As of this writing, the Dow has plunged more 1,000 points on news of a new COVID-19 strain in South America. In real terms, of course, it doesn’t mean anything, as a gain or loss in the stock market is only “real” when you sell the shares and lock in a loss or a gain. It does, however, illustrate the fact that we need to get away from obsessing about what is essentially a fantasy world on Wall Street and fovus on the real world of Main Street. To do that we need the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism and the Economic Democracy Act:
• Help Joe Walk Again for Economic Justice. Just a reminder, if you haven’t already done so, to visit the GoFundMe campaign and consider making a contribution and spreading word out among your social media networks. It’s off to a good start, but it’s still just a start.
• Rethinking Work and Retirement. Not too long ago, not more than a century or so, the idea of working for a set period of time, then “retiring” was a completely alien idea to most people. The old Biblical injunction of “He who does not work neither shall he eat” was a simple fact of life for everyone, regardless of faith or philosophy. Then, somehow, people got the idea that everyone is due what he or she needs to lead a decent material life, and — in extreme cases — to expect people to work for it was inhumane. Part of this is the result of advancing technology, which makes direct human labor less and less of an input to production each year, thereby disconnecting direct labor from income. Another factor has been the concentrated ownership of advanced technology under capitalism, and the abolition of ownership (at least as a right) under socialism, disconnecting income from capital ownership. This is a disaster, for the two usual ways of producing and thus gaining income to meet one’s material needs is ownership of labor, ownership of capital, or both. What we need is an social revolution in which instead of armed resistance to the system or entrenched power, we resist the continuation of flawed systems, especially the money, credit, and tax systems, that prevent or inhibit most people from becoming owners of capital and thereby reconnecting to the common good of all humanity. One such revolutionary program is the Economic Democracy Act.
• The Greater Reset. As many people are aware, Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum are proposing a “Great Reset” to get the world back on the right track. We agree that the world needs to get back on the right track, and that many of the measures proposed by the World Economic Forum are essential now, in the short term until we can get things back on an even keel. For all their good intentions, however, what Schwab and the WEF propose is not a solution, but a social and financial tourniquet, so to speak. It is needed now, but if left in place a moment longer than necessary can — and will — “kill” the global economy and destroy society. That is why our book, The Greater Reset, scheduled for release in March, presents what we believe is a viable, long-term solution to the global situation, and a feasible means to end systemic racism, poverty and war.
•Raising Wages v. Replacing Labor. Recently someone opined that if raising wages is supposed to raise prices, why doesn’t replacing human labor with technology reduce prices? The answer is that in some cases, it does. More often, however, what happens is that a rising wage level suddenly makes labor-displacing technology financially feasible. To take a crude and simplistic example, suppose a job is being done by human beings at $7.50 per hour, which works out to an employer cost of $11.25 per hour (a “rule of thumb” is to add 50% to salary and wages to allow for the cost of benefits and employer shares of Social Security, etc.). A machine could do the job more efficiently, but costs $12.50 per hour once all costs are factored in. The hourly minimum wage rises to $15.00, which translates into $22.50 per hour for the employer. Suddenly that new technology is very profitable, indeed, and workers lose their jobs — saving the employer $10.00 per hour. Will the prices go down? No, they will go up, but not as much as they would have had the employer been forced to pay human labor $11.25 more per hour, total, than before. The employer is faced with a cost increase whichever way you look at it, but $1.25 per hour increase is much less than a $11.25 per hour increase.
• President Biden and Inflation. President Biden is being urged to think more about, and focus on inflation. We think that’s a great idea. Step one: stop printing money and spending it like a drunken sailor on leave. Step two: Enact the Economic Democracy Act. The problem isn’t solved immediately, but it will start going away.
• 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 over 155,000 total views. The latest Sensus Fidelium video is “The Five Levers of Change.” 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.
• 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 29 different countries and 38 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, BAngladesh, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “JTW Podcast: America’s ‘Prince of Cranks’,” “We’re NOT Making This Up, You Know!” “You Ain’t Heard NOTHIN’ Yet!” “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 46,” and “Social Justice IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice.”
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.#30#