While we prefer to report on positive things, there haven’t been too many lately. Still, there are a few, although mixed in with quite a bit of negative items:
• CESJ’s Bookstore. Have you visited the CESJ Bookstore yet? There is a good pre-selection of books, and a rebate for CESJ members (you must 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 the bookstore, not us directly, 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.
• IAED: The Just Third Way: Universalizing Capital Ownership. On Thursday, Justice University participated in a webinar hosted by the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED). The topic was “The Just Third Way: Universalizing Capital Ownership.” Representing Justice University were Dr. Norman G. Kurland, president of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice, Dawn K. Brohawn, CESJ’s Director of Communications, and Michael D. Greaney, CESJ’s Director of Research. The webinar was well-received. Dr. Robert Ashford of the Syracuse University School of Law said, “Congratulations! Well done! Thank you!”
|Anti-Democracy, but Pro-Money ... for China|
• Hong Kong Advisory. The Biden administration has issued a warning to American businesses operating in Hong Kong in light of the risks associated with the crackdown on pro-democracy activists. In addition, over the past several weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion regarding the possibility of the Chinese government shutting down Hong Kong as a financial center. This is understandable in light of the massive amounts of money flowing out of China and escaping taxation through Hong Kong. Chinese economic growth, which has been fueled by massive infusions of government debt, has slowed dramatically, and not because of the pandemic. The income — and thus the tax revenue it desperately needs to service the debt it incurred — has largely been siphoned out of the country through Hong Kong into international tax havens. Instead of being the anticipated bounty for the government, the Belt and Road Initiative and the neo-colonialism have turned into a gigantic — and growing — liability supported by an eroding tax base.
|Issuing money out of . . . well, you know. . .|
• Bucks and Biden. In the early eighteenth century, the Duc d’Orleans, the Regent of France, decided that paper money was real wealth and printed massive amounts, ruining the French economy for decades. Following World War I, the Allied reparations took virtually all productive capital out of Germany and Austria-Hungary, kicking off hyperinflation that destroyed the economy, paving the way for Hitler. Now, although President Biden’s heart may be in the right place, the same can’t be said for his head. The new “family allowance” — which is what the child tax credit amounts to — will not only do the exact opposite of what it’s intended to do (decrease child poverty), it has the potential to be incredibly inflationary, possibly even in an extreme case to be hyperinflationary, the surreal condition when the price level rises faster than money can be created. The fact is that no one was ever lifted out of poverty by giving them money for consumption. Poverty is only truly ended by people becoming productive. As the old aphorism has it, give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach a man to fish (and make certain he has access to a fishing rod and bait!), and he eats every day. The bottom line? A sound economy instead of a Keynesian fantasy requires that if you want to consume, you must produce. You can’t run an economy on theft, redistribution, or almsgiving. As LBJ’s “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” proved, giving money to people just locks them into poverty because 1) it now pays them to be poor, and 2) it creates jobs for bureaucrats whose income depends on having as many poor people to help as possible, and thus keeping as many people as possible in poverty. The only way out is to stop focusing on making it possible for people to be good consumers and turn them into good producers. Yes, give people money in the interim, but that’s not a solution. The Economic Democracy Act is a solution.
|Social Security is a pyramid scheme.|
• Social Security Misconceptions. A lot of Americans don’t really understand too much about Social Security, even according to the Social Security Administration. The SSA admits that people don’t really understand when they qualify for full benefits and so on, but from the Just Third Way perspective it’s even worse. For one thing, even the SSA thinks that there are actual assets in the Social Security Trust Fund. No, there is massive amounts of government debt. Since the SSA is run by the government, government debt in the Trust Fund represents money the government owes itself; it's sort of a pyramid scheme, as they promise you'll always get more out than you paid in. It’s as if you claimed to be rich because you wrote yourself an IOU for a million dollars. The IOU is worthless until and unless you have a million dollars to redeem your promise to yourself. If someone originally gave you a million dollars to hold for him, and you spent it and replaced it with an IOU, you still owe a million dollars to someone else, not yourself. Then there’s the idea that the money you paid in was put into an account for you, and it’s been earning interest. No, your “Social Security Account” isn’t that kind of account. It records the money you paid in, and what benefits are scheduled to be paid to you, but there are no assets in “your account.” It’s a bookkeeping record, that’s all. Again, only The Economic Democracy Act is a solution. Yes, we need Social Security as a safety net, and the promises made must be kept, but the funding system needs to be changed, and the focus needs to be on making people productive for themselves, not merely consumers of what others produce.
|Tie me ownership down, Sport. . . .|
• Australia’s First Employee Ownership Trust. According to the newsletter of the National Center for Employee Ownership, Meld Studios in Australia has become the first company to transfer ownership from its three owners to all 22 employees by means of an Employee Ownership Trust. This is at least a step in the right direction, although we believe that direct ownership is much better than the beneficial ownership conferred by a trust. An Economic Democracy Act that would give individuals the same tax and financial benefits as an employee ownership trust would be of benefit to an entire economy, not just those companies savvy enough to adopt employee ownership programs.
|"Am I a blue kangaroo, Drew?"|
• 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 Principles of Economic Justice.” 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.
|"I wish to buy some books."|
• 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.
|Our loyal readers|
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 36 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, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Kenya. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Book Review: A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey,” “The Virtue of Social Justice,” “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 27,” “The Means of Acquiring and Possessing Private Property,” and “The Purpose of Production”
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.