THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Friday, December 20, 2019

News from the Network, Vol. 12, No. 51

It’s time again for our annual news roundup, the first part of which we will post today, and the second part next week.  There is such a volume of material that for once we decided to forgo illustrations:

• (January) The Jailbird Pope.  This is of interest to the Just Third Way because (contrary to popular belief) Pope Pius IX (Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, 1792-1878, elected 1846) was a real liberal reformer . . . who ticked off the radicals and got labeled unfairly as a reactionary.  It turns out that before his election to the papacy, Pius IX served as a soldier and was a jailbird.  It seems that when he was sent on a mission to South America, he and the other priests in the group on board ship were a little too free in voicing their opinions of the more radical revolutionaries in Chile . . . some of whom, unbeknownst to the priests were among their fellow passengers.  When they stopped in Spain, the Chileans reported them to the authorities out of spite, and they were detained in prison for a few days before the matter was straightened out.  (Cecilia Ascher, “Pius IX in South America,” The Ladies Repository: A Monthly Periodical Devoted to Literature, Arts, and Religion, Vol. 6, No. 1, July 1870, 24-26.).
• (January) Bad Assumptions = Baffled Analysts.  In the Wall Street Journal of 01/11/19, James Mackintosh opined that “Investors Can’t Figure Out Fed” (B-1, B-10).  The problem, of course, was that both the Federal Reserve and the investors were using an erroneous assumption, one that has increasingly taken over both private and public understanding of money and governed monetary and fiscal policy of the world since the early 1930s.  And that is?  That the amount of money in the economy determines the “velocity” of money (the average number of times each unit of currency is spent in a year), the price level (how much things cost), and the number of transactions.  This is stated mathematically as the Quantity Theory of Money equation: M x V = P x Q.  Anyone who has taken high school algebra, however, will instantly see the problem: you can’t have three “dependent variables” and only one equation!  In other words, you can’t fiddle with M (the quantity of money) and expect V, P, or Q to mean anything.  Of course investors can’t figure out what’s going on, because the Federal Reserve doesn’t know what’s going on.  They haven’t caught on to the fact that V, P, and Q should determine M (that is, M should be the dependent variable), not the other way around, or all you will have is chaos . . . which is (not by coincidence) precisely what we have.
• (January) Violating the First Principle of Reason Department.  From the same issue of the Wall Street Journal, in the Finance section, there were two headlines on the first page, B-12.  One was, “Energy Stocks Go From Drag to Leader.”  The other one read, “Don’t Bet On Oil’s Bounce To Continue.”  The problem was the same that plagues “investors” at year end, that people think the prices on the stock market actually mean something other than reflecting the emotional state of gambling addicts.  The editors of the Journal might be excused for trying to have their cake and eat it, too, by predicting both a continued boom and a downturn on the same page, but readers should be a little more savvy and possibly start to use their own brains for something.
• (February) “Evolved Distributism”?  We came across a new term in February: “evolved distributism.”  It seemed to be one of the many ways that people have found to transform the thought of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) and Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953) away from private property and into some form of socialism.  Interestingly, while Chesterton was able — more or less — to suffer such fools gladly . . . up to a point (meetings of the Distributist League became so unpleasant for Chesterton that he avoided them except for the annual celebration, and then sat and doodled before retiring to the bar as fast as possible), Belloc referred to them as “cranks” (and Chesterton called them “fantastic forms”) and after Chesterton’s death attempted to purge the distributist movement of their presence and thought.  His failure to return distributism to its founding principles embittered him, and he left the movement to those who had taken it over.  As one biographer of Chesterton noted, “Gilbert’s death signified the end of the philosophy, if that is what it was, as a serious proposition.  He had kept it alive; squabbles and lack of direction tore the movement apart.” (Michael Coren, Gilbert: The Man Who Was G.K. Chesterton.  New York: Paragon House, 1990, 243.).
• (February) Credit Course in Binary Economics Offered.  Also in February Dr. Robert H.A. Ashford reported that Syracuse University now gives credit to students taking his class on binary economics. This is a major breakthrough in Academia for the Just Third Way and the economics of reality.
• (February) Interest in History at an All-Time Low.  Recent (as of this past February) reports out of Academia are that people majoring in history and taking degrees in the subject is at an all-time low, having fallen by about 25% over a few years ago.  Some colleges are simply dropping history requirements and even classes and departments.  The main problem, however, is that widespread ignorance of events of history leads directly into misunderstanding current events.  Even something as trivial as understanding a satiric cartoon becomes problematical.  Given widespread ignorance of history, it is no wonder that so many people ignore the Just Third Way and slavishly adhere to socialism and capitalism.
• (February) Top Wage Incomes Rising, Bottom Falling.  Much to the astonishment of the experts who demand a higher minimum wage to increase the income of wage earners at the bottom, the income of wage workers in the lower levels continues to drop dramatically in response, while that of wage workers in the upper tiers continues to rise.  In other words, as it becomes more expensive to hire lower paid workers, fewer are hired and more are replaced with technology or the jobs moved to lower wage areas.  At the same time, jobs that are not (yet) threatened by technological displacement face a lack of qualified people to fill them, so the price goes up in order to get the people they need.  The underlying problem, of course, is the assumption that income can only come from wages and welfare, not ownership.
• (March) China’s Free Market?. It appears that the Chinese leadership may have given a unique twist to the free market reforms that have been allowed in the country.  It turns out that freedom is all very well in its way, but let’s not get crazy.  What the Chinese leaders want are the benefits of free market economics combined with rigid government control of the economy.  As a result, some Chinese entrepreneurs see no future in their own country.  Of course, the underlying problem is that ordinary people are not empowered with capital ownership, and without that, there is no real base of support for a free market — or for keeping a country’s brightest and best at home.  As Pope Leo XIII reminded us back in 1891, when capital ownership is widespread, “Men always work harder and more readily when they work on that which belongs to them; nay, they learn to love the very soil that yields in response to the labor of their hands, not only food to eat, but an abundance of good things for themselves and those that are dear to them. That such a spirit of willing labor would add to the produce of the earth and to the wealth of the community is self evident. And a third advantage would spring from this: men would cling to the country in which they were born, for no one would exchange his country for a foreign land if his own afforded him the means of living a decent and happy life.” (Rerum Novarum, ∞ 47.).
• (March) Social Justice and Immigration.  While many people concerned with social justice issues are concerned with the “immigration crisis,” no one seems willing to discuss a possible long-term solution along the lines suggested by Leo XIII when he listed the benefits of expanded capital ownership.  If someone owns a farm or business and has a just government, why would he or she leave everything to go to another country?  As it is, virtually all immigrants that fall into the “crisis” category are leaving their own countries because of war, political oppression, or lack of economic opportunity.  If they had those things at home, why would they seek them elsewhere?  Further, if all countries had something along the lines of Capital Homesteading, workers would be in demand, and immigration would be encouraged rather than discouraged..
• (March) Oregon Rent Control.  In its quest to make housing affordable for low income people, the state of Oregon has enacted state-wide rent control to keep housing prices affordable.  While the initiative is no doubt well-meant, rent control adopted as a solution rather than as a temporary emergency measure virtually guarantees that there will be a housing shortage, as the situation in New York City demonstrates.  Rather than artificially raising wage rates (which automatically puts upward pressure on housing costs), it would be better to adopt a “minimum ownership” rate, not mandated, but enabled by opening up access to key institutions so that people can become capital owners gaining consumption income in a way that does not raise prices for them and everybody else.  As for affordable housing, why not adopt something like the proposed Homeowners Equity Corporation?
• (March) Minimum Wage, Maximum Employment?.  Now that New York City has rent control and no affordable housing, and a minimum wage so that people still cannot afford to live in the city, there is now an initiative to make it harder for employers to get rid of workers.  This, of course, will make prospective employers very reluctant to hire anybody they think might be marginal; there will be no more giving people a chance to see if they work out.  Anyone with the slightest blemish on his or her work record (or even a lack of a work record) will have a very hard time finding a job, even at minimum wage.  As for recovering alcoholics, former drug users trying to go straight, people with any conviction for anything, or who don’t look right, are too fat or skinny, you name it — fuhgeddaboudit..
• (March) Anti-Worker Legislation?  A rather odd provision of the new guidelines for SBA loans that went into effect April 1 of this year appears to deny their application to Coops and ESOPs.  As reported by the NCEO, “The provisions allow SBA-backed loans to finance ‘any transaction costs associated with purchasing a controlling interest in the employer, but not costs associated with setting up the ESOP or cooperative’ and mirror loans to create an ESOP. The guidance also specifies that ‘any seller who remains as an owner, regardless of percentage of ownership, must provide their guaranty.’ (The above is from Chapter 2, paragraph V.H.1-2.) The guidance also appears to deny the use of the expedited preferred lender program for employee ownership transitions, although the guidance only mentions loans for cooperatives, not for ESOPs. The implication is that the SBA will have to approve each loan on a case-by-case basis.”  Weirdly, the guidelines were issued as part of the “Main Street Employee Ownership Act.”
• (March) Educating About Ownership You Can’t Have.  Another provision of the Main Street Employee Ownership Act is for the SBA to encourage education about worker ownership.  Judging from the guidelines just issued (above), what workers are to be taught about ownership is that it isn’t for them if the SBA has anything to say about it..
• (March) Fascinating Fabian Facts.  While researching possible ties between the New Deal of President Roosevelt and Fabian socialism to compare it with the proposed Green New Deal and its roots in democratic socialism, we came across this statement by noted Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw: “Under [Joseph Stalin] the Soviet government has turned communism into Fabianism.  But the Communists won’t take our name so we must take theirs.  After all, Russian communism is nothing more than the program the Fabians have been preaching for forty years.”  (The Washington, DC Evening Star, Friday, November 27, 1931, B-11.)  Interestingly, the Fabian Society claims to a socialist organization whose purpose is to advance the principles of democratic socialism.  (Margaret Cole, The Story of Fabian Socialism, 1961; George Thomson, “The Tindemans Report and the European Future,” Address to the European Movement, March 1, 1976.)  Prominent members of the Fabian Society include R.H. Tawney, who was on the Executive of the Society from 1920 to 1933, and John Maynard Keynes’s protégé, E.F. Schumacher, who was a member of the New Fabian Research Bureau.  The coat of arms of the Fabian Society is the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing, adopted because of their tactic of infiltrating organizations to turn them socialist without calling it socialism.
• (March) The Coming Debt Crisis.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, as soon as holders of U.S. government debt realize that the government has been spending beyond its means for almost a century (yes, it won’t be long before 2033), they will start demanding more interest on the U.S. “bonds” they hold.  Why did we put “bonds” in quotes?  Because bonds, properly speaking, are financial instruments representing borrowing existing savings, and thus bear interest.  In reality, however, most government financial instruments known as bonds are in reality what are called “bills of credit” representing no borrowing of existing savings, but new money creation, and that should properly not bear interest, but pass at a discount.  That is a subject for another day, however.  The issue today is the claim in the article, “The Debt Crisis Is Coming Soon” (WSJ, 03/01/19, A-19), that the only way to avoid (or evade, depending on your point of view) the anticipated crisis is to make a drastic reduction in spending on entitlements, e.g., Social Security, Medicare, and other New Deal and New Deal type programs.  Unfortunately, having made as many people as possible utterly dependent on these programs, cutting them is neither moral nor politically feasible, however weak (or non-existent) the original moral or political justification for them was in the first place.  Oddly, neither the opponents nor the defenders of entitlement spending do the obvious and investigate a financially sound and politically feasible replacement for entitlements, Capital Homesteading.
• (March) Premier of New Video Short.  CESJ completed “People and Things,” a short (less than two minutes) video designed to intrigue people about the Just Third Way and get them interested in finding out what this whole “Just Third Way” shtick is all about.  We’d like you to give a quick view and let us know how it strikes you.  A few caveats: 1) The video makes no pretense to presenting the entire Just Third Way; it’s sort of a “commercial” to get people interested in learning something about the Just Third Way.  You don’t expect a 30-second spot on television to tell you all about a product.  The idea is to let you know the product exists and let you know a little bit about what it does.  True, once in a while an automobile commercial (to take an example) will tell you some technical details, but that’s really to impress you with the quality of the product, not to teach you how to build or even drive a car!  So, give the video a look, and if you’re inspired to find out more, pay a visit or two to the CESJ website..
• (March) Revival of the Arco Caribbean Magazine.  Michiel Bijkerk, a CESJ stalwart in the Netherlands Antilles, relaunched his magazine, Arco Caribbean, as an ezine.  The first issue, which can be obtained from the website,, is an impressive production, showing a great deal of hard work and thoughtful effort.  Unusually, the single issue of the magazine is written in four separate languages, English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamentu.  This gives the publication a unique cosmopolitan “feel” that comports well with Michiel’s universal outlook.  Of special interest is the fact that Michiel puts a great deal of Just Third Way material in the magazine.
• (April) Italy and China.  According to the Wall Street Journal of 04/04/19 (page A-15), “The Silk Road That Leads to Rome,” the Republic of Italy and the People’s Republic of China have been working hard at building relationships.  A Canadian studying in Italy noted that Chinese students made up 70% of the students in his classes.  Italy, in fact, is the first “Group Seven” country to join China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” a combination of “the Silk Road Economic Belt” and “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.”  It is focused on infrastructure development and investment initiatives that would stretch from East Asia to Europe. The project, sometimes known as “the New Silk Road,” is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived.  Some analysts see the project as a dangerous extension of China’s power through granting credit for infrastructure.  Not surprisingly, the costs of many of the proposed projects have skyrocketed, increasing opposition in some participant countries.  Purely by coincidence, Italy has massive gold reserves, which would — of course — be seized by a creditor nation in the event of default.  Ironically, the Just Third Way Citizens Land Cooperative is a way to rebuild infrastructure that builds ownership of self-liquidating infrastructure assets into the people of a country.
• (April) U.S. Schools and the Chinese Threat.  In a related news item, “U.S. Schools Are Waking Up to China Threat” (Washington Post, 04/05/19, A-21), there appears to be a concern in American Academia that the Chinese are infiltrating the United States by sponsoring students in U.S. colleges and universities.  While the explanation is somewhat involved, there is no appreciation of the fact that if every American citizen had the opportunity and means to build a capital stake in a way that would result in an elimination of the national debt and stabilize the economy, there would be no reason to be concerned about any threat from China or anywhere else.  Such a program can be found in CESJ’s Capital Homesteading proposal..
• (April) Delay in Mandatory Retirement Distributions?  Also according to the NCEO Bulletin, “The ‘Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019’ passed the Senate in April and is expected to pass in the House. It makes many changes to retirement law, but only one is likely to affect ESOPs. The carefully named bill would delay the start date for required minimum distributions from 70½ to 72.”  Translation: someone who does not want to start taking retirement distributions could potentially delay the start of mandatory distributions for up to 30 months longer than now as the current law specifies the year in which someone turns age 70½, not when someone turns age 70½.
• (May) Richard Lugar, Just Third Way Advocate.  Richard Lugar, who died April 28, was one of the co-sponsors of the legislation in 1985 the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice.  In 1987, CESJ representatives presented the Task Force report, High Road to Economic Justice, to President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, as a result of which His Holiness personally encouraged the work of CESJ.  CESJ’s compilation, Every Worker an Owner, served as the orientation book for the task force.  This book was later translated into Polish and 40,000 copies were distributed throughout Solidarity channels in Poland, prior to the collapse of the Soviet system.  It should be pointed out that the work of the Task Force was carried out without one cent (or even more) taxpayer money.
• (May) Ukraine’s New President.  Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a Jewish comedian (whoever heard of such a thing!) managed to get elected president with 73% of the vote without making too many concrete promises.  His previous experience in politics consisted of playing the part of president on television; he supports free distribution of weed (for medicinal purposes only, of course), free abortion (eliminating future voters who might go the other way), and legalized prostitution and gambling.  He also opposes the legalization of “weapons,” which we assume means firearms, since virtually anything can be turned into a “weapon” one way or another.  Although many people in Ukraine don’t know what to expect, they do know they want change.  With the right kind of change, of course, it wouldn’t matter what the president supports or opposes if it went against the will of the people, for the right kind of change would empower people, not government.  That is the kind of change Zelenskiy should work for, and the Just Third Way embodied in the platform of the Unite Ukraine Party . . . that is, the Unite America Party could be just what the people ordered.
• (May) Dave Hamill 2019 Servant of Justice.  Dave Hamill, host of the popular Just Third Way podcast, was the recipient of the 2019 Servant of Justice award for the podcast and all the other things he has done over the years to advance the cause of economic and social justice for the Just Third Way.  The presentation was made by Dr. Norman G. Kurland, president of CESJ, during the CESJ Thirty-fifth Anniversary celebration.
• (May) Campaign for Free Tuition.  The push to make state institutions of higher learning tuition free seems to be gaining ground, or at least increasing media coverage.  CESJ recently had a Fellow from Belgium who rolled her eyes at the push for “free tuition.”  According to her, tuition is one of the lesser costs of attending college.  There is also the cost of housing and meals, textbooks, and so on, but the single largest cost is . . . student fees.  No tuition, but the amount and number of student fees more than make up for “free tuition.”  The fact is that schools have to cover their costs somehow, and if it doesn’t come from tuition, it will be made up somewhere else.  This was corroborated by a friend in Germany, who had two daughters go to university there “tuition free” . . . but the bills for student fees were out of this world.
• (May) Jonathan Robert Spencer, RIP.  Jonathan Spencer, 58, who worked with the CESJ core group and others organizing the attempt for a worker buyout of Ogleby-Norton, passed away on May 13, 2019.  Jonathan is predeceased by his parents, Elliot and Helen Spencer. He is survived by his brothers; Scott (Alice), Steven (Lynne), and Brad; his niece Laura Costello (Sean); his nephews, Ryan Spencer, Michael Spencer (Alex), Christopher Spencer, Garett Randall and Cameron Yip; his grandniece Riley Heather Costello and his grandnephews Miles William Costello, Zayden Randall, and Jamison Randall.  Jonathan graduated from Brown University and received a law degree from Duke University School of Law. He served as the General Counsel of the Museum of Science Fiction,  Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Verisign, General Counsel of Shenandoah Telephone Company, and Associate General Counsel of Cable and Wireless.
• (May) Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice (DAS/ESJ).  CESJ is working with member Gene Gordon to establish Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice (DAS-ESJ) in St. Louis to apply locally CESJ's Just Third Way concepts for rebuilding that city while economically empowering each of its citizens through equal capital ownership opportunities.  Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice (DAS/ESJ) is a non-profit educational organization, think tank and social action catalyst formed in May 2019 to promote, educate all citizens, and encourage systemic change based on unifying vision and fundamental principles of Economic Justice and Social Justice. They are dedicated to an advanced free enterprise growth model that addresses racism, poverty and other violations of fundamental human rights, not just for Descendants of American Slaves but for all citizens, including Descendants of Native Americans, Descendants of Immigrants, and Descendants of American Slave Owners.
• (May) China Financially Invades Ukraine.  Duplicating the tactic that has worked so well in Africa and other places, the Chinese have begun investing in Ukraine, which by conventional Keynesian standards is starved for capital financing.  This gives China a secure foothold in the country, already plagued with a war to repel the Russian invasion.  It is a classic case of what Henry C. Adams (1851-1921) pointed out over a century ago as one of the most serious dangers to national sovereignty: foreign indebtedness.  The irony, of course, is that Ukraine has the financial and industrial infrastructure in place right now to make foreign investment completely unnecessary.  By financing capital investment by opening the discount window of the central bank to asset-backed agricultural, commercial, and industrial paper accepted by commercial banks (bills of exchange), Ukraine can self-finance all capital investment.  By having a program of expanded capital ownership to make every child, woman, and man in Ukraine a direct owner of the new capital, it can also generate the essential consumer demand, and all without an infusion of foreign investment or expansion of government debt.  President Zalensky should be giving this serious consideration.  Ukraine’s current low-wage and low-price economy can give it tremendous leverage in the global market, but only if they implement sound monetary, tax, and ownership reforms.
(May) Negative Interest Rate Fiasco. Europe and Japan seem to have gotten themselves into a mess over the use of “negative interest rates.”  To explain, allegedly to encourage commercial banks to lend their reserves instead of depositing the cash with the central bank, the central bank charges a fee to the depositor instead of paying interest.  All this does, however, is encourage hoarding by conservative financial institutions, and risky lending by less conservative institutions.  The practice is rooted in the Keynesian dogma that commercial banks lend out of reserves, which is not usually the case.  Instead, commercial banks create the money they lend by accepting bills of exchange and mortgage securities, and issuing promissory notes to pay for them, the promissory notes being used to back new demand deposits.  If central banks (or the governments that control them) want to encourage lending, they need to call a halt to the practice of backing the money supply with government debt and creating money for consumption and speculation.  Creating money by lending instead of to lend would ensure a sound method of finance, while financing growth in ways that creates more owners of the new capital being formed would ensure that the consumer demand essential to make the new capital feasible and sustainable would be in place..
• (May) New Jersey Public Pension Woes.  The state of New Jersey (no, we don’t know which exit) is considering shifting part of their pension benefits for new public employees over to a quasi 401(k) type arrangement that will help them save for retirement, and lessen the burden on the state’s already overburdened pension obligation, one of the most indebted in the United States.  The problem is that this wouldn’t really solve the problem.  A 401(k) or an IRA simply shifts consumption from the present to the future.  It reduces current consumption to provide for future consumption.  That dodges the whole issue of where does the production come from to consume?  A better solution would be to turn people into lifelong producers so they can be lifelong consumers rather than redistribute what some produce now for the benefit of others, or from what people produce now to consume later.  A Capital Homesteading program would empower everybody, even government workers, to be productive their entire lives without redistribution.
• (June) Missing Link Discovered!  For years we have speculated off and on  over why Pope Pius XI used the term “social justice” for his breakthrough in moral philosophy.  By 1922, when he was elected pope,  social justice meant socialism.  Pius XI was the first pope ever to use the term, and the first Catholic intellectual to use it since Msgr. Luigi Aloysius Taparelli d’Azeglio, S.J. in the late 1830s and early 1840s.  While head of the Ambrosian Library in Milan from 1907 to 1914, the future pope became so well-versed in Taparelli’s thought that, evidently having found the 1845 version inadequate for his purposes, he translated Taparelli’s multi-volume work on natural law, Saggio Teoretico di Dritto Naturale (1840) — “The Theoretical Essay of Natural Law” — into German, Versuch Eines Auf Erfahrung Begrundeten Naturrechts.  When he became pope, Pius XI immediately launched his campaign to restore the social order, with the chief means being the act of social justice, which he developed from the thought of Taparelli integrated with the political philosophy of Robert Cardinal Bellarmine.
• (June) Say What? Department.  Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) stated his belief that many of his colleagues in the Congress are struggling financially and need a raise.  Before you snort in derision, it’s quite possible, even probable, if you’re someone of ordinary means in Washington, DC, who has to maintain a home and an office in the DC metro area AND at least one of each in your home state.  Would YOU vote for a Representative or Senator whose legal residence was outside the district or state he or she represents?  That being said . . . yeah, come off it, man.  Many of your constituents are not merely “struggling,” they’re facing disaster in large measure because you won’t put the country’s house in order and pass a Capital Homestead Act, you exempt yourself from onerous legislation, make rules for others that don’t apply to you, get lifetime benefits for working a minimum of two years on the job, AND you vote yourself a raise?  Show a little sensitivity for the poor boobs who voted you into office.
• (June) The Advance of Fuzzy Socialism.  According to today’s Wall Street Journal . . . or maybe the Washington Post . . . or it could have been the National Enquirer . . . the fact that socialism has so many definitions (a dogma of the socialist movement), and that what definitions there are, are “fuzzy,” has accounted for the rapid growth of socialism among millennials.  Evidently, the less specific anything is, the easier it is to get people to believe it.  There is, however, a specific definition of socialism, and it is why, e.g., the Catholic Church condemns all forms of socialism due to its embodying a “concept of society utterly foreign to Christian [or any other kind of] truth.”  And that is?  That some form of society has rights that the human person does not have.  This means that an abstraction created by human beings that has no existence apart from the human mind is greater than the human beings who created it.  This completely defies logic, and sets up the contradiction that the created can be greater than the Creator.  Capitalism does almost the same thing, except it does it incompletely, maintaining that only an élite has rights or effective exercise of rights.  Thus, where socialism gets condemned outright, capitalism “only” gets criticized.
• (June) RoboMac.  According to today’s Wall Street Journal, “McDonald’s Corp. is designing voice-activated drive-throughs and robotic deep fryers as the burger giant works to streamline its menu and operations to speed up service.”  (Wall Street Journal, “To Speed Up, McDonald’s Enlists Robots,” 06/21/19, B-3.)  Somewhat deeper in the article is the mention of the movement to raise the minimum wage, which might actually be the primary motive for automation.  As Jean-Baptiste Say noted over two centuries ago, no businessman is going to purchase machinery unless it can do something less expansively than labor — and raising the minimum wage provides a tremendous incentive to replace human workers with robots.  Of course, thinking it through, one realizes what the late Walter Reuther recognized as the chief problem underlying the replacement of human beings with robots.  Reuther toured a Ford plant that had become largely automated and was twitted by the Ford executive giving him the tour, “You’ll have a hard time collecting union dues from those machines, Walter.”  Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, responded instantly, “You’ll have an even harder time selling them automobiles.”  Of course, Louis O. Kelso gave the solution in a 1964 interview in Life magazine, “If the Machine Wants Our Job, Let’s Buy It.”  If workers owned the machines that were putting them out of work, it wouldn’t matter, because the income generated by the machines would go to the workers who would spend it on consumption.
• (June) Gary Reber Appointed CESJ Board Member.  CESJ was pleased to announce that long-time CESJ member Gary Reber was unanimously appointed to the CESJ Board of Directors.  Gary is one of the longest-lasting people in the Kelso movement, and has been very faithful in participation.  He has been active on FaceBook, and has the limit of 5,000 friends (evidently FaceBook doesn’t want you to get too friendly).  Gary got to the head of political science department at the University of California at Berkeley, and he taught a class there.  He was involved in Agenda 2000.
• (June) Robert Brantley Appointed to CESJ Board of Counselors.  The Reverend Dr. Robert Brantley was appointed to the CESJ Board of Counselors, which functions as the CESJ advisory board.  Counselors may attend board meetings and have an advisory role.  All Counselors are invited and are given permission to attend in an advisory capacity and to offer brief comments or statements on relevant topics.
(June) Great Game of Business Training Session.  Dawn Brohawn and Rowland Brohawn attended a Great Game of Business training session at the New Belgian Brewery.  Dawn Brohawn reported that workers become responsible for promoting the good of the company by focusing on particular key/critical numbers.  The idea is make work fun, with games, small prizes, and that sort of thing.  Rowland Brohawn reported that they focus on teaching people about finance and what the numbers mean.  Some companies went ESOP after going through the Great Game of Business.  Dawn Brohawn said that the big question is money, getting our financing ideas across to business people and those in the insurance industry.  Mutual insurance is a natural for capital credit insurance.
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 50 different countries and 54 states and provinces in the United States and Canada (8 out of 10!  Manitoba and Prince Edward Island were the only holdouts) to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Australia.  The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “What They Should Have Read,” “The Challenge With Russell Williams,” “Nothing Is Impossible in Social Justice,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” and “News from the Network, Vol. 12, No. 50.”
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.”  Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.