As has become usual, this week Putin’s War on Ukraine is the focus of the Just Third Way. Frankly, not only is the Just Third Way pretty much the only game left in town when it comes to what’s going to happen after the war, it is becoming increasingly obvious that had it been in place before the war, there would not even have been a “before” to talk about, as the war very likely would not have happened in the first place. In any event, here are this week’s news items:
• Share Values Decline . . . and Rise. Wall Street has seen a sharp fall in share values recently, for which the experts seem unable to account. In our opinion, of course, such fluctuations are inherent in the secondary market as long as today’s inadequate (and often completely wrong) understandings of such fundamental concepts as money and credit, private property, and even taxation, to say nothing of the meaning and purpose of life itself, abound. If the speculative element were to be largely removed (it will never completely disappear from any market) by adopting the Economic Democracy Act, share values on Wall Street (or any other exchange) would approximate a share’s real value, based on the anticipated present value of the future dividend flow. As it is, Wall Street is simply a very expensive gambling casino.
|War affects an economy? Like . . . wow.
• War and Inflation Dangerous Says Fed. In a remarkably astute observation, the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, announced that inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represent serious dangers to the U.S. economy. How the Federal Reserve o0fficials managed to reach this incredibly obvious conclusion is a mystery, but that does not detract from its validity or seriousness. Whether the Federal Reserve — or anyone else — will ever come to the conclusion that (at least in our opinion) the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism and applied in the Economic Democracy Act has any realistic chance of solving these problems.
|So that's where the flag comes from!
• Ukraine Planting. While it is unexpected, it is very gratifying to learn that Ukrainian farmers are making much better progress toward planting than they expected, given the Russian invasion. This should relieve some of the pressure on global food prices, as many countries rely heavily on Ukrainian wheat and other agricultural products to survive.
• Lech Wałęsa on Russian Reform. While giving a speech in Hartford, Connecticut, Lech Wałęsa of the Polish labor union Solidarność and past president of Poland claimed that unless the system in Russia is drastically changed, it will simply try to take over Ukraine or some other country or countries in another five or ten years. We don’t know how accurate Wałęsa’s time frame is (which we think might be a little pessimistic, given the devastation to the Russian economy and the shock of its failure — so far — in Ukraine), but the nature of the current Russian system is such that, as the former president of Poland states, it is inevitable that Russia will try the same thing again. Power follows property, and when you have such mega-concentrations of wealth in a very few hands, the holders of it are highly likely to be corrupt, eve n those who didn’t start out that way. Instituting but the Economic Democracy Act in Russia as well as Ukraine would, again, go a long way towards eliminating this problem.
|Not mutually exclusive
• Working to Supplement Retirement. Along with everything else happening to the economy, the perennial problem of people not having enough money for retirement is becoming much worse. At one and the same time, people are finding it necessary to work after “retiring,” and are unable to find work for which they are suited or can even do. Not to keep on pointing out the obvious, but the Economic Democracy Act would go a long way to eliminating this problem completely.
|"Look, Mom, it's the Russian economy!"
• Russian Economy Tanking. Despite random cries and assertions that Russia’s economy is actually stronger than ever (usually from sources we consider a trifle suspect), Russia’s economic ministry has announced it expects to see a 12% decline in GDP as a direct result of Putin’s War. That being the case, a reasonable response taking cause and effect into account would say that, instead of throwing good money (and people’s lives) after bad, Russia should pull out of Ukraine immediately, and reform its economy . . . after getting rid of Putin and his goons in whatever manner they see fit. Naturally, we think that the Economic Democracy Act would be the best bet for a restructured economy (after getting rid of Putin), but we’re willing to listen to any reasonable alternative.
|Who needs "de-nazification"?
• Russia Calls for “Military Socialism”. We’re tempted to say we didn’t see this coming, but we’ve predicted something similar for quite some time. A Russian minister has said that for Russia to win the war it is waging against the world, beginning with Ukraine, it will be necessary to put all national resources to work and institute a type of “military socialism,” in which everything is directed to war (see minute 1:00 to 1:35). War would in this way become the sole reason and justification for
|Catholic ≠ Socialist
Russia’s existence. Given the support for Putin and his war in some Catholic and conservative Christian circles, we find it puzzling how this can be reconciled with, e.g., the teachings of Dorothy Day or the pronouncement of Pope Pius XI that, as he said in § 120 of Quadragesimo Anno, “If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
• Russian Economy v. the Ruble. According to some analysts, the artificially high value of the Ruble (achieved by pegging it to gold without commensurate economic growth or an asset backing) puts pressure on the Russians to devalue the ruble and increases the likelihood of some form of “retaliation.” What form such retaliation could take is not quite clear, but given Putin’s fondness for threatening everybody and his brother with nuclear annihilation at the drop of a hat, it could be anything, depending on how much the Russian people are willing to let their very existence depend on the whim of a madman.
|"Who the hell left this in my field?"
• Ukrainian Tax Benefits. In the “We Didn’t Make This Up” department, Ukrainian civilians are “capturing so much abandoned Russian military equipment that Kyiv has had to issue instructions on how to handle such “trophies” and is allowing any gains from the sale of assorted tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and small arms, etc., etc., etc., to be tax free.
• Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. According to Ukrainian authorities, the country has lost 5 million jobs as a result of Putin’s War. While this can hardly be called a Good Thing, it does raise the question as to whether a modern, technologically advanced, democratic economy can afford to be so oriented on “jobs-jobs-jobs” when advanced capital instruments have taken over the bulk of industrial production, and have also virtually taken over commerce and industry. What is needed, of course, is a way for ordinary people to own the robots that are replacing them, so that they can continue to be participating and productive members of society instead of “useless eaters” to be eliminated as a drag on the economy. The proposal we call the Economic Democracy Act is custom designed to address this problem.
|"Send money for food & ammo."
• Invading on a Budget. While Putin may be the richest man in the world, and is certainly the greatest thief who ever lived, he seems to get a little stingy when it comes to equipping his legions for conquest. Part of this is due to the fact that the bulk of the funds for modernizing Russia’s military (except for submarines . . . Putin likes submarines ’cause they’re cool) went into Putin’s pocket and the purses of his cronies, to be piled up in foreign bank accounts away from the scrutiny of petty-minded, bean-counting auditors. Russian soldiers are typically equipped with second- or third-rate equipment, while the conscripts from the separatist regions are in some cases given antique World War II-era rifles that don’t even work. Some Russian soldiers are asking Mom and Dad for money to buy proper equipment, since the equipment they’re issued is basically expletive deleted in quality.
|Already getting started.
• Reconstruction Already Beginning. Ukraine’s Finance Minister is looking into financing the rebuilding of Ukraine after all the damage wrought by the invasion. Our suggewstion, of course, is that the Economic Democracy Act.
• A Good, Clean Fight? Russia is so low on computer chips for their military equipment that they’re taking the chips out of washing machines and other kitchen appliances to use in tanks and other military equipment.
• 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.
• 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 persons 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 25 different countries and 27 states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Philippines, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Corporatism versus Distributism,” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 16,” “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “Activism versus Leadership” and “The Five Levers of Reform, Change and Rebuilding.”
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 well 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#