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.
|Hammond X (Self Portrait)|
Take, for example, the question we got from “Hammond X” (not the real name), who said,
I was just reading your website. Couldn’t your “Just Third Way” be called Communism? As it says in the Wikipedia:
“Communism (from Latin communis, “common, universal”) is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.”
As we noted, Dawn — CESJ’s Director of Communications — was equal to the task of responding, and we posted the first part of her response in the previous posting. We continue today with the second half of her answer:
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4) We agree with Marx that those who own capital tend to accumulate more capital (“capital, ‘vampire-like’, breeds capital”). This is because most capital owners tend to reinvest in more capital whatever income they don’t spend/consume.
|Do you want six of these, or half a dozen of those?|
The question is then whether we should abolish individual ownership rights (private property) as Marx and other communists advocate in order to reverse or prevent the worsening gap between the rich and poor. Or, as in Capitalism, should we ignore the structures and systems in our economy that concentrate ownership of new capital in the hands of a tiny fraction of society.
Or, as proposed by the Just Third Way of Personalism, should we structure all of our social institutions, systems and laws to ensure that each human being has equal opportunity and access to the means to acquire new capital assets, without taking anything away from those who now own capital?
5) Where the Just Third Way of Personalism and Economic Personalism differs from other schools of economics today, is that in the Age of the Robot a growing, sustainable and just economy depends on equality of capital ownership opportunity. Unlike the other schools of economics, we also view money not as a commodity, but as a social tool for facilitating just economic exchanges and establishing a common measurement of market value.
|H.G. Moulton: "Why not future savings?"|
We also believe that fair and voluntary exchanges can only take place in a free and non-monopolistic market where neither the buyer nor seller is under any compulsion and is free to determine what something is worth to him- or herself.
6) Today, both Capitalists and Socialists/Communists view money as simply “past savings” in the form of currency or checking accounts. They remain trapped in the false belief that only those with sufficient “money” (accumulated past savings) will be able to purchase new capital assets.
Unlike all other schools of economics, we view money as anything in a transaction that all parties agree represents something of value (such as an accepted contract to deliver or purchase something in the future). We view “future savings” (explained below) as the key to universalizing equal access to future capital ownership.
We think that money is not limited to currency, such as today’s government debt-backed currencies or even the nothing-backed crypto currencies. We can show how existing institutions such as commercial banks, insurance companies and the central bank (such as the Federal Reserve System) can create new asset-backed money loaned out interest-free (albeit not cost free) to every citizen to purchase new shares being sold by companies needing to grow.
With capital credit insurance providing an alternative form of “collateral”, these insured loans would be repaid with the future profits (“future savings”) generated by the company’s new assets. In this way you can create new owners (including the poorest of the poor) without destroying the property rights of current owners. This is the exact opposite of Communism/Socialism.
|George Mason of Gunston Hall|
7) As you’ll also note in our writings, we believe that as long as human beings are human beings and not angels, we will need the social tool called the State. CESJ recognizes the role of government (the only legitimate monopoly over the instruments of coercion), including policing abuses, enforcing contracts, determining standards of measurement, and protecting every person’s right to life, liberty “with the means of acquiring and possessing property in order to pursue happiness.”
The last part about the right to acquire property was written by George Mason into the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights. It is echoed in Article 17 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On the other hand, we believe the State must remain the servant of, and dependent on, the citizens. In economic terms, we believe that the State should own nothing that can be owned by citizens directly.
That’s probably more of an answer than you were looking for, but I hope you will keep exploring the CESJ website and the Just Third Way. As you’ve noticed, we have a great deal of material on our website, but you might visit the Welcome Center to get a curated selection of videos and writings. Feel free to contact us any time. If you like what you see, we hope you will become a CESJ member and participate in our initiatives.
Dawn, Director of Communications
“Own or be Owned.”#30#