It seems to baffle people why we have a great and glorious economic recovery and yet most people don’t seem to be any better off than they were before. Of course, there is the little matter of how “recovery” is being defined, and who actually is benefitting . . . and whether said recovery is all on paper (or just in the papers), but these are trivial details that matter only to the 99% who don’t have access to the means of becoming and remaining capital owners:
• Chile’s Privatized Pensions Targeted. According to an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “Populists May Kill Chile’s Pension Success” (WSJ, 06/03/21, A15), the privatized social security system of the Republic of Chile might not last too much longer. From the Just Third Way perspective, the system was a step in the right direction, but only a step, and it halted in mid-stride. Now the “populists” are demanding that the system be returned to government. This has resulted from the “either/or” past savings paradigm that seems to mandate either capitalism or socialism, and which inevitably ends up merging the two in the Servile State. First, the system is funded with payroll deductions, and is used to purchase shares on the secondary market. This reduces consumption power and is oriented toward speculation instead of true investment, i.e., the program pays out by selling shares, not by dividends on the shares. Further, the workers do not actually own the shares, but have an account with a private pension company. The Economic Democracy Act would fund the system out of future savings, and vest not only workers, but everyone with direct capital ownership. The current pay-as-you-go system in place in many countries would be retained as a safety net, but both current and retirement income would come from dividends paid on “full payout” newly issued shares, not on the stock market.
|The Economic Democracy Act gets us opff the tightrope|
• Economic Recovery? The powers-that-be are still insisting that the U.S. is in “recovery”, but — as noted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday — is a recovery “without historical parallel.” (WSJ, “U.S. Economy’s Rebound Is ‘Without Historical Parallel,” A1, A8.) What that means in English is that it’s a “recovery” that is benefiting people who aren’t recovering from anything. Consumer demand is up only because people have not been spending as fast as they were before the pandemic, and the government has been printing trillions of dollars to “stimulate demand.” Millions of people are finding it more profitable to remain idle, resulting in demands that states start cutting jobless benefits to force people to go back to work. As they have throughout the pandemic, the rich are getting richer, the non-rich are holding their own as a result of being paid for not working, and producers are finding out ways to replace human labor in production . . . meaning that when the government money dries up, consumer demand is going to go into a precipitous decline, triggering economic collapse. Of course, this could be avoided by making it possible for people to produce through ownership of capital as well as through labor, but so far something as reasonable as the Economic Democracy Act is not on the radar.
• Tax Sleight of Hand. President Biden has been suggesting that he might ease up on his corporate tax increase but move ahead with rebuilding infrastructure. What he is saying makes perfect sense within the Keynesian paradigm — based on the belief that when the State prints money it’s just cutting up existing wealth into smaller bits and redistributing it — but actually begs the question as to whether the Keynesian paradigm makes sense to begin with. For example, the claim that money is a peculiar creation of the State — Keynes’s exact words, based on the belief that the State is the ultimate owner of everything, i.e., capitalist socialism, or socialist capitalism, or the Servile State, whatever you want to call it: “money is peculiarly a creation of the State.” (John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Money, Volume I: The Pure Theory of Money. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1930, 4.) Of course, if the State is NOT the ultimate owner of everything, then printing money is the absolute worst thing you can do. If money is not the means by which I exchange what I produce for what you produce, then it is a way of stealing legally. The monetary reforms of the Economic Democracy Act would address this problem, although the downside would be that the politicians would no longer have a money machine to fund whatever they want and avoid accountability to the citizens.
• Hortense and Her Whos. In case you’ve been wondering how you might advance the Just Third Way by introducing it to legislators at any and all levels of government, we’ve made it easy for you, with the “Hortense Hears Three Whos” initiative. Visit the explanatory website, and consider downloading the postcard to send to people in government. Don’t worry if you think they won’t be open to it, as the postcard is intended to get them to open their eyes.
• Economic Personalism Landing Page. A landing page for CESJ’s latest publication, Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, has been created and can be accessed by clicking on this link. Everyone is encouraged to visit the page and send the link out to their networks.
• Economic Personalism. When you purchase a copy of Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, be sure you post a review after you’ve read it. It is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the cover price of $10 per copy. You can also download the free copy in .pdf available from the CESJ website. If you’d like to order in bulk (i.e., ten or more copies) at the wholesale price, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details. CESJ members get a $2 rebate per copy on submission of proof of purchase. Wholesale case lots of 52 copies are available at $350, plus shipping (whole case lots ONLY). Prices are in U.S. dollars.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos, Update. CESJ’s series of videos for Sensus Fidelium are doing very well, with nearly 150,000 views in total. The latest Sensus Fidelium video is “The Political Animal.” The video is part of the series on the book, Economic Personalism. The latest completed series on “the Great Reset” can be found on the “Playlist” for the series. The previous series of sixteen videos on socialism is available by clicking on the link: “Socialism, Modernism, and the New Age,” along with some book reviews and other selected topics. For “interfaith” presentations to a Catholic audience they’ve proved to be popular, edging up to 150,000 views to date. They aren’t really “Just Third Way videos,” but they do incorporate a Just Third Way perspective. You can access the playlist for the entire series The point of the videos is to explain how socialism and socialist assumptions got such a stranglehold on the understanding of the role of the State and thus the interpretation of Catholic social teaching, and even the way non-Catholics and even non-Christians understand the roles of Church, State, and Family, and the human person’s place in society.
• CESJ’s Bookstore. Have you visited the CESJ Bookstore? Okay, there’s no coffee (or tea) bar, but there is plenty of parking if your chair is big enough, a good pre-selection of books, nobody shushing you as they read books without buying them, or a host of other things. There is even a rebate for CESJ members (you have to be an official member, not just with us in spirit) that applies to verified purchases for verified members . . . once we verify it. And you have to request it; it’s not automatic, sorry (blame state tax laws for making it complicated; we do NOT make retail sales, you HAVE to go to a regular bookstore, although we do have certain titles available for bulk discounts if you buy direct from us.) We should mention that some of the books are also available as free download in electronic format, if you feel you can’t afford the cash right now. If you do buy some books, however, be sure to take advantage of the Amazon “Smile” program, below. It won’t cost you any more, but it will benefit CESJ.
|"I AM smiling!"|
• 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 37 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Australia, India, Uganda, and the United Kingdom. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “G.K. Chesterton v. ‘Some American Crank’,” “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 21,” “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing,” “The Purpose of Production,” and “JTW Podcast: Dr. Fedoryka on John Paul II.”
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 imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.