Today we have our second monthly “special edition” of the News from the Network that we hope you find as interesting as the first one:
|Henry C. Adams|
Quote of the Month
This month’s Quote of the Month was selected as particularly appropriate in view of the upcoming U.S. election, in which the rich and the powerful who lack a coherent vision for the future, are trying to decide the future for the non-rich and powerless:
“The broad theory of constitutional liberty is that the people have the right to govern themselves; but the historical fact is that, in the attempt to realize this theory, the actual control of public affairs has fallen into the hands of those who possess property.”
— Henry C. Adams (Public Debts, An Essay in the Science of Finance.
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1898, p. 9.)
• Patricia Hetter-Kelso and SCORES. “SCORES” is a project of the European Union focusing on development of renewable energy sources that are co-owned by the consumers themselves. As it says on their website, “In this context, consumer (co-)ownership in RE [“renewable energy”] has proven to be an essential cornerstone to the overall success of energy transition. When consumers acquire ownership in RE, they become prosumers, thus generating a part of the energy they consume. Like this, they are reducing their overall expenditure for energy. At the same time, consumers receive a second source of income from the sale of excess production. Hence, positive behavioural changes in energy consumption can occur.” Patricia Hetter-Kelso is on the SCORE advisory board, and appears to have had more than a little input into their investigation of the Consumer Stock Ownership Plan model for the energy industry.
|Pope John Paul II|
• Polish Economists’ Policy Paper. A group of Polish academic economists has gotten in touch with CESJ, and have been looking over materials on binary economics and the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. They have found the paper, “The Just Third Way: How We Can Create Green Growth, Widespread Prosperity and Global Peace” the most helpful piece, “as it provides specific recommendations for achieving equitable labor wage and capital wage.” They have also been “quite astounded” by the extent of CESJ’s work and its grounding “in John Paul II’s teachings on economy and justice.” They came across CESJ when reading an article by Krzysztof Nędzyński on the concept of the Catholic Welfare State, published by “the Jagiellonian Club,” a conservative Polish think tank. The group is putting together a policy paper with the working title “Poland of Thirty-Eight Million Capitalists: A Plan for the Post-COVID Future” that will incorporate the Just Third Way.
• Own or Be Owned in Louisville, KY. CESJ member MeShorn Daniels is using CESJ’s slogan “Own or be Owned” and one of CESJ’s designs for his “Man Up” Radio Show, which airs Saturday mornings 9:00 am, on WLOU 1350 AM/104.7 FM in Louisville, Kentucky.
• Federal Reserve and Interest Rates. During the meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Federal Reserve announced that it is willing to accept higher inflation . . . despite its mission of establishing and maintaining a stable currency (which is fundamentally impossible under Keynesian economics or Modern Monetary Theory). The idea of adopting the Just Third Way and the prospect of eliminating systemic inflation or deflation seems completely alien to them.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos. While not (entirely earth-shaking, the series of videos being put out by the Sensus Fidelium YouTube channel are proving to be surprisingly popular, especially considering the fact that the channel is explicitly Catholic and religious. Still, the story being related should be of interest to people of all faiths and philosophies who are concerned about how the world might have gotten itself into the shape it’s in and a possible way of getting out of it.
• Economic Personalism Book. Unexpected delays keep interfering with the release of the long-awaited book on the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. Nevertheless, we really do expect to have it out before the end of September. Of this year.
|Peter S. Grosscup|
• Grosscup Articles Rediscovered. Purely by coincidence we located three previously unknown-to-us pieces by Judge Peter S. Grosscup. From The Literary Digest of July 2, 1898, there was a very short article by Grosscup giving his views on American imperialism during the Spanish-American War. Briefly, he was against it. Imperialism, not the war. From 1905, we found a pamphlet presenting Grosscup’s “Simple and Sure Solution of the Transportation Problem,” published by “Freight, the Shippers’ Forum.” Again briefly, the “problem” was the ability of railroads to charge big shippers at a lower rate than small shippers, to which Grosscup objected. His solution was to establish an independent transportation tribunal to focus exclusively on the special needs of shippers and carriers to ensure equal and just treatment under the law (which sounds better than what Congress eventually did that undermined the competitiveness of U.S. railroads). Finally, we obtained a copy of a program[me] for the “Celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and Second Anniversary of Institution of General James Shields Council No. 967 Knights of Columbus” that contained the full address by the keynote speaker, who happened to be Grosscup, “Abraham Lincoln.”
Just Third Way Definition
We get a number of comments about CESJ’s understanding of justice, particularly since the full name of the organization is “the Center for Economic and Social Justice.” In order to understand what CESJ means by “economic justice” and “social justice,” however, it is essential to understand the “classic” understanding of justice and their categories. This month, therefore, we look at how Aristotle defined the classic types of justice.
Commutative justice. Also referred to under classical philosophy as “strict justice,” commutative justice deals with exchanges of equal or equivalent value between individuals or groups of individuals. In reference to exchanges between parties to a transaction, it imposes a duty of an exact measurement that must be discharged with something having that exact, objective value. That is, a debt of five dollars must be repaid with five dollars. Commutative justice is the most basic, fundamental form of justice from which all other forms are derived.
Distributive justice. As defined by Aristotle in his Ethics, the classic concept of distributive justice is based on a proportionality of value given and received, rather than on a strict equality of results as in commutative justice. Distributive justice deals with a distribution or division of something among various people interacting cooperatively with one another, in shares proportionate to the value of each one’s relative contribution to the outcome. Influenced by socialist thought of the 1830s and 1840s, some authorities have confused “distributive justice” with distribution based on need, and distribution based on need with social justice, thereby distorting the whole concept of justice to turn it into a form of coercive redistribution.
Legal justice. Where commutative justice and distributive justice are “particular virtues” with defined acts and direct objects, “legal justice” — so-called by Aristotle because it was achieved usually by the State passing good laws and people obeying them — in the classic framework is a “general virtue.” A general virtue does not have a particular act or a direct object, but is instead a generally virtuous sense that affects matters indirectly. As Aristotle defined legal justice, it is the indirect beneficial effect that individually virtuous acts have on the common good, or the social environment. In Aristotle’s understanding, legal justice sets the “tone” of society. For example, in a social environment in which most people are generally honest, truthful, and hardworking, the social order itself indirectly encourages everyone to be honest, truthful, and hardworking. It doesn’t coerce such behavior (coerced behavior is not, strictly speaking, virtuous, although it may have good effects), but it does make such behavior the “expected” way for people to behave.
This month we bring you a “Just Third Way Classic” article, Louis Kelso’s piece in the Journal of the American Bar Association from March 1957:
Karl Marx: The Almost Capitalist
Louis O. Kelso
Journal of the American Bar Association, March 1957
CESJ Editor’s Note: In his brilliant critique of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, lawyer-economist Louis Kelso pinpoints Marx’s fateful error in his analysis of and prescriptions for addressing the moral omission of “primitive” capitalism. However, in the opinion of some supporters, Kelso himself committed a semantic blunder. By labeling his justice-based economic concepts as a “universal” or “social” version of “capitalism,” Kelso failed to appreciate the enormous difficulty in communicating with many people around the world who have become disenchanted with the ideological and moral shortcomings of the social system known as “capitalism.”
In the classic work Kelso co-authored with the philosopher Mortimer Adler, The Capitalist Manifesto (Random House, 1958), Kelso and Adler constructed their theory of economic justice as the logical “third alternative” to primitive capitalism and primitive socialism. As they pointed out, neither system provides a sufficiently solid moral foundation for guiding economic development and social change. Thus, for purposes of communicating revolutionary ideas, CESJ prefers to label Kelso and Adler’s new socio-economic paradigm as “the Just Third Way.”
Video of the Month
video is an episode of "The Challenge" about the Just Third Way and thinking out of the box:
• Letters to Candidates. Consider writing a letter to candidates running for national office to introduce them to the idea of the Just Third Way as a possible economic (and political) vision for this or any other country’s future.
• New Book Endorsements. We’re coming out with a new book on economic personalism very soon. Do you know anyone of note or an institution that might be interested in giving us an endorsement? If so, consider approaching that individual or organization and asking if they would like a complimentary copy, and let us know who and where to send it, either the ebook link or hard copy. It doesn’t matter if they are “liberal” or “conservative,” as long as they care about helping make a better life for everyone.
• Surrender to Your Muse. Send us your cartoons, links to your videos, articles, and so on. Anything that has a direct connection to the Just Third Way will be considered, and credit will be given.
• News Items. Submit brief news items. We can use them for the weekly News from the Network as well as the monthly newsletter format, so don’t be stingy or shy.
On April 14, 1939, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the issuance of the 1919 U.S. “Bishops’ Program” written by four bishops of the “National Catholic War Conference” that embodied many of the features developed by Msgr. John A. Ryan of the Catholic University of America, Archbishop Edward Aloysius Mooney of Detroit (1882-1958) issued a pamphlet stating that of the measures listed in the 1919 program, the only one — and the most important — that had not been implemented was worker ownership.
As Archbishop (later Cardinal, 1946) Mooney noted, without widespread capital ownership, the rest of the program could easily be transformed into socialism. Interestingly, note that His Excellency/Eminence did not equate widespread ownership with capitalism, but simply acknowledged that the capitalist system developed out of a system of private property, and that the radicals wanted to eliminate private property in order to eliminate capitalism:
Important groups in America are now perfectly willing to jettison the whole system of private ownership, out of which modern capitalism has developed. In fact, it is not too much to say that outside the sphere of Catholic thought most intellectuals are advocating some sort of collectivism — either a moderate form of socialism or out and out Communism.
Our Catholic principles save us from being deceived by those destructive illusions, but by the same token they impose upon us the obligation of applying fundamental remedies to the glaring evils of the present system. (“Archbishop Mooney Points to Gains in Social Legislation,” The Washington Evening Star, April 14, 1939, C-9.)
We are currently attempting to track down a copy of Archbishop Mooney’s pamphlet. Curiously, the Archdiocese of Detroit did not have a copy in their archives.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 31 different countries and 39 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “JTW Podcast: Communism, Part 5: Catholic Doctrine v. the New Things,” “Whence This Chaos?” “Resolving the Economic Dilemma,” “News from the Network, Vol. 13, No. 34,” and “Did C.S. Lewis Approve of Socialism?”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” Due to incivility in the past on the part of some commentators, we have disabled comments.