At the top of this week’s news, of course, is Putin’s War, and how Just Third Way principles might have prevented it, and offer a better way of rebuilding Ukraine (and even Russia) once this “special military operation” is brought to a close:
• Potential Russian Default, Act II. The previous potential Russian default of $117 million was a significant worry for supporters and deniers of Putin’s War, but now another financial hurdle is coming up on April 4 with a $2.2 billion debt service payment — and that could seriously strain what is left of Russia’s international credit or cause an outright default, especially if Russia simply refuses to pay or tries to pay in Rubles. $2.2 billion is, after all, nearly twenty times $117 million, so if $117 million caused a worry, $2.2 billion might result in a slight bit of consternation. Of course, some of the problem could have been avoided if there had been a global reserve currency not tied to the politics of any country — what R. Buckminster Fuller talked about using the kilowatt hour — but all of the problem could have been avoided if Putin had not decided to initiate what has to be one of the most stupid and incompetent military operations in the history of the world . . . but that’s another story.
• Insanity’s Price Tag. According to Ukrainian figures released this past week, Putin’s War has caused more than half a trillion dollars’ worth of material damage, to say nothing of the irreplaceable lives lost on both sides — Putin seems to care as little for the lives of his own people as he does for Ukrainians. By international law, Russia clearly owes Ukraine big-time reparations . . . which, given the scale of the damage, would bankrupt Russia if Putin doesn’t manage to do it first. Then there is the matter of reparations to the civilian victims of Russian war crimes, and the violations of human rights within Russia and Russia’s own devastated economy. All in all, there will be a very large price tag for Putin’s glory and greed — and that’s only for Ukraine. What about when the Chechens, Georgians, Syrians, Kazakhs, etc., etc., etc., file their claims? No country can ever make reparation for the scale of damage that Russia has inflicted on the world. Even if it could, it would beggar the nation for generations, and probably lead to something even worse: the issue of World War I reparations was one of Hitler’s strongest cards in his rise to power and contributed directly to World War II.
• Reparations. As we said in “A Suggestion for Zelenskyy,” one form of reparation — after using Putin’s and his buddies’ cash to compensate victims — could be to implement the Economic Democracy Act. This would benefit Ukraine most of all by freeing the country from all reliance on foreign financing, build direct ownership of the country into the people of the country, and rebuild the country in a remarkably short period of time. Zelenskyy has already announced a program in which the Ukrainian government plans to compensate the victims for damage to real estate, but we think that’s unrealistic. It doesn’t have to be a direct program, but just the necessary legislation for the EDA. Plus, it doesn’t do anything to change the power structure in Russia that was a significant contributor to the war. Taking a page from the Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice, t would be a good idea to have an EDA for Russia as well — on condition that all perpetrators of war crimes, from Putin on down, be brought to trial before an international tribunal.
• Buffett on Inflation. Warren Buffett is warning about the dangers of runaway inflation. We agree, but where we don’t agree is what to do about it. The solution is not simply to stop creating money . . . it’s to stop creating money the wrong way and for the wrong purposes. It causes infinite damage to create money for consumption and speculation. It brings enormous benefits if money is only created when backed by existing assets and the present value of future assets, especially when the latter is done in ways that create new owners of the new capital being financed. As a general rule, money backed by existing assets should only be used for consumption and cancelled when the asset that backs it is consumed, while money back by the present value of future assets should only be used to finance new, financially feasible capital, especially when that new capital is broadly owned. And money that is backed by no asset, i.e., the debt of the government issuing the money? It shouldn’t be used for anything at all, as it is essentially counterfeit money. The solution? The monetary reforms found in the Economic Democracy Act.
• Comparative Results. Russia is complaining that Ukraine attacked Russia and injured two civilians. There has been no mention by Russian authorities about what Russia might be doing in Ukraine.
• The Greater Reset. CESJ’s new book by members of CESJ’s core group, The Greater Reset: Reclaiming Personal Sovereignty Under Natural Law is, of course, available from the publisher, TAN Books, an imprint of Saint Benedict Press, and has already gotten a top review on that website. It can also be obtained from Barnes and Noble, as well as Amazon, or by special order from your local “bricks and mortar” bookstore. The Greater Reset is the only book of which we’re aware on “the Great Reset” that presents an alternative instead of simply warning of the dangers inherent in a proposal that is contrary to natural law. It describes reality, rather than a Keynesian fantasy world. Please note that The Greater Reset is NOT a CESJ publication as such, and enquiries about quantity discounts and wholesale orders for resale must be sent to the publisher, Saint Benedict Press, NOT to CESJ.
• The Weak Retirement Act. The “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022” is intended to help Americans save more out of income most of them don’t have to spare in the first place. Frankly, if more politicians had paid attention in their economics classes, they’d know that “savings equals investment.” The answer to insufficient retirement savings is not to decrease consumption further, but to increase investment, financed by future increases in production instead of past decreases in consumption. This — as should be obvious to readers of this blog — can be achieved by the Economic Democracy Act.
• Holier-Than-Thou (Part II). Last week we mentioned what we believe to be the wrong-headed, muddle-headed, and even disgraceful position being taken by some Catholics who evidently consider themselves the appropriate accusers, judges, juries, and executioners of anyone who happens to disagree with their version of Christianity or anything else. Specifically, we noted Mr. Joseph Pearce’s “Putting Putin in Perspective” and Mr. Dale Ahlquist’s “War and Rumor of War” Not unnaturally, we — probably along with many others — were completely baffled by Pearce’s and Ahlquist’s virtue signaling, although we certainly defend their right to whatever foolish, insensitive, or imbecilic opinion they wish to express and promote it by any legitimate means. We were even more baffled this week when we read this analysis of Putin’s near-psychotic hatred of Catholicism — why would any Catholic (or anyone else, for that matter) put any credence in such a man or think that any and all means must be used to stop his attempt at world conquest? Putting the cap on it was an article about Archbishop Viganó’s weird, even surreal championing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and his characterizing Russia as somehow saving the world instead of giving Armageddon the Old College Try.
|Rule of Law|
• Relief for Ukraine Act. It’s a nice try, BUT. The idea of a number of U.S. Senators is to use the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs to assist Ukraine. This is a really bad idea. It’s one thing to freeze assets as an expedient in wartime . . . or even in “special military operations” time. It’s quite another to confiscate assets without just cause and due process. The former is prudent: you don’t give someone who is threatening you or someone else the means to carry out those threats. The latter is convicting someone and carrying out sentence before guilt is established. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of western civilization. Until and unless guilt is proved, the wealth even of Putin can’t be confiscated.
• Russia and Friends. Showing that some people can put up with anything if they see something in it for themselves, quite a few countries are not willing to get on the anti-Russia bandwagon. If this is due to honest opinion, more power to them. We suspect, however, that if Russia’s “friends” didn’t see some advantage to themselves or weren’t afraid of being punished later if Russia still manages to come out of this with a whole skin, they might not be so friendly or so quick to hold back in support of Ukraine. The Economic Democracy Act in every country would allow countries as well as people to be free of dependency on others, and it would be interesting to see how many real fans Putin’s War would have if capital ownership were widespread.
• 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.
• 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 31 different countries and 34 states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, India, Philippines, Ireland, and Canada. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Book Review: A Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey,” “Rebirth of a Nation,” “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “A Suggestion for Zelenskyy,” and “JTW Podcast: The Terry and Jesse Show.”
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.