916). As we discovered, Ryan’s definitions did not come from a study of Rerum Novarum, but from the utopian and religious socialist movements of the early nineteenth century that Rerum Novarum was intended to counter.
Monday, April 22, 2019
This week’s podcast features a panel discussion about the Easter Rising historical event in Ireland and a proposal for Ireland outlined in Easter Witness, book by Michael D. Greaney. (BTW, Dave looked in the wrong place on Amazon; the price is $20, not $500 for an autographed presentation copy!) The discussion relates how the ownership of Ireland mentioned in the Proclamation issued during that Easter event can be the key for economic transformation of Ireland and the world.
Friday, April 19, 2019
Maybe it’s the season, but the criticisms of the Just Third Way have been particularly weak lately, with critics repeating themselves more than usual and saying things that have been refuted repeatedly. On the other hand, it might be that the ideas are starting to get into the right quarters and people are starting to pay attention. You decide:
Thursday, April 18, 2019
In the opening of Act II of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, Little Buttercup informs the Captain in cryptic terms that many things are not as they might appear at first glance. Confused, the Captain responds in kind, trading a list of random aphorisms for Buttercup’s “incomprehensible utterances.”
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
This being “Holy Week” preceding “Easter Week,” we thought it might be appropriate to highlight a publication of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), Easter Witness: From Broken Dream to a New Vision for Ireland:
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject we looked at a statement made by Pope Francis to the effect that “food is not private property,” which a number of people declared meant that His Holiness had abolished private property in food, and that therefore socialism is a true interpretation of Catholic social teaching.
Monday, April 15, 2019
In this week’s Just Third Way (re)podcast, host Dave Hamill finishes the discussion on Successful organizations start with people firmly committed to a set of core values, which cannot be compromised without weakening the organization. CESJ’s strength, unity and programs flow from its founding principles, agreed upon by consensus from the first meeting on April 7, 1984. CESJ’s core values were developed to guide CESJ in its work, to attract others sharing these values and to serve as the very basis of CESJ’s existence.(CESJ).
Friday, April 12, 2019
Apparently at least one person on Earth is offended by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, specifically Article 17: “(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” We suspect that some offended people don’t know what property is, may not be too clear on the fact that “everyone” includes “everyone,” or maybe just got up on the wrong side of the bed this century. In any event, here are a few tidbits of news from around the network:
Thursday, April 11, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at the different ways in which new capital formation could be financed. We discovered that if we assume that only existing savings can be used to purchase new capital, ownership of all new capital is going to be concentrated in the hands of whoever owns those savings. In capitalism, that means a private sector élite, while in socialism that means a government bureaucracy of some sort, whether you’re talking a national dictator or a village council.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
. . . but not entirely. Back in the early twentieth century, Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson made a name for himself writing historical novels and then satire to try and counter the "New Things" of socialism, modernism, and the New Age . . . which (much to his chagrin) was taken as “prophecy” (Lord of the World, 1907) or his blueprint for an ideal society (The Dawn of All, 1911). He also wrote others in what he termed the “sensational” category, which his readers seemed intent on misinterpreting.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at why Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is illogical. Specifically, it relies on a mathematical impossibility, i.e., having one equation with three dependent variables. The bottom line is that in the Quantity Theory of Money equation, M x V = P x Q, V, P, and Q determine M, not the other way around as MMT adherents maintain. If you manipulate M, all you do is screw up the system so that Say’s Law of Markets won’t function.
Monday, April 8, 2019
In this week’s Just Third Way podcast, host Dave Hamill leads a discussion on some of the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). Successful organizations start with people firmly committed to a set of core values, which cannot be compromised without weakening the organization. CESJ’s strength, unity and programs flow from its founding principles, agreed upon by consensus from the first meeting on April 7, 1984. CESJ’s core values were developed to guide CESJ in its work, to attract others sharing these values and to serve as the very basis of CESJ’s existence.
Friday, April 5, 2019
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Recently we received a quote from a news commentary on an allocution by Pope Francis to the effect that the head of the Catholic Church had abolished the natural law. Not all of the natural law, of course, just the part that some people disagreed with and needed some credible authority to back them up regarding the alleged abolition of private property by Pope Francis (or any other pope). Specifically,
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
In his Advice to Young Men, the English Radical politician and journalist (among other things) William Cobbett said, “To be poor and independent is very nearly an impossibility.” As the “Apostle of Distributism” (as G.K. Chesterton called him), Cobbett had even stronger things to say about the necessity of widespread capital ownership:
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
We recently got into a FaceBook group devoted to discussing “Catholic Stuff.” Most of the questions and discussion items were a little bit out of our area of expertise, but we did get into an interesting one about “distributism,” the rather loosely defined social philosophy advocated by G.K. Chesterton and his cohort, Hilaire Belloc.
Monday, April 1, 2019
This week’s guest on the Just Third Way podcast is Dawn Brohawn. Dawn is Director of Communications for the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), and recently completed a short pilot video intended to introduce people to the ideas behind the Just Third Way. Join Dave and Dawn as they discuss the video, then read the supplementary material and view the video: