Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and — believe it or not — there is a great deal to be thankful for. For one thing, you’re reading this, which proves that you can read this. Another is the publication of Economic Personalism. Still another is that with a new administration coming in, there just might be a wiser head or two realizing politicians and academics have to start thinking outside the box instead of trying to find a different or bigger box to hide in:
Friday, November 27, 2020
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that Puerto Rico hasn’t always been an economic “basket case” by any stretch of the imagination. A series of natural and manmade events, however, combined to put the Commonwealth in a very bad position.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we took a brief look at the current situation of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico — and it is not good. In social justice, however, we learn that (at least in social justice terms) “nothing is impossible.” That doesn’t mean that something that is genuinely impossible can be done, e.g., flap your arms and fly to the Moon. Rather, it means that by organizing using the techniques of social justice, what is impossible for one lone individual to accomplish becomes very easy (relatively speaking, anyway).
Monday, November 23, 2020
Yes, we realize that it’s so much easier to tell others what they’re doing wrong and demand that they do it right, but face it. Do you think people really want to do things wrong? Maybe it’s just that nobody bothered to tell them there’s a right way . . . our Just Third Way. . . .
Friday, November 20, 2020
As the political sideshow continues to consume the communications media — shades of the U.S. presidential campaign of 1876, which wasn’t decided until early March of 1877! — matters important to real people are put on a back burner or ignored entirely . . . except by us:
Thursday, November 19, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, an idea to develop Puerto Rico in the 1970s using the Proprietary Fund for Puerto Rico went nowhere, possibly due to the influence of the eminent economist Dr. Paul Samuelson. That does not mean, however, that something still can’t be done — despite the fact that the Commonwealth is in much worse shape today than in the 1970s.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Okay, maybe it wasn’t the deepest or most meaningful song, but then it wasn’t meant to be. The Chordettes’ version of Lollipop from 1958 (they did the second recording) hit Number 2 on Billboard. It was pretty much the only thing they did that anyone remembers . . . well, Mister Sandman was pretty popular, too. And a decade or so later, “the Archies” with Sugar, Sugar had another one-hit wonder. There must be something about candy that diminishes the seriousness of the message (if any) conveyed.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
As we hinted in the previous posting on this subject, the ideas of money, credit, banking, and finance are mere theories, but have practical applications in what we loosely term “the real world.” One of the more interesting of these is the might-have-been of “the Proprietary Fund for Puerto Rico.”
Monday, November 16, 2020
Back in 1984, two representatives of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) testified before the Lay Commission on the Economy that attempted to advise the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the draft of their pastoral on the economy. Remarkably, not one word of what was said made its way into the final document. . . .
Friday, November 13, 2020
Although the delay in announcing the official winner of the U.S. presidential race is annoying (to say the least), what is truly baffling is the behavior of the stock market, which has been soaring to new heights despite the bizarre economic and political situation. In any event, most things seem on hold until the winner is settled and a vaccine released, but here goes:
Thursday, November 12, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at some fundamentals of money, credit, banking, and finance. And we do mean “some.” We covered key concepts, but not in any depth, primarily for informational purposes, not anything approaching a full explanation. It was, frankly, simply a way to get into the story of how politicians and economists shackled to conventional (and wrong) notions of money and credit have managed to derail reform programs to everyone’s detriment, probably because they were afraid to look stupid or endanger their status or income . . . with the latter probably taking precedence.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that a lot of the problems involving money and credit could be solved fairly simply (though not necessarily easily) by talking things out and persuading economists and policymakers to shift their thinking about such things (and, of course, do it our way. . . .).
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Now that the dust (or whatever it is) has (sort of) settled from the election (more or less), America and the rest of the world can get back to a more immediate problem: How to make people productive so that they can take care of themselves instead of going hat-in-hand to the rich or to the State. Nor is this an academic exercise, given that government has shown itself all-too-willing to create money backed by its own debt and throw it at the problem, thinking something has been done.
Monday, November 9, 2020
From the Just Third Way perspective (i.e., natural law in the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition), as a religious event, the Second Vatican Council is of no relevance. As an application of natural law principles to counter the “new things” of socialism, modernism, and esotericism, however, it is of great importance . . . especially given the way (in our opinion) it was diverted and used to advance the very things it was intended to counter.
Friday, November 6, 2020
With everyone’s attention focused on the U.S. presidential election, we thought we’d provide you with a little non-election news. We can’t say “non-political,” for in the Aristotelian-Thomist sense, economic and social justice are quintessentially political:
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Given that virtually the whole of the global media are focused today on the outcome of the as-of-this-writing undecided U.S. presidential election, we thought we’d do something so wild and crazy that everybody will want to read it. And contribute their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor to promoting the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
“Power,” as American statesman Daniel Webster said two-hundred years ago during the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, “naturally and necessarily property.” Yes, the political ballot is important, but if people do not have the economic power to back up political power, what inevitably happens is that those with property seize power, or those with power, seize property.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
We’ve been talking a lot about human dignity on this blog and elsewhere, so it seems like an opportune time to make a few comments . . . particularly today, when people are focused on the current election for U.S. president.
Monday, November 2, 2020
As a follow-up to the previous video podcast on “the Act of Social Justice,” this week we bring you “Economic Justice for All.” Note that although this podcast has the same title as the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral on the economy, it takes a slightly different — as well as more effective and respectful of human dignity — direction.
Friday, October 30, 2020
Thursday, October 29, 2020
In what proved to be our most popular Halloween Horror Special ever, we compared the economics of John Maynard Keynes to Audry II, “the mean, green mother from outer space.” We thought that maybe Keynes was the unwitting dupe of a sinister plan from outer space to conquer the world.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we opined as to what would be an effective program to foster production by as many people as possible, thereby bringing economic activity back into balance as far as humanly possible? What is needed is a restoration of Say’s Law of Markets, turning every consumer into a producer, and every producer into a consumer so that “supply generates its own demand, and demand generates its own supply.”
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Prince Otto von Bismarck had imposed on indemnity on France following the Franco-Prussian War that he intended to break France economically, thereby removing any competition to the new German Second Reich from the French Second Empire. Unfortunately, believing that specie — gold and silver — were “real money,” the German Chancellor outsmarted himself.
Monday, October 26, 2020
Although in everyday usage social justice is a rather vague term (and a compliment or pejorative, depending on who is speaking), there is actually a well-developed body of thought on social justice within the framework of the philosophy of Aristotle and Aquinas:
Friday, October 23, 2020
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Production is the key to a sound economy, but consumption is the lock. And, as should be obvious, neither the lock nor the key does very well without the other, and in fact neither one will function at all without the other. As Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations as the first principle of economics, and that Jean-Baptiste Say applied in “his” Law of Markets, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.” Production not intended for consumption is therefore waste, while the need for consumption without production is want.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, in social justice terms, nothing is impossible . . . if you go at it from the right principles and use the correct techniques.
That, in fact, is the very nature of social justice. As CESJ co-founder Fr. William Ferree noted in his pamphlet, Introduction to Social Justice (1948),
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
So, you think we have it bad today with mushrooming government debt, a global pandemic, economies verging on collapse, and world leaders who seem to have no idea what to do about anything except point the finger at whoever seems a likely suspect?
Monday, October 19, 2020
The problem with trying to get a handle on solidarism these days is that few people who consider themselves solidarists are aware of the history of solidarism. Without that basic knowledge of how solidarist thought developed, however, it is often impossible to discern “true” solidarism as (re)developed by Heinrich Pesch, from the other schools and distortions:
Friday, October 16, 2020
The stock market this week has exhibited its usual complete disconnection from reality. This is a shame on several levels. First, of course, it leads people to think that something significant is happening when the secondary market really has no direct effect on the primary market. That’s why it’s called a “secondary market.” It’s like expecting to examine the performance of used clothing stores to determine how well new clothing is doing. Yes, there is some correlation, but used clothing sales don’t drive the retail clothing market. Second, it diverts from the real purpose of the secondary market: to buy and sell “used” debt and equity. This is a valuable service, but the experts act as if it doesn’t even exist. Anyway, to get away from the fantasies of Wall Street, we advocate the Economic Democracy Act:
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Given the furor over Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’s new encyclical, by people of many faiths and philosophies, and the fact that we have commented on a small portion of it, we thought it might be useful to explain why we felt it necessary to do so, that is, our take on the respective roles of faith and reason, especially from what we understand to be the traditional Catholic understanding — so here goes.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, there are what appear to be some confusing and contradictory statements made in Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. In particular, His Holiness refers to private property in § 120 as a “secondary natural right,” which is a contradiction in terms. That is why we believe it to have been inserted out of human error, and why we have respectfully requested clarification of what on the surface appears to be a fundamental departure from what the Catholic Church and other natural religions and philosophies have always taught.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
In his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, “On Fraternity and Social Friendship,” Pope Francis made some confusing statements regarding private property. Ordinarily, this would not be an issue, as the Just Third Way is concerned with the natural law and its applications in civil society. What any religion chooses to do regarding purely religious issues is the business of adherents of that faith.
Monday, October 12, 2020
Perhaps not surprisingly, today’s video on G.K. Chesterton has proved to be one of our most popular. Why? Perhaps it has to do with our rather heterodox position on Chesterton and his life’s work. We think, for example, that he was not a socialist or a capitalist, but an advocate in somewhat limited form of what we today call the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as trippingly as the same old things, but judge for yourself:
Friday, October 9, 2020
Purely by coincidence, almost all of this week’s news items deal with philosophy and the Just Third Way, one way or another. Specifically, they almost all relate to the fact that with the advent of the “new things” of socialism, modernism, and the New Age, the way people think about traditional forms of religion, politics, and even marriage and family changed dramatically:
Thursday, October 8, 2020
For some reason, the criticisms we expected from yesterday’s blog posting did not materialize . . . at least as anticipated. We expected that people would claim that we were being disrespectful to Pope Francis, that we were dissenting from Catholic teaching, so on, so forth, etc., et al., so it goes.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Today we were hoping to do something on the Battle of Lepanto that took place October 7, 1571, but this is a bit more significant, as we’re sure you’ll agree.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
A lot of fuss was made recently about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Barrett, belonging to a group called “People of Praise.” Now, what Judge Barrett does on her own time is own business, and this has nothing to do with her qualifications or lack thereof for the position of Supreme Court Justice.
Monday, October 5, 2020
Today we have the second part of a talk by Dr. Norman Kurland, president of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice, on the "Economic Democracy Act" (formerly the "Capital Homestead Act"). The presentation is a good summary of how to apply the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism, which is also the subject of an upcoming book from Justice University Press:
Friday, October 2, 2020
Once again we manage to avoid talking the contemporary political scene and concentrate on what’s really important here: life, liberty, and access to the means of acquiring and possessing private property in capital. Instead, what we have for the beginning of National Employee Ownership Month (a.k.a. “October”) is a number of informational items, mostly about, well, worker ownership:
Thursday, October 1, 2020
So you think times are bad right now? Well . . . you’re right. They are bad — but there’s a reason for it. We were going to write “good reason,” but to some readers who are just skimming this, they might think we are saying that’s what’s good is bad and vice versa, or that there’s evil-evil, evil-good, good-evil, and good-good . . . if you remember Mad Magazine’s spoof of The Sandpiper, “The Sinpiper,” that dished up modernist gobbledygook in place of coherent religious teaching and moral guidance.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
One of the most ignored, yet troubling problems in the world today is the unquestioned assumption that money is and should be an instrument of public policy. Part of this is the result of confusing “money” and “currency,” but the problem goes much deeper than that, especially in Keynesian economics.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
As we may have said once or twice in the past, one of our favorite blog postings to write is the one that we don’t have to write. The second most favorite is the one that we can lift from something else we’ve written, tailor it a bit to fit circumstances, and post it. Third is where we answer a question. Today we have the last.
Monday, September 28, 2020
It does seem rather astonishing at times that an individual or group can tell other people straight to their faces what they plan on doing to them, and are dismissed, brushed aside, ridiculed or ignored . . . until action is finally taken.
Friday, September 25, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, we asserted the main reason one “side” is so opposed to “rum, Romanism, and rebellion,” is that there is a profoundly anti-personalist philosophy prevalent today about the human person and each person’s place in society — and this philosophy seems to permeate both sides of the debate.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there appears to be a bit of a bruhaha (but no one is laughing . . .) following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and a possible successor. In an age focused on mindless prejudice to the point of obsession, it’s interesting that the objections to the possibility of a practicing Catholic being appointed to the United States Supreme Court seem virtually unchanged from the rhetoric of a number of fringe groups from the late 1700s down to the 1950s.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, speculation has shifted into high gear as conservatives push for what they think will be a conservative justice, and liberals for a, er, liberal justice. That’s a little simplistic, but it’s the view most people have of the situation. The problem is that it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Are you ready for another episode in the real-life saga of How Distributive Justice, Social Justice, and Socialism got so confused? If you are, then fasten your seatbelts, you’re in for a bumpy ride.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Trying to report news items that have nothing to do with the upcoming election and stick to our last of working to implement and maintain the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism can get a little difficult at times. We think we’ve managed it again for this week, so if you’re wondering how to relegate politics to a minor annoyance and let people live their lives the way they think best within a just social order, read on:
Thursday, September 17, 2020
A constant theme among people dissatisfied with modern civilization is that a return to the simple life in one form or another will solve most, if not all, of our problems, and that a stronger faith and personal virtue will restore society to something more human. That, at least, seemed to be theme of an article that appeared recently in Catholic World Report, “Facing Industrial-Strength Problems In an Industrial-Driven Society” by James Kalb. As he stated,
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Back in the late seventeenth century, the first true central bank was established, the venerable Bank of England, “the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street,” as it is more or less fondly known. Usually it is less these days as the Old Lady, along with virtually every other central bank in the world, gets ever-further away from its mission.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
A recent article in Catholic World Report opined “On the Troubling and Growing Popularity of Cultural Marxism“ in global society, especially (as might be expected) among Catholics, many of whom seem to understand Christianity more in terms of, e.g., Henri de Saint-Simon’s “New Christianity” as Jesus as the first socialist than in the more traditional manner. Many Catholics, in fact, seem completely oblivious of the fact that their own church’s “social teachings” came into being as a discrete area of study specifically to counter the threat posed by socialism, modernism, and esotericism (“New Age”) to the human-centered personalism of traditional Christianity.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Yeah, we’ve been going a “little” heavy on “Catholic” stuff in the blog and in the podcasts, but we’ve got a good excuse: that’s what we’re working on at the present time and to add more areas to write about on top of everything else is just too much.
Friday, September 11, 2020
What with the stock market bouncing up and down and interest rates sometimes at negative levels, people considering taking early retirement due to the pandemic are in a serious bind. They may not have work (or it has become too much work to work), but their retirement provisions are far from adequate, especially when they are all based on past savings, and the global economy is based by and large on Keynesian economics that actively seeks to destroy the value of past savings and erode or eliminate the value of investments held by small investors. This makes the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism all the more essential, especially considering this week’s news items:
Thursday, September 10, 2020
As we saw in the previous two postings on this subject, there is a way that Joseph Biden can win the U.S. presidential race in a landslide in November, and there is a way that Donald Trump can win in a landslide. All it takes is a new vision of leadership and a coherent plan where this country is going, respectively. Now today we’re going to finish off this subject and look at what will happen if both candidates catch on and carry out campaigns in which everyone wins, even if he or she is not elected.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Imagine, if you will, a scene in the White House within a few hours of Joe Biden announcing that he is dropping his support for government funding of abortion, as suggested in the previous posting on this subject. There is (as you might imagine) a great deal of consternation and wringing of hands.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
What with all the acrimony, even hysteria about the upcoming presidential election in the United States, we thought it might be useful to present a plan that would guarantee (as far as is humanly possible) that everybody would win, even people not voting and those residing in every country in the world. Yes, and even the “losers,” who would lose nothing substantive under our proposal.
Monday, September 7, 2020
This week’s podcast has an exclusive interview with Dr. Norman Kurland, president of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), the first part of a presentation on the "Economic Democracy Act" (formerly "Capital Homestead Act"):
Friday, September 4, 2020
As has become usual, the economic situation gravitates between surreal and fantasy, with numerous side excursions into the ridiculous. Nowhere is this more evident (or at least more obvious) than in the stock market, which continues to rise and fall in response to . . . whatever it is that it responds to, it certainly isn’t the economy. Take, for instance, this week’s news items:
Thursday, September 3, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, CESJ does not support or endorse any candidate for public office. Any opinions expressed on these matters are personal and represent the views of people as individuals, not as members or representatives of CESJ. The mention of any specific candidate(s) is purely expedient.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, CESJ does not support or endorse any candidate for public office. Any opinions expressed on these matters are personal and represent the views of people as individuals, not as members or representatives of CESJ. The mention of any specific candidate(s) is purely expedient.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we discovered that using the United States Supreme Court to create law and impose the views of one group on everyone else in the country is something of a double-edged sword. Specifically, when the slave-owning “interests” in the American South succeeded in making human chattel slavery a federal issue instead of confining it to the individual states, they got what they wanted — legal justification to extend slavery anywhere in the United States, regardless whether or not it was legal in a specific state.
Monday, August 31, 2020
Everybody likes DIY (“Do It Yourself”) videos, right? Well, not everybody can whip out a mission-style house with all the furniture (unless your name happens to be Norm Abram, that is, and you have every power tool known to man or woman), but you can join in the feeding frenzy when it comes to undermining the fundamental principles of natural law and common sense:
Friday, August 28, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
In a recent article in Catholic World Report (“Why We Are Where We Are“), George Weigel opines that the increasing chaos we see around us these days is the result of the United States having lost its way after being cut loose from the liberal principles of its founding. There is a good deal of merit in Weigel’s argument, but it doesn’t really explain how the U.S. lost its anchor. As he says in this edited-for-length extract (since you can read the entire article by clicking on the link; it’s not long):
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, when people have an inadequate understanding of money and credit, they necessarily get themselves into a bind called “the Economic Dilemma”: that you can’t profitably finance new capital without increasing demand to justify it, but you can finance new capital at all if you don’t have the money savings accumulated from decreasing demand!
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the popular notion of finance — embodied in all three mainstream schools of economics (Keynesian, Monetarist/Chicago, and Austrian) — is that it is essential to cut consumption and accumulate money savings in order to finance new capital formation. This, however, leads to a paradox that Dr. Harold Glenn Moulton of the Brookings Institution called “the Economic Dilemma.”
Monday, August 24, 2020
How did “the new things” of socialism, modernism, and esotericism (“New Age”) manage to become part and parcel of the political and economic thought of so many people? After all, as we define it (abolition of private property in capital), socialism is not particularly social, modernism (not modernity, but a philosophical/theological shift from the human person to the abstraction of humanity) is not really all that modern, and esotericism or the New Age is not all that new.
Friday, August 21, 2020
On the face of it, it appears to be a paradox: unemployment continues to spread, but “the economy” seems to be doing well . . .if by “the economy,” you mean the stock market, which has as much to do with the real, productive and consumption economy as a television situation comedy has to do with real life. One of the more bizarre concepts to come out of what seems to be a pervasive insulation from reality among business, political, and religious leaders is the notion of “stakeholder capitalism,” with which we lead off this week’s news items:
Thursday, August 20, 2020
With apologies to Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that anyone in possession of a good business, must be in want of savings. As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, savings are essential to the process of new capital formation. The only question is the source of the savings. Is it to come from past reductions in consumption, or from future increases in production?
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we closed with the comment that John Maynard Keynes did not define savings properly, and this skewed his entire analysis to the point where it really wasn’t very closely connected with reality. This is, in fact, why the eventual title of Louis Kelso’s third book was Two-Factor Theory: The Economics of Reality (1967).
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted the fact that inflation-indexing capital gains would stop a rather shady practice that taxes people on income they never earned and never received. As we noted in the first simple example we gave, if someone pays $10 for something, the value of the money drops by half, and then the thing is sold for $20, the seller realizes no actual gain at all, but is taxed as if there was a $10 gain. This is unfair by any measure.
Monday, August 17, 2020
Ninety years ago, the noted English writer G.K. Chesterton gave his opinion of socialism and modernism. As he said, “anything can be called Socialism, . . . it seems to mean Modernism; in the sociological as distinct from the theological sense. In both senses, it is generally a euphemism for muddle-headedness.” (“There Was a Socialist,” G.K.’s Weekly, May 10, 1930.)
Friday, August 14, 2020
It appears that some people might be waking up to the potential of expanded capital ownership for spearheading an economic recovery, especially since it not only enables more people to be productive, it empowers them with the ability to consume without redistribution. Of course, at present all the proposals apply only to people who are employed by for-profit companies, and to make expanded ownership truly effective as an economic force requires that everyone be a capital owner, especially anyone who doesn’t work for a for-profit enterprise or who can’t work at all, but it’s a step in the right direction:
Thursday, August 13, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we asked why the current system of financing new capital formation would cause the lid to blow off the economy or society as a whole. The quick answer? Because relying on past savings gives the rich or the State control over the economy, and the Keynesian reliance on inflation to control economic growth and finance new capital is a way of stealing from the non-rich. It works like this:
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
For those of you used to doing things the right way instead of getting everything all turned around, the title of this blog is “How to Finance Capital Backwards,” which is what the world has been doing for the last two centuries or so . . . or thinks it has, which amounts to the same thing.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
We’ve been looking into the roots of socialism, and how socialism and social justice became confused. One of the things that struck us that we had never noticed before was the insistence of the early socialists that, one, what became known as socialism was originally not intended as an alternative to capitalism, but to Christianity, especially the most organized and hierarchical form of Christianity, Catholicism.
Monday, August 10, 2020
This week we have another video from the “Sensus Fidelium” YouTube channel. Yes (as we’ve said before), it’s a “Catholic channel,” and if you search through the thousands of hours of programming on the channel, you will find a great deal of material oriented to Catholics. There’s a bit of that in these videos, too (of course), but the primary emphasis is on the “natural law” aspect of Catholic social teaching, so you can mentally filter out the explicitly Catholic material if you’ve a mind to, and you won’t miss anything.
Friday, August 7, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, one way to “lure” people back to work when they are (at least temporarily) better off not working, is to make them an offer they can’t refuse, or at least would be extremely foolish to turn down. The offer we suggested, of course, is that it would be beneficial to offer workers a piece of the action, that is, part ownership of the companies that employ them.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked briefly at the problem of how things like the UBI, welfare, and unemployment compensation can act as a disincentive to work. The bottom line is, if you pay people not to work, they tend not to work. The only way a basic income of some kind is not a disincentive to take gainful employment is if you get it in addition to, not instead of, gainful employment, and that is something that it would be complete and total disaster for a government to do.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
. . . but is that the question? Quite a few people have noted over the past several months that the enhanced unemployment benefits have persuaded a number of people not to return to work. It seems that some people are actually getting more income by not working than they did when they were employed. As noted in yesterday’s (August 3, 2020, p. A-16) Wall Street Journal,
Monday, August 3, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Frequently in our research we’ve come across claims such as Marxist communism and Fabian socialism are two different things, that Nazism isn’t/wasn’t real socialism, that fascism and Nazism were/are right wing, and so on, so forth, etc., etc. Of course, it might be helpful to define what we mean by “left,” “right,” and “center.”
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
No, this isn’t a “real” language lesson, a sort of “Latin pro populo” (“Latin for everybody”) that you can use as a handy phrase book when ordering dinner at the Vatican. It’s just that we got into a discussion about singing in Latin the other day, and one of the participants in the conversation happened to mention that singing “Church Latin” is much easier than singing “Germanic Latin.” That started us off on our “Latin Pronunciation Lecture,” which — bear with us — does have a bearing on the Just Third Way. Of course, everything does, but it might not be obvious at first glance.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
A short time ago we got a request to comment on Karl Marx as “the second economic reductionist.” In the context of the discussion this referred to the socialist movement which, to make a very long story short and oversimplify greatly, began in the early nineteenth century with Henri de Saint-Simon’s declaration in his posthumous book, Le Nouveau Christianisme (1825) that what would in a few years be known as “socialism” was “the New Christianity.”
Monday, July 27, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
Yes, most of the news is related one way or another to the pandemic, but it also relates to the Just Third Way. The one news item we don’t see that we’d like to is an announcement that the powers-that-be have finally figured out that a strong economy depends on making ordinary people productive, which in a modern advanced economy (or any other, for that matter) means ownership of whatever is producing marketable goods and services, be it technology or human labor:
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Somewhat to our surprise, we seem to have become something of a “distributist guru.” Of course, that could just be an impression, but if it’s true, it might be because we seem to be able to give consistent specifics instead of vague and contradictory generalities. Not that G.K. Chesterton or Hilaire Belloc gave out anything contradictory, or at least, not that they intended to be contradictory, but that’s not our point. Our point is where Chesterton and Belloc wanted to go, not necessarily how they thought it expedient to get there.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
In a recent article, His Auxiliary Excellency Bishop Robert Barron opined (how do you like that word?) that if the laity want something done — such as protecting religious statues — they should stop asking the bishops to do something, and start thinking about doing it themselves. That’s something of an oversimplification of a rather more involved argument, but that’s the message most people took from it . . . and they were not pleased.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
We’re having trouble keeping up with what various commentators are proposing as their respective solutions to the pandemic, racism, the economy, the politicians, the academics, the guy next door, and can you believe the price of [fill in the blank] these days? Case in point: a few weeks ago (or was it months? it’s getting hard to tell . . .), an article appeared in Catholic World Report, a webzine, “America’s Utopian City Wreckers.”
Monday, July 20, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
If you’re worried about the way things are going in the world, you might want to skip the first half of this edition of News from the Network and go down to the good news (qualified good news, anyway) near the bottom. Yes, there actually are a few rays of hope, notably the success of the “Sensus Fidelium” videos about the origins and effects of the “new things” of socialism, modernism (probably not what you think it is), and esotericism, so tolle lege (Latin for “take and read):
Thursday, July 16, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we looked at how a social encyclical should be read. That, however, was not the point we set out to make, but an introduction to the main point. We just wanted to be sure that our faithful readers understood that when we talk about a “social encyclical,” they know what we are talking about: a document on a natural law teaching that, while it may be expressed in religious terms, applies to the whole of society, not just Catholics.
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Monday, July 13, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
We admit that much of what is happening these days does not lend itself to brief news items. Making matters worse, those events that are genuinely brief are not infrequently completely unrelated to the Just Third Way. We did, however, manage to find a few things:
Thursday, July 9, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, distributism as presented by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc had the right idea: a wide distribution of private property in capital, by which they did NOT mean a redistribution of what belongs to someone else. (See the final comment in What’s Wrong With the World (1910).
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Someone asked us recently whether we thought distributism and feudalism are pretty much the same thing. Off the top of our head (or is that “heads”?) our first response is “no.” After all, feudalism meant that most (if not all) land was “public” land, and people “held” the land in return for specified service(s) to the State, usually military service. Land was not private property.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
A while back in response to an item touting Capital Homesteading as a possible way to bring people together and turn the economy around in our weekly Just Third Way news roundup, someone posted a comment to the effect that the original 1862 Homestead Act was (wait for it) . . . racist! As a way of refuting our promotion of Capital Homesteading as a way of possibly establishing a little racial harmony and putting the economy back on a sound footing, the Righteous One went on to explain that the 1862 Act was “Whites Only,” and Black homesteaders were completely unheard of.
Monday, July 6, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
Frankly, we don’t know what to think. On one hand the “June Jobs Report” makes it sound as if the economy is booming, and the stock market is rising. There is also the bit that there is an actual “worker shortage” as people refuse to take jobs as long as their unemployment benefits are paid; it seems that they are better off economically not working at all . . . at least, not that the authorities know about. At the same time, we’re told the “jobs market” won’t recover for at least ten years. What are we to believe, and what are we supposed to do? Well, why not go the Just Third Way:
Thursday, July 2, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we addressed the question whether the United States was founded as a “Christian nation,” and came up with the non-answer that it depends on what you mean by “Christian nation.” We decided — that’s us, not you — that, yes, you could use that term if you didn’t mind saying something misleading, but it would be better to say that the United States was founded as a country that — with certain rather key exceptions — embodied respect for the dignity of the individual human person.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
A couple of weeks ago an article appeared in The Christian Post on how America was departing from the values of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The idea was that the principles espoused by the Founders were essentially Christian, and that therefore the United States is properly a “Christian nation.”
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Contrary to popular opinion, Rerum Novarum was not the first social encyclical, nor did Catholic social teaching as such begin with Pope Leo XIII. The social doctrine of the Catholic Church, of course, is as old as the Church itself. It was not until the early nineteenth century, however, that social teachings were treated as a specialized area of study.
Monday, June 29, 2020
This week host Dave Hamill has a conversation with Dan Parker of the Global Justice Movement . . . you know, the “Global Justice Movement” we mention once or twice on this blog. Dan hails from Whitecourt in Alberta, Canada, where he comes out of the social credit movement.
Friday, June 26, 2020
Thursday, June 25, 2020
In our last episode (i.e., the previous posting on this subject) we mentioned that when we got around to addressing this subject again that we’d try and get to the point. So, let’s ask again, “Are distributism and the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism compatible?” Our starting point for today’s discussion is G.K. Chesterton’s description of distributism as a policy of widely distributed private ownership of capital, with a preference for small, family-owned farms and artisan businesses.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
A few weeks ago we had a question about “the Commons” that, prior to the Industrial Revolution and the enclosure movement, were a (if you’ll excuse the term) common feature of everyday life for many people. We get different forms of this question periodically, so we figured it would be a good time to answer it in a blog posting. The question? Were the Commons an example of agrarian socialism, i.e., land owned in common by every member of a town or village?
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Every once in a while those of us who promote what we call the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism are asked whether what we’re talking about is compatible with “distributism.” The quick and easy answer is, “That depends on what you mean by distributism.” Frankly, quite a few people see no difference between distributism and Fabian, democratic, or Christian socialism.
Monday, June 22, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
It is extremely difficult, but we will try to confine our weekly news items to “Just Third Way-specific” matter. We realize it’s becoming increasingly popular to speak in despairing terms of “the New Normal” and moan about how bad things are going to be from now on, but that’s because people keep insisting on addressing the same old problems in the same old ways, instead of implementing the Just Third Way:
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, we began this discussion a month ago after seeing an article in a webzine about the dignity of work, phrased in such a way as to suggest that it was work itself, rather than the human person doing the work, that takes priority.
Monday, June 15, 2020
Friday, June 12, 2020
We are tempted to form a “Capital Homesteading Pool” to gamble on which leader(s) in which country(ies) will wise up first and implement Capital Homesteading or some other form of economic empowerment legislation instead of figuring out ways to spend more money that doesn’t exist. We’re not against gambling — as recreation — but the idea of linking proposals for genuinely productive activity in any way to gambling is more than a little off-putting. After all, we already have Wall Street and Congress, so why have another way to gamble? Instead, here’s what this week has brought in the way of the Just Third Way:
Thursday, June 11, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Msgr. John A. Ryan was the instigator behind the sabotage of the academic career of Fulton J. Sheen at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Nor (as we shall see) did Msgr. Ryan confine his campaign against Sheen to Academia. As time went on, he was active in extracurricular activities intended to blacken Sheen’s name.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
A while ago on June 3 there was an interesting piece on the causes of the “civil unrest” following the death of George Floyd. An article titled “The Solution” by Dale Ahlquist of “The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton” appeared in Catholic World Report.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there were two important stages in the development of social justice as understood in Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy. The first was in the 1830s when, in response to the “new things” of socialism, modernism, and esotericism, Msgr. Aloysius Taparelli developed a principle of social justice.
Monday, June 8, 2020
Friday, June 5, 2020
Can anyone explain to us why, when the economy has been shut down, unemployment is at an all-time high, cities are being torn apart by rioting, looting, and burning, that the stock market is rocketing skyward? We just checked: as of a moment ago as of this writing, the Dow was up 750 points. No, you read that right, it’s not a typo. And yet:
Thursday, June 4, 2020
As described in the Wikipedia — which, despite its reputation, has its moments . . . this not being one of them — Msgr. John A. Ryan (1869-1945) of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC “was a leading Catholic priest who was a noted moral theologian, professor, author and advocate of social justice.”
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
While the most frequent justification given for the explosion of violence accompanying the protests over the murder of George Floyd is a concern for racial justice, it is difficult for some of us to understand what looting and destroying black- (and white- and yellow- and green- and purple- and . . . ) owned businesses, burning churches, desecrating memorials, etc., etc., etc., has to do with racial justice, or anything else except rage.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the rise of Fulton Sheen at the Catholic University of America in the 1920s could only be called meteoric. Not surprisingly, the advent of someone so obviously intellectually gifted not only shook up the faculty, it seems to have been taken as an actual threat, especially by those of a less orthodox and more modernist bent, such as Msgr. John A. Ryan.
Monday, June 1, 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Fulton J. Sheen left the Catholic University of America and transferred to the Louvain two years into a three year doctoral program due to the rapidly degenerating level of academic standards under the auspices of the noted Msgr. John A. Ryan. Not surprisingly for one of his temper, Msgr. Ryan appears to have taken Sheen’s move as an insult or a personal attack of some kind.