Today we have our fourth monthly “special edition” of the News from the Network that has a number of features that we are sure you will find interesting:
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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),
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?
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.