Monday, May 25, 2020
Friday, May 22, 2020
The Big News this week seems to be the debates about more “stimulus” in the trillions of dollars. We keep wondering why when we first proposed allocating $2 trillion worth of capital credit to finance new capital formation to be broadly owned and in a non-inflationary way, it was called insanely risky. Not like issuing $6 trillion or more of new money backed only by future tax collections that might never materialize. And then there’s this:
Thursday, May 21, 2020
To hear some people tell it, Monsignor John Augustine Ryan (1869-1945) was not only the greatest social justice advocate who ever lived, he saved the world by inspiring and instituting the New Deal in the 1930s. Neither claim bears up on even the most cursory examination. As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, public, academic, and political opinion had shifted away from an ownership system, and was firmly entrenched in the wage system.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that where Adam Smith said a thing is worth what the customer is willing to pay for it, David Ricardo said a thing is worth the labor it cost to produce it combined with its scarcity. We then asked the forbidden question, What if it takes immense labor to produce a unique item that nobody wants? That’s where the “labor theory of value” gets more than a little dicey.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good wife, must be in want of a job.” That, of course, is the famous opening line from fictional author Gianny Austin’s apocryphal novel, Property and Prejudice, a comedy of manners in which ownership of the means of production (except for an economic or political élite) is depicted as being not quite polite, and the characters spend all their time cleverly positioning themselves for higher wages and fixed benefits, and then wondering why prices are so high and why other people keep telling them what to do.
Monday, May 18, 2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
The latest news is that “the government” (meaning desperate politicians) are considering pumping another $3 trillion so people have something to spend. Of course, we’re still baffled why an additional $3 trillion backed by government debt that is rising skyward is more secure than the $2 trillion backed by private sector hard assets we propose for Capital Homesteading, but then, we’re not politicians or academics. All we can do is talk what seems to be common sense:
Thursday, May 14, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that the phrases “the dignity of labor” and “the dignity of work” might be a little ambiguous, even misleading on occasion. For example, what do we mean by “labor”? Do we mean work . . . or do we mean the worker? The dignity of work is substantially different from the dignity of the worker, so it makes a great deal of difference what we mean by “labor.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Earlier this week, Catholic World Report, a webzine, ran an article, “Nonessential Workers” and the Essential Dignity of Work.” Reading through the article, there seemed to be some confusion about different types of work, and even work as work, as well as the concept of dignity. It seemed to paint the situation as a single issue in black and white, while in reality it is a number of issues that get into some very gray areas.
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we posted another section of our recent CESJ position paper, “Universalizing Capital Ownership.” Today we get to the final section of the paper, dealing with the short-term emergency measures we believe to be necessary, and a brief outline of the long-term reforms to the system that need to be carried out. Of course, if you want to read the entire paper without having to go back and read the individual postings, just click on the link above to the full paper. It’s pretty short.
Monday, May 11, 2020
In today's video cast, the "Great Books" philosopher Mortimer Adler discusses Aristotle's "theory of happiness" found in Book I of the Nichomachean Ethics. And what has this got to do with the Just Third Way? You'll see. . . .
Friday, May 8, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we started posting a recent CESJ position paper, “Universalizing Capital Ownership,” as a series. Of course, if you want to read the paper in one go, just click on the link; it’s not very long, although putting up the whole thing as a blog posting is a bit much at one time.
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Okay, when we last addressed this subject in a posting, we were in the middle of helping prepare a “subject paper” (or whatever you want to call it) on the Covid-19 virus and its economic impact. The preparation of the paper proved to be a bit more involved than originally anticipated (although well worth the effort), so instead of closing this particular series of blog postings with a summary of the paper, we’ll end by serializing the paper itself. Of course, if you want to read the whole paper at one go (it’s actually pretty short), you can do so by clicking on this link.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Today we have a short (ten minute) video on "natural law theory" which isn't bad, but it's not the best. For one thing, it's poorly edited, with all pauses between thoughts edited out. It tends to come off like a G&S patter trio after a bit. There are also a number of factual errors, such as man being a social animal . . . no, political animal; we have determinable, not determinate natures. On the whole, however, it's not bad, if you ignore the cutesy and clever language and edit out the oversimplifications and errors:
Friday, May 1, 2020
Purely by coincidence, most of the news items this week relate to the benefits of worker ownership. We say “by coincidence,” for today is the “feast” (holiday in honor of) “Saint Joseph the Worker,” which was instituted in 1955 to counter the communists Numero Uno holiday in the workers’ calendar. What the communists and everyone else seemed to forget, however, is that Saint Joseph was not just a worker, he was a worker-owner. He may have been poor, but poor people can own capital, too:
Thursday, April 30, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we started looking at the “Invisible Hand” of the much-excoriated Adam Smith, and realized that at least some of what Smith was accused of really had no basis in fact. Interestingly, a fact we didn’t bring up is that, while Smith is generally portrayed as some kind of “High Priest of Capitalism” on the strength of a rather profound misunderstanding of his Invisible Hand argument, it turns out that he was actually far more labor-oriented than people suppose.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we examined the case for Universal Basic Ownership as opposed to a Universal Basic Income. We decided that Universal Basic Ownership was better on many grounds, one of the chief being the logical question as to where the money is supposed to come from.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the tendency on the part of many people these days is to assume that others are guilty until proven innocent, and even twist — or invent — what somebody said in order to be able to convict them of whatever we want them to be guilty. Especially if we are guilty of the very thing of which we are accusing others (d’oh).
Monday, April 27, 2020
Today your host Dave Hamill has a chat with Lisa Saleh, a Hubert Humphrey Fellow affiliating with CESJ. Lisa, who is from Yemen, has worked with Doctors Without Borders and other organizations, is interested in applying Just Third Way principles throughout the world, with an emphasis on public health policy.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Yup. Unemployment claims just increased by another 4.4 million . . . and the stock market is up! Exactly who (or what) is supposed to be producing the goods and services that make a profit that is allegedly reflected in the value of a company’s shares we don’t know, but, hey, who needs to work when your shares increase in value? Unless, of course, you happen to undergo a reality check:
Thursday, April 23, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there is a slight problem when advancing technology displaces human labor from the production process. It seems that when a machine replaces a human worker, the human worker loses his or her job and thus has no source of earned income until and unless he or she finds another job.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
One of the more acceptable ways to make a name for yourself in the more liberal areas of Academia is to go after the moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790). All you have to do is say the “right” things about Smith, thereby demonstrating you have the “right” attitude about capitalism and its purported high priest, and you will be accepted, or at least acceptable — assuming you don’t transgress any other unwritten law of the Groves of Academe.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that what appeared to be a call by Pope Francis to institute a “living wage” arrangement as an expedient for workers performing essential tasks during the Covid-19 lockdowns somehow got twisted into an endorsement of the Universal Basic Income as a permanent solution to the world’s economic woes.
Monday, April 20, 2020
Today's pod/videocast is a Clash of the Titans. In the near corner we have the Athenian Assassin, Plato, student of Socrates, who put words into his teacher's (Socrates's) mouth to give his own ideas credibility. In the opposite corner we have the Macedonian Madman, Aristotle, teacher of Alexander T. Great and inspiration of St. Thomas "the Dumb Ox" Aquinas, who took the championship from the Manichean Siger the Brabant Battler with his Analogy of Being.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Have you figured out why the stock market surges when things look the worst, and drops when it looks as if the situation might improve? Neither have we. So let’s get straight to this week’s news items:
Thursday, April 16, 2020
A couple of days ago the media were once again ecstatic over yet another fundamental change in Catholic doctrine announced by Everybody’s Favorite Pope, Francis™. It seems that in a radical move, EFPF™ has come down Big Time in favor of the Universal Basic Income, or UBI. Or so the Usual Suspects very loudly claim. . . .
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Misunderstanding of the development of the concept of social justice to counter the “new things” of socialism, modernism, and the New Age is pervasive in our day. Briefly, many people confuse the act of social justice with measures directed to the good of individuals, not to the common good. The act of social justice is not, however, a substitute or supplement for individual justice or charity, but a corrective intended to restructure institutions to make it possible for the individual virtues to function so that individuals can meet their own needs through their own efforts.
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Years ago — 1963 to be exact — the late and sometime great Alan Sherman (1924-1973) released one of his trademark parodies, “Automation,” to the tune and somewhat twisted lyrics of “Fascination” (music from 1904, lyrics from 1905, featured in a gazillion films). It was the second cut on the first side of Sherman’s My Son, the Nut album.
Monday, April 13, 2020
For a change of pace this week, our Pod/Videocast features one of CESJ's student interns from a few years ago, Leda Kennedy. This is an interesting take, especially considering the current shutdown of schools at all levels. (By the way, CESJ is continuing its internship program as well as accepting volunteers; we're doing virtually everything . . . virtual.)
Friday, April 10, 2020
It is baffling how, at a time when 17 million Americans have lost their jobs in a single month, businesses are in trouble, and a few dozen other etc.s, the stock market keeps going up! The only possible reason we can see is that the speculators expect the massive amounts of money creation proposed for “stimulus” to be channeled into the stock market. This is after increasing government debt to $30 trillion. That’s right. $30 trillion . . . with no mention of how or if it’s going to be repaid. Are there alternatives available? Perhaps:
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Back in 1789, Jean-Paul Marat, convicted thief, quack scientist, physician-by-purchase, and a prime mover behind the French Reign of Terror, stated his basic principle of social reconstruction: “When a man is in want of everything, he has a right to take from another the superfluity in which he is wallowing: nay, more, he has a right to cut his throat and devour his palpitating flesh.” (Jean-Paul Marat, as quoted in Warren H. Carroll’s The Guillotine and the Cross. Manassas, Virginia: Trinity Communications, 1986, 36.) As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Marat seemed to have the fundamental principle of what became known as socialism down to a T.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
How much does stupidity cost? $2.2 trillion, evidently. Frankly, as we saw in the previous posting on this subject, just printing up money will only make things (economically) worse. What, however, should be done to stimulate the economy if just printing money and handing it out or investing it in the stock market will only make the problem worse?
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, socialism — whatever it turned out to be (depending on the particular variety espoused, promoted, or worshipped) — did not originally begin specifically as a reaction against capitalism. Rather, it was against Christianity, most particularly the Catholic Church, although all of the “mainstream” churches, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, were targeted.
Monday, April 6, 2020
Aside from what should be obvious by now as the economic shutdown continues and the federal government proposes to print trillions of dollars to buy things that haven't been produced, why do we need a "Capital Homestead Act"? Norman Kurland, CESJ's President, offers a few reasons in a conversation with Russel Williams of The Challenge:
Friday, April 3, 2020
It is increasingly clear that no one has any realistic idea what to do about making an economy productive again, much less the best way to go about it. Instead, this is the sort of thing that is going on:
Thursday, April 2, 2020
As we may have mentioned one or two . . . dozen times before, we like it when somebody tosses us a question or a comment to which we can respond with a recyclable answer that can be turned into a blog posting. Like this one regarding the prevalence of consumer credit debt among presumably affluent Americans who have suddenly found themselves bereft of that weekly paycheck they were living on from day to day, grossly supplemented with more than a modicum of consumer credit (edited for anonymity to protect the guilty):
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Quick answer: no. The idea — in those terms — first appeared in the early nineteenth century, which (as we saw in the previous posting on this subject) was when socialists were trying to garner as many “implied ethical endorsements” as they could to sell their system. It’s an interesting story.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
In his 1940 classic, Freedom Under God, Fulton J. Sheen had a few pithy things to say about private property. Almost nothing in economics, finance, and political economy is more misunderstood than private property. The sole exception is money and credit, which are simply two different forms of the same thing: promises and the keeping of promises. (“Money and Credit are essentially of the same nature; Money being only the highest and most general form of Credit.” Henry Dunning Macleod, The Theory of Credit. Longmans, Green and Co., 1894, 82.) Furthermore, private property and money are inextricably linked. (Irving Fisher, The Purchasing Power of Money. New York: Macmillan, 1931, 4-6.)
Monday, March 30, 2020
For a change of pace, we're presenting a video today on a subject we know very little about, but is well-worth considering: weening the United States (and every other country) off of the fossil fuels. As we said, this is not our area of expertise, so we can't really judge the feasibility of the idea. It just sounds like a good one:
Friday, March 27, 2020
With the stock market bouncing around like a rubber ball and the rest of the news almost completely focused on the pandemic, it’s hard to find news items directly related to the Just Third Way. That is why we’re not going to do it:
Thursday, March 26, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject, we gave a few reasons as to why printing up money and handing it out (or even spending it on things that don’t generate a payback) is a really bad idea. We also mentioned that when we addressed the subject again, we would present what (in our opinion) ought to be done . . . so here goes. . . .
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Once upon a time there were two people who liked to argue with each other. There is nothing wrong with that, except one of them was a socialist and inclined to take any unfair advantage to win an argument. The other (who was not a socialist) didn’t care about winning the argument as long as he persuaded others of the truth or reasonableness of his position. Naturally enough, the two managed to argue for nearly twenty years without the one actually winning the argument, or the other persuading him of anything.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
As of this writing, the $1 trillion stimulus package has crashed and burned in Congress. That’s a good thing. Not that we can afford to let the economy go its not-so-merry way, but remedial action should alleviate the symptoms and cure the disease, not make matters worse.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Well . . . Fulton Sheen was born in El Paso . . . Illinois, so the "rides again" isn't entirely out of left field. It's even somewhat appropriate. In any event, this week we bring you yet another "Catholic-catholic" message from "America's Archbishop" suitable for people of all faiths and philosophies . . . although you do have to do a little "filtering" of the "Catholic language" to get to the universal, small-c catholic message.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Guest Blog by Gary Reber
Michael Bloomberg has penned an editorial column in which he calls for embarking on the largest public investment in infrastructure in generations, with government issuing new money to finance this. This money will be backed, as it is today, by government debt, repayable with future taxpayer dollars.
Giving in to popular demand (and the lack of news in other areas), our Just Third Way news items lean a little bit in the direction of the Covid-19 pandemic . . . but without giving recommendations on how to prevent it. What we’re concerned with (from the Just Third Way perspective, not personally) is the economic and financial responses being proposed, some of which strike us as possibly unwise:
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Financial panic, that is. With the stock market going up and down like a yoyo, many people are giving in to panic. The irony is that while some panic over the effects of the Covid-19 virus is understandable if not entirely rational, the frenzy over the financial markets is completely irrational. People appear to be confusing the secondary stock market with the primary productive market.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Back in 1864, the Reverend Charles Kingsley, considered a leader in the Christian socialist movement, a modernist, and a proponent of what he called “Muscular Christianity” (and others called “Sanctimonious Obnoxious Religious Bullying”), accused Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman of both lying and promoting lying as a virtue . . . based on some rather distorted (to put it mildly) versions of Newman’s sermons as a Protestant and one or two false allegations and accusations.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there has been a veritable tsunami of authorities — usually self-appointed — insisting that “democratic” (or any other kind of) socialism is not merely consistent with Christian social teaching, but is the purest form of it. The evidence presented . . . okay, asserted without a shred of evidence . . . was that C.S. Lewis “approved” of socialism.
Monday, March 16, 2020
The good thing about Fulton Sheen is that although he was a Catholic figure (we avoid the words "intellectual" or — worse — "world's first televangelist"), he appealed to virtually everyone with a basic grounding in common sense and a natural law orientation. That is why, although CESJ is an interfaith organization, we find Sheen's work very compatible with the message of the Just Third Way. It's also lucky for us that although the "Catholic Hour" radio show was planned to feature a number of different speakers, it rapidly developed into a "Fulton Sheen Hour."
Friday, March 13, 2020
It seems almost incredible, but the situation today and that of two hundred years ago are so similar as to make it look as if we’re replaying the past with a vengeance. Society is dissolving in chaos, socialism is being offered as a panacea, and a very bad, even destructive understanding of money and credit virtually rules the world:
Thursday, March 12, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we looked at the evidence — such as it was — that we could dig up to support the contention that the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis approved of socialism in any form. Admittedly, the evidence we found was remarkably weak, not to say unconvincing, but we had to do the work ourselves as the individuals making the claim were a trifle shy about providing their own evidence.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
We got into a little argument a short time ago about socialism, capitalism, and Christianity. Coming across a FaceBook placard or whatever you call ’em that proclaimed, “Capitalism causes socialism”, we made the mistake of putting our two-and-a-half cents in, although you would have thought that by now we would have learned our lesson about trying to argue with people who think assertion is argument and personal insults are proof.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
We come to the final installment of our series explaining the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). If you read the list of CESJ’s Core Values in order you will notice that they go more or less in a logical order, a progression from the Source of it all, to the main goal of CESJ . . . of life itself, as a matter of fact.
Monday, March 9, 2020
"Of Sheen Never Enough"? We won't go that far, but it's nice to see a Christian clergyman of any denomination in the 20th or 21st centuries who comes out so strong against the "new things" of modernism, socialism, and the New Age . . . without attacking the modernists, socialists, and the New Agers (although that hasn't stopped them from going after anyone who disagrees with them, or who they think disagrees with them, or who will disagree with them, or who might disagree with them, or whose tie they don't like, or. . . .)
Friday, March 6, 2020
Should we mention the stock market gyrations and the effect of the corona virus? No. If we do, we’ll just be wrong, as the situation changes so fast that there’s no way to be accurate except in hindsight. We’ll just ask if you really need that much toilet paper? Otherwise, let’s see what’s happening on the Just Third Way front:
Thursday, March 5, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we began addressing a series of questions and comments, nine in all from a faithful reader. As we covered the material in depth in previous postings, we answered them with brief clarifications. Most of the issues seemed to be semantic, so we only needed to give brief responses. We covered the first five in the previous posting, and get to the remaining four today:
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
As we may have mentioned once or twice, we occasionally get questions from our readers. When these are substantive — as most of them are (the complainers just issue, er, complaints and then run away) — we can use our answers as blog postings. This saves us a lot of work, or at least some brain time trying to think up something that will instruct as well as edify without offending too many people except for modernists, socialists, and New Agers . . . but they’re offended all the time, anyway.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject we asked whether a society can maintain itself when the vast majority of people are cut off from participation in the common good by lack of capital ownership — and answered our own question with a “no.” Some people will object to this, citing the fact that there have been many societies throughout history in which the great mass of people owned nothing but their labor.
Monday, March 2, 2020
Last week to semi-popular acclaim we presented a 1943 "Catholic Hour" broadcast by then-Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen, "The Thing We Are Fighting Against." This week we follow up on that with another random selection from Sheen's Catholic Hour shows, "War and Revolution," from January 3 (or 31, it's not clear), 1943, the first in the series on "the Crisis in Christendom" . . . not the college in Northern Virginia (necessarily . . . unless they want to admit something!), but what is left of western civilization against the onslaught of the "New Things" against which Sheen struggled his entire career:
Friday, February 28, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject (subject being the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice, CESJ), persons need rights in order to exercise their sovereignty and to pursue truth, beauty, love, and justice, not necessarily in that order.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject — the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) we looked at the issue of sovereignty . . . and had to present a great deal of information on what we mean by the term as applied in “liberal democracy,” or “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We discovered that many people had so many different meanings for “people” and even “government” that “liberal democracy” effectively had no meaning at all!
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Although it seems to be upsetting to adherents of various new theories (“new” being very relative in this case, referring to non-Aristotelian ways of thinking), our series explaining the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) has proved to be rather popular. Evidently a significant number of people are pleasantly surprised when the realize there is an ethical alternative to both capitalism and socialism that doesn’t require you to check your brains at the door.
Monday, February 24, 2020
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), an astonishing number of people have commented favorably on our recent series explaining the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). The posting on "stewardship" was particularly popular, even among a number of people who have previously described themselves as "socialists." They seemed genuinely unaware that the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism presents a viable alternative to both socialism and capitalism.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Modern politics is a wonder . . . you wonder why no one running for office has picked up on the obvious advantages of adopting the Just Third Way of economic personalism as a main plank of a platform. That being said:
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Continuing our presentation and discussion of the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice, as we saw in the previous posting on this subject there is a difference between work performed to keep body and soul together, and the work of becoming more fully human, i.e., the work of promoting or working for one’s own perfection or completeness as a human being by conforming more closely to human nature.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Continuing our blog series examining the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), we follow up on yesterday’s posting on our little explication of “Nothing should stand between God and the human person,” with a dissertation on the meaning of work. As it says in the CESJ Core Values,
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Continuing our discussion from the previous posting on this subject, a while back — quite a long while, actually — we had a conversation at an organizing meeting of a local writers group with a Catholic attorney who wanted to be a writer. We didn’t know what sort of writing the fellow wanted to do; from the fact that he didn’t mention any publication record but kept asking about this writer’s credentials we strongly suspect that he thought of writing as a “one day” project, as in “One day I’m going to write something.”
Monday, February 17, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
At the top of the news this week is the Corona virus, but we don’t know better than anyone else what has happened, what could happen, or what will happen, so we’ll stick with other stories until we do know:
Thursday, February 13, 2020
In the previous posting on this subject — the reason for having “core values” in the first place — we looked at the link between solidarity and core values. After all, if solidarity means accepting the principles that define a group as that group and no other, it makes sense that the principles be clearly defined or you won’t know who belongs to that group.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
As a follow-up to the previous posting on this subject, we decided to look at the issue of why organizations such as CESJ — or any organization, for that matter — even have core values in the first place. Obviously, the best place to start looking for an answer is CESJ itself. Why does CESJ have core values? Because —
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
A while back (four years to be vaguely exact . . . to employ a precise estimate) we posted the Core Values of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ). We gave them straight, without embellishment or explanation, as we thought they are pretty much self-explanatory. The other day, however, we got an email from someone we had referred to the CESJ website. As he said,
Monday, February 10, 2020
We continue our series of "video podcasts" covering subjects of interest to the Just Third Way (if not always from a Just Third Way perspective) with a look at the election of 1912, the last time a "third party candidate" gave the two major parties a serious run for the money. The "Bull Moose" (Progressive Party . . . which used to mean something good) candidate Theodore "Don't Call Me Teddy" Roosevelt very nearly won over the Democratic candidate Woodrow "In the Pocket of Wall Street" Wilson.
Friday, February 7, 2020
A number of recent events underscore the importance of implementing Just Third Way reforms as soon as possible in order to head off what could be some disastrous events and to resolve a number of existing situations that appear to be without viable solutions. Still, there are a number of initiatives working to move forward that give a little hope that what seem to be insurmountable problems can be dealt with in an effective and just manner:
Thursday, February 6, 2020
As we’ve noted once or twice on this blog, we like to get questions from our readers. This makes it easy to write the next blog posting. The only thing we like better is being able to, er, “borrow” somebody else’s answer to a question on some aspect or point of the Just Third Way.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
The other day while doing some research into the origins of the “new things” of socialism (which is not all that social), modernism (which is not all that modern), and the New Age (which is not all that new), we came across an article from 1993, “Liberalism and Socialism: The Same Thing?” (Paul E. Corcoran, University of Adelaide, Australian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Monash University, September 29-October 1, 1993)
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Obviously, if you have to pay for justice, it isn’t justice. That’s not what we mean. We’re referring to the fact that meeting the demands of justice can — and does — often incur a cost in terms of time, resources, and money. This is not “buying justice,” any more than paying a judge a salary or jury members for their time is purchasing a verdict (although, obviously, the system can be subverted and corrupted).
Monday, February 3, 2020
Today's pod/video-cast takes a look at Frederick Jackson Turner's 1893 "Frontier Thesis." Frankly, it was difficult to find a video that just reported Turner's thesis and gave the facts . . . and this one is no exception. As far as the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism is concerned, Turner's key point is that the end of "free" land under the Homestead Act of 1862 meant the eventual end of American-style democracy . . . a conclusion with which we have qualified agreement.
Friday, January 31, 2020
This week we have a number of news items relating to the great Keynesian economic illusion that government creates wealth by issuing debt, and that inflation is essential to economic growth. Neither assumption is correct and is easily disproved, but you can’t seem to get today’s academics or politicians to understand that:
Thursday, January 30, 2020
It’s true that no good deed ever goes unpunished . . . sort of. In the previous two postings on this subject, which we imaginatively called Part I and Part II, respectively, we were asked the burning question whether the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism/Capital Homesteading, etc., could be considered communist.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
As we noted in the previous posting on this subject, we sometimes get letters asking about the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism, and once in a while we answer them . . . okay, we almost always answer them, except when someone is obviously trolling or trying to start a fight. It’s even better when somebody else answers them so that we can steal the answer and use it as a blog posting.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
As we’ve said before on this blog, we like it when people ask us questions (coherent ones, anyway) that we can answer and then “recycle” what we wrote as blog postings. It’s even better when somebody else answers a question instead of us. That way we can steal the question and answer and use it as a blog post without actually having to do any work. . . .
Monday, January 27, 2020
Friday, January 24, 2020
Some interesting items this week on the global justice (or lack thereof) front . . . mostly lack thereof, and the obvious need for the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. Of course, getting people to understand that may be another matter, but there is certainly enough evidence that something needs to be done:
Thursday, January 23, 2020
In classic Thomist philosophy, as we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the four natural virtues are temperance, fortitude, prudence, and — above all — justice. According to Aristotle (and thus Aquinas), the capacity to acquire and develop these virtues is built into human nature. No one is human without the capacity to acquire and develop these virtues, for that capacity (which is the good common to every human being) is what defines human beings as human beings.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
A sketch on the old Muppet Show with their very special guest star Harvey Korman had a panel discussion on The Meaning of Life. Harvey Korman came down on the side of “Life is like a tennis game,” with which Miss Piggy disagreed, while one of the other panelists favored “Life is like a garbage dump.” The discussion ended with a general exchange of insults and the announcement that the next discussion would cover whether conversation was a dying art . . . whereupon all the Muppets keeled over leaving Korman shaking his head.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
It’s an absolute dogma of modern politics and economics. Everyone has the right to what they need to live a decent life. If people do not have what they need to do so, it is the responsibility of the State to see that they do, and all efforts are to be directed to the end of providing people with what they need.
Monday, January 20, 2020
Friday, January 17, 2020
We didn’t get too much news from our network this week, but there are a number of items of interest to adherents of the Just Third Way. It’s just a coincidence it’s mostly about food and drink this week:
Thursday, January 16, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, in response to the “new things” of socialism, modernism and the New Age, in 1891 Pope Leo XIII proposed a program of expanded capital ownership. This would empower people and families, giving them the opportunity and means to overcome the growing social alienation that had led to the development and growth of the new things in the first place.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
In case you haven’t noticed, it has become increasingly frequent over the past couple of decades to demonize anyone who disagrees with you on virtually any subject. We’d say, “on any subject,” but there must be some things that people don’t disagree on. Somewhere.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
No, we’re not trying out a bad Yoda impression, although that might not be a bad idea if it brings in readers. Or maybe a Darth Vader as (apocryphally) done by Tony Curtis in The Black Shield of Falworth? “Luke, I am yer Fada.”
Monday, January 13, 2020
Okay, admittedly the Just Third Way only comes in around the last quarter of the show, but at least half the studio audience stated explicitly that it was the best part of the show, and a number of other people concurred, judging from the mail we've received. So, just in case you missed it when it was live or on some of the reruns, here is the January 8, 2020 EWTN Live show with your host Father Mitch Pacwa interviewing CESJ's Director of Research, Michael D. Greaney:
Friday, January 10, 2020
Perhaps the most unusual thing this week from the Just Third Way perspective is how no one seems to be questioning the incredible rise in share values on the stock market that is not linked to any discernible increase in the quantity or quality of marketable goods and services, i.e., “economic growth.” Instead, the rise in share values is itself taken as “economic growth,” even though shares are not actually marketable goods or services. Be that as it may, here are the Just Third Way highlights for this week:
Thursday, January 9, 2020
According to an article in the December 27, 2019 Washington Post, in the middle of a presumably booming economy, Americans are drowning in non-mortgage consumer debt. (“Americans Piling Up Near-Record Levels of Credit Card Debt,” A-3.) Unacknowledged in the story — or anywhere else — is the depressing (and sobering) fact that Keynesian economics and all derivatives, absolutely rely on non-productive spending for consumption, what Jean-Baptiste Say called “multiplying barren consumptions.”
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
It’s a truism that has become engrained into American life. Go to school to get good grades. Get good grades to get a good job. Get a good job to get a good pension for retirement. Be sure to save enough on the side in an IRA or 401(k) to supplement your pension and Social Security so you can afford to do all the fun things you see other people doing on TV.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
In the previous postings on this subject we looked at the effect two key inventions, the cotton gin and the McCormick Reaper, had on society, whether for good or for ill. The cotton gin made raising cotton profitable, while the McCormick Reaper made it possible to think about ending world hunger and famine.
Monday, January 6, 2020
Here's a video from not too long ago, September 18, 2000, featuring Dr. Norman G. Kurland, president of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), having a conversation with Harold Channer on his show.
A relatively short time ago the principal author of this blog had a book published by TAN Books. With the title Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know (2018), which will be featured — along with the author! — on EWTN Live! January 8, 2020, 8:00 pm EST on the EWTN Television Network, a cable television channel. Check your local listings for when it airs in your area. If you miss it or don’t have cable, EWTN usually puts the show up on YouTube within a couple of days.
Friday, January 3, 2020
The big news this week is actually for next week: Michael D. Greaney, CESJ’s Director of Research, is scheduled to appear on the Eternal Word Television Network’s show EWTN Live! with Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J. In the expanded ownership arena, we kick off the year with the SECURE Act, that puts more power in the hands of participants in qualified retirement plans:
Thursday, January 2, 2020
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, the invention of the cotton gin revolutionized cotton production and, in a horrifying twist of fate, revived what to all appearances was a dying institution at the end of the eighteenth century: human chattel slavery. Cotton was now phenomenally profitable as the world’s leading fiber, cheap, durable, and economical to produce . . . if you ignored the fact that it provided an excuse to enslave millions of human beings and wore out land at a tremendous rate. When money talks, human dignity walks.