A few weeks ago, we came across another article bemoaning the fact that the number of people who read in society and have any degree of cultural literacy that stretches back more than a few years has declined greatly. As Dr. Mark Bauerlein said in his interview, a decline in reading has led to a rise in stupidity.
Monday, January 31, 2022
Friday, January 28, 2022
News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 03
It’s astonishing how many problems can potentially be solved by implementing the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism — which can be done very easily with what amounts to some very minor changes in laws . . . and some very major changes in people’s thinking and assumptions. Be that as it may, here’s what’s been happening on the Home Front of Economic and Social Justice:
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Binary Economics and Distributive Justice
As we may have mentioned once or twice, we like to get questions . . . if we can use our answers as blog postings, anyway. The other day we were handed a question that came in over the transom — and believe it or not, we lived for four years at college in rooms that had transoms, so we not only know what a transom is, we know how to submit something over one. Anyway —
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
More Mad Money Myths Meliorated
You wouldn’t have been able to trip up Ebenezer Scrooge on the subject of today’s posting. He was a banker and worked in the City of London, that is to say, the financial district, sort of the British Wall Street (very sort of). He knew the difference between a mortgage (a past savings financial instrument) and a bill of exchange (a future savings instrument), and it’s doubtful whether you could have persuaded Scrooge to speculate in government debt, especially foreign government debt. He would probably have said “Bah, humbug” to it even after the visits of the three spirits and his completion and reformation.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Myths of Modern Money Amended
Even the unreformed Ebenezer Scrooge probably understood money, credit, banking, and finance better than most people today, and certainly better than the monetary mavens of his day. Proving that two wrongs don’t make a right, the experts of Scrooge’s day were responsible for undermining the exclusionary and elitist, but theoretically sound, financial system that existed prior to the British Bank Charter Act 1844 (7 & 8 Vict. c. 32).
Monday, January 24, 2022
JTW Podcast: Fulton Sheen on Education
We never expected Fulton Sheen, author of Freedom Under God, to mention Robert Maynard Hutchins on his television show, but he did — in this video, today’s podcast, which is about the philosophy of education. It’s not for job training, especially for jobs that don’t exist, or to mortgage your future for eternity by assuming a mountain of debt. No, it’s to seek truth and become more fully human. That’s the whole idea behind “Justice University.”
Friday, January 21, 2022
News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 02
While the Russian threat to Ukraine should be more on people’s minds — along with all the other threats at the present time — viable and long-term solutions don’t seem to have a place at the table. Perhaps, however, it’s time to rethink how we approach solving problems, as well as which problems to solve:
Thursday, January 20, 2022
The Fatal Omission
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there was a movement in the early nineteenth century to broaden the base of capital ownership throughout society. This was justified based on individual human dignity (Cobbett), economic stability (Morrison), and as a counter to the spread of the “New Things” of modernism and socialism (the Catholic Church).
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
The Road to Limited Liability
In the previous posting on this subject, we saw that even if ordinary people had sufficient savings during the Industrial Revolution, or even if they had gained access to the commercial and central banking system in England, broad-based ownership of the new industries would have been much too risky under the law of the time to allow it.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
The Problem of Liability
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, there were significant institutional barriers preventing Ebenezer Scrooge from doing the completely right thing by Bob Cratchit and making him a partner instead of a mere employee. For example, anyone who “participated” in any way in a business was considered a part owner, even if he didn’t have legal title to anything. That made him jointly and severally liable for all debts of the business. If the enterprise went belly-up, he could go to debtor’s prison.
Monday, January 17, 2022
JTW Podcast: Fulton Sheen on How to Think
A few years ago a friend of ours who teaches philosophy at a relatively small college mentioned that for a good part of every first semester class he had to spend most of the time teaching the students something they had never learned in grade or high school: how to think. After a bit of searching, we found a program the late Fulton Sheen, author of Freedom Under God, gave on “How to Think” . . . which no doubt astounded a large part of his audience that thought it already knew everything. . . .
Friday, January 14, 2022
News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 02
Another “Snowmageddon” or “Snow Event” is prophesied for the U.S. east coast, so the store shelves should be stripped bare of milk, bread, toilet paper and orange juice, not to mention cheap liquor. Be that as it may, here are the news items from this week:
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Scrooge’s Social Problem
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted how Dickens took Scrooge about as far as he could go with his reformation and completion as a human person — but no further. Scrooge’s character was expanded individually, and his sense of strict justice was completed and fulfilled by charity, but no more.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
More Than an Individual Problem
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, life in the early nineteenth century had thrown a lot of curves at most people in the form of massive social, economic and political change, and the institutions of the social order were not keeping up. Instead, radicals were calling for the abolition of all old institutions, such as private property, organized religion, and marriage and family, and their replacement with what was called by many names, but with one substance: socialism.
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Making the Best of a Bad Situation
As we saw in the previous posting on this subject, Charles Dickens’s character Ebenezer Scrooge turns out not to have been so much a bad man, but an incomplete person. Once he accepted grace and “converted” to personalism, as Dickens put it, “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”
Monday, January 10, 2022
JTW Podcast: The Bob’s Red Mill ESOP Story
Two years ago (almost to the day) we went hunting for potato starch to make “karaage,” that is, fried chicken the Japanese way, which requires dredging in potato starch for the very best results. (Trust us. Use potato starch. It’s like a potato chip coating on the chicken.)
Friday, January 7, 2022
News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 01
What with a couple of paralyzing blizzards in the DC metro area, the year is off to a slow start, which is not made any more interesting, news-wise, by our attempts to avoid partisan politics — we don’t care who does the right thing, as long as somebody does. Be that as it may, here’s what we have for this week:
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Scrooge v. the Socialists
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted how, in contrast to today’s super-rich, and traditional capitalists and socialists, when Ebenezer Scrooge saw the light (and the three spirits), and became charitable, he didn’t call it “justice” and he used his own money. He also didn’t consciously control Bob Cratchit, despite the fact that the system of the time pretty much forced employees into a condition of dependency, which a master could make burdensome or easy. Naturally, many masters really rubbed their employees’ noses in it, as they knew their employees were inferior beings or they would have been in charge . . . right?
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
The Honesty of Ebenezer
In the previous posting on this subject, we noted that Ebenezer Scrooge, the, er, hero (or maybe “victim”?) of Charles Dickens’s 1843 story “A Christmas Carol” was portrayed as a strictly honest man, despite later dramatic characterizations that made him seem like a minor Robber Baron or major sneak thief. Scrooge’s iron rectitude is, in fact, essential to the plot, as otherwise Dickens’s story could have been dismissed (at least within the context of the fictional world) as a lie or a delusion.
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
An Unexpected Christmas Message
No, really, it’s still Christmas. Despite the common belief that “the Christmas Season” starts the day after Thanksgiving (or, for some, after Independence Day) and runs until 9:00 am on December 25, Christmas actually begins at sundown on December 24 and runs for the next dozen days . . . although we’re off the hook regarding gifts, unless you include or hold off until January 6.
Monday, January 3, 2022
JTW Podcast: Guy Stevenson Hungry for More
Okay, this week’s podcast is more than a trifle religiously oriented, but that’s not the reason we’re posting it. If you like you can fast forward to around Minute 10 when Guy Stevenson starts bringing in the Just Third Way and binary economics . . . which is the reason we’re using this podcast.