Perhaps not unexpectedly, the news items have a depressing sameness, which will continue to be the case as long as we delay adopting the Economic Democracy Act. At that point, we can have an invigorating sameness, right? In any event, here are this week’s news items:
• Share Values Decline . . . and Rise . . . and Decline. This is almost in the “Not Really News” category by this time, but the Dow, in common with stock exchanges the world over has been bouncing around like a rubber ball and could conceivably end the week under 30,000 (and then shoot up on Monday). The fact is that prices on the world’s stock exchanges usually bear no resemblance to the real values of the companies whose ownership the shares represent. This, of course, gives speculators a field day, for if they can determine if a share is over- or under-valued, they can make money going long or short, depending. This, as we’ve mentioned many times before, will not be resolved until we adopt the Economic Democracy Act.
|An inherent problem with the wage system.|
• Jobs Crisis in Russia. Although Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin insists that the Russian economy is stronger than ever, it seems that there is a “jobs crisis” going on. In an economy where it is assumed that you can only gain income by having a “job,” this is a disaster, and calls to mind some of the protests that managed to get staged against Putin not too long ago. They weren’t concerned with the underlying cause — a costly war of aggression against a peaceful neighbor and sanctions imposed because of what amounts to a criminal act by Russia — but with the fact that the miracle worker who Made Russia Great Again hasn’t been able to keep people employed at a time when the Russian economy needs to be at its most productive. Of course, as we might expect, the fundamental problem is the assumption that only by having a job can people gain income, which Louis Kelso and centuries of economic life without a wage system prove. As we’ve mentioned, won’t go away until we adopt the Economic Democracy Act.
|Yes, it can happen again.|
• What’s Wrong With This Picture? Inflation is defined in most major schools of economics as a rise in the price level caused by too many units of currency (“too much money”) chasing too few goods and services. There are some refinements and subtleties in this, such as the difference between demand-pull and cost-push inflation, the phenomena of stagflation and hyperinflation, but it always boils down to too much money/too few marketable goods and services. That is why Federal Reserve Chairman Powell’s idea (actually Keynes’s idea) of damping down inflation by raising the “price of money” (itself an interesting — and erroneous — concept) is precisely and exactly the wrong thing to do. Money and credit are not a commodity with a price, but a means of measuring prices and values and exchanging marketable goods and services. This is another problem that can’t be solved until we realize the real definition of money as embodied in the Economic Democracy Act.
|"Stop provoking me with the truth."|
• Russian Default. One of the problems with not having a uniform and non-political global reserve currency is that the country that controls a global reserve currency in which contract are denominated can sometimes force other countries into a most uncomfortable, even dangerous position . . . as may soon happen with Russia. It seems Russia has borrowed an immense amount of money denominated in U.S. Dollars and may not have the U.S. Dollars with which to make payment. Consequently, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that Russia may be forced into defaulting on its sovereign debt if it can’t find enough Dollars to make the interest and principal payments. Combined with Russia’s other political, economic and military woes — all self-induced — the consequences could be far-reaching and have effects that even Putin hasn’t considered.
|"Bwa-haha! They'll never suspect we're behind it!"|
• Conspiracy Theory and Social Justice. In another instance of “This Is News?”, law enforcement officials have concluded from the shootings in Buffalo, New York, that indulging in conspiracy theory can result in violence. This is one reason why, in The Greater Reset, we insist that whether or not there is a conspiracy, the proper way to address problems is with acts of social justice, not acts of violence.
• Stocks Returning to Nearer True Value? Investment Guru (another interesting term) Jeremy Grantham has started trumpeting the possibility that share values may decline by as much as 80%, kicking off a recession (we don’t use the “D Word” anymore since Keynes made those things impossible, right?) This, however, is only a matter for concern if you think that the secondary stock market is actually the primary economic market. In other words, if you confuse a second hand shop for used corporate debt and equity with the market that produces, distributes and consumes marketable goods and services.
• Social Security Rise. It sounds like a really good thing: the Social Security Administration is giving the biggest Cost of Living Adjustment increase in many years. This means, of course, that either the Social Security tax will have to be increased, or the trust fund dipped into . . . and the only thing in the trust fund is government debt that must be redeemed either by increased other taxes or additional issuances of debt, both of which are going to be bad for the economy and drive prics up, necessitating further SSA increases. Again, the only way out of this downward spiral is the Economic Democracy Act.
|May not be as good as it sounds.|
• High Ruble Bad. It sounds bizarre if you don’t understand money and its link to the economy, but the high Russian Ruble is good news for Ukraine and its friends and allies, at least when it comes to fighting a war from the wrong economic and financial paradigm. Why? The Ruble is “high” because it has been pegged to a somewhat stable commodity: gold . . . well . . . stable in comparison to a currency that simply floats. The problem is that this has the potential to cause some very serious problems when it comes to financing government, a welfare state, and a war all at the same time, and the currency, while it is pegged to gold, is backed by government debt. Do you see the problem? It is based on the fact that what is used to measure the value of the currency is not necessarily what backs the currency, and frankly frequently is not. When the U.S. was on the gold standard, the reserve currency was backed not by gold, but by government debt, albeit the reserve currency could be converted to gold prior to 1933. Only the fact that the money created in the private sector was asset-backed kept matters stable. As government took over more and more of the economy, however, there began to be a discontinuity between what the currency was worth in real terms, and what it was worth in terms of gold. Finally, by the 1970s, with spending for the welfare state and the Vietnam War, the U.S. could not maintain parity of the currency with gold any longer and had to allow it to float. Russia is in even a worse case. Its economy is tanking, it’s fighting a losing war, and there is going to be increasing pressure to issue more debt to finance government operations on all fronts. The problem is that if the currency is overvalued by artificially pegging it to gold (or anything else) and the economy isn’t being productive, no one will willingly accept the currency unless it’s convertible into gold at the pegged price, which would be a financial disaster for the Russians, as they would lose money on every transaction while gaining nothing.
• 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 32 different countries and 36 states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and Ireland. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 17,” “Vladimir Putin’s Weird Worldview,” “JTW Podcast: Warren Treadgold,” and “Did C.S. Lewis Approve of Socialism?”
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#