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.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
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.