Not surprisingly, we would have few news items to report if a country adopted the Economic Democracy Act and other followed suit. So, why doesn’t anyone implement the EDA? Well, until they do, here are a few of the situations that would benefit from an application of the Just Third Way:
• Invasion Draining Russia’s Financial Resources. Not unexpectedly, and despite continuing claims from Russia that the sanctions aren’t hurting a bit (which is why they complain about them so much and threaten the rest of the world in revenge), Putin appears to be having a little trouble coming up with the cash to finance his war effort and keep the economy more or less afloat, especially after Putin mandated a rise in the minimum, wage and old age pensions. That are estimated to cost an additional trillion Rubles per year by 2023 (about $15 billion, U.S.) Yes, Russia is still hauling in the cash from oil revenues, but a lot of it is in Rubles and can’t be used to finance the war effort due to sanctions. The country is in the bizarre position of having revenue that it can’t spend. Of course, if Russia implemented the Economic Democracy Act, a number of problems would solve themselves . . . such as nullifying or “sterilizing” Putin’s immense wealth that he uses to control the country.
|Fake rise in GDP, real drop in value|
• Strong Ruble, Worthless Shares. In yet another indication of the double insanity of Russia’s inept (but illegal and extraordinarily destructive) invasion of Ukraine and the misapplication of flawed Keynesian economics, the Ruble is “strong” . . . but the economy that presumably backs the Ruble is going down the toilet, as indicated by the fact that shares in Russian companies are pretty much worthless. Of course, the value of shares on the secondary market isn’t really tied to a realistic idea of the value of the company that issued the shares, but to what people think they can sell them for. It’s more an indication of public confidence in the economy than an objective measure of value. Thus, while few Russians would dare to say it out loud themselves, when their money talks, it says things are bad. Again, however, the Economic Democracy Act would go a long way toward correcting the situation on all fronts.
|The Russky Mir fueled by fuel|
• Oil and the Experts. Bank of America is warning that if people can’t buy Russian oil, there will be a global recession. Of course, others say that unless Russia gets what it wants and takes over Ukraine, there will be a global recession. Others insist that if Ukraine just surrenders a little bit of its territory, say 20%, Putin will be satisfied and go home and not bother anybody ever again. Uh, huh. Essentially, the arguments always seem to boil down to the assumption that the world needs Russian oil and to get it we need to give Putin whatever he wants. Of course, if fusion power and other alternative energy sources were commercially viable, Russia (and other oil producing countries) would be left high and dry without any way to blackmail or bribe others. And how to finance it? Three guesses, but the only one that counts is the Economic Democracy Act.
• Economic Contradictions. Possibly explaining why Putin is scrambling for funds to finance his war and at the same time loading the government with greater expenditures for minimum wages and old age pensions, many Russians claim they aren’t really feeling the economic pinch now, but expect to, very soon. The fact is that Putin is running up against the “glass ceiling” of Keynesian economics: you can’t have both “guns and butter.” That is, there is only so much financing available, and you can use it to produce armaments, or consumer goods. This is nonsense under Just Third Way assumptions that embodies a real understanding of money, for if there is effective demand for something, then it can be financed and produced, regardless of the amount of existing savings in the system. How this can be done is described in the Economic Democracy Act. The downside for Putin, of course, is that it would effectively strip him of power and “sterilize” his wealth so he couldn’t use it to control others . . . which is his only reason for living.
• Gun Control and Reason. President Biden is rightfully “concerned” (a weak word) about gun violence, and is seeking some kind of middle ground to meet with Republican lawmakers. Unfortunately, as we noted in “Sticking to Your Guns: Rights and Wrongs,” he and others are a little iffy on constitutional law, and both sides do not appear to appreciate the other side’s position, nor what the Constitution really says. As a result, we don’t really expect anything to happen unless one side or the other gets enough power to force its views on everyone else. This will appear draconian or heartless to the other side, and the conflict will continue as the death count rises.
|Crank up the presses and we'll all be rich!|
• Print Money to Counter Inflation! Where Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, as brilliant an economist as he is a military strategist, thinks he can combat inflation by raising prices Iabove), President Biden and Janet Yellen think they can counter inflation by printing money! So, which is better? Putin’s way or Biden’s way? How about neither one? It need not be a choice between cost-push and demand-pull inflation, but of tying money to private sector hard assets, as in the Economic Democracy Act.
|"I got mine. FU, Russian economy!"|
• Russian Default. Russia made a partial payment on its sovereign debt, but not enough to forestall being judged in default. The only question is what does this really mean? We don’t know — yet. We’ll have to wait and see what comes of it, if anything.
• Russian Economic Upheaval? Despite constantly insisting that nothing is wrong and everything is economically boompsa-daisy (and then threatening to attack the world if the ineffective sanctions aren’t lifted immediately . . .), the Russians are expecting some serious economic consequences to start unfolding. When they do start affecting people’s everyday lives in a painful manner and Putin can no longer blame the West for the co8untry’s troubles, it will be interesting to see if his diehard fans still follow him.
• Biden’s Three-Point Plan to Fight Inflation. President Biden has outlined a three-step plan to fight inflation . . . all three of which are inflationary! And the steps? 1) Trust the Federal Reserve. Ever since 1916 when the Federal Reserve gave in to Congressional pressure to accept government debt backing of the money supply — a leading cause of inflation — it is clear that we cannot “trust the Fed” to do anything except yield to the temptation to inflate the currency whenever Congress has the power to do so. 2) Lower the prices of commodities. That means fixing prices, and that means less incentive to produce, which decreases supply, sometimes to the vanishing point. If it costs more to produce something than it can be sold for, then it won’t be produced unless someone is forced to produce it or it is subsidized . . . which is inflationary. 3) Address the national deficit. Since Biden proposes to do this by means of tax reform and not encouraging production, this will decrease disposable income at the personal level, and raise the costs of production at the corporate level. The former is inflationary as it forces consumers to use consumer credit to make ends meet and consumer credit is purely inflationary (demand pull). The latter is inflationary because it increases the costs of goods and services to the consumer. It is, after all, a well-known aphorism in accounting that corporations don’t really pay taxes. They just pass the taxes on to the consumer in increased prices. What’s the real solution? As you have probably already guessed, it’s the Economic Democracy Act.
• Oil and Putin’s War. As has been obvious from the start, Putin’s best weapon in his invasion of Ukraine and his dream of world conquest is oil. If the world’s need for Russian oil can be eliminated, Putin won’t have a pot . . . well, you know. While it’s always a good time to go with a good idea, there is now a better reason than ever to develop fusion power as quickly as possible, and finance it with the Economic Democracy Act.
• Time Running Out for Russia? Possibly explaining Russia’s increasing threats against everybody and his brother, leading German economists are predicting an early demise for the Russian economy, and are urging Germany (and the rest of the world) to wean themselves off Russian oil as soon as possible, if only because Russia might not be in a position to supply it as their war machine starts to grind to a halt (albeit in as bloody and destructive a manner as possible).
|Fort Ross: Russian Settlement in California|
• North to Russia’s Own. A number of people ignore the fact that the U.S. shares a border with Russia . . . and that Putin has claimed Alaska (and possibly northern California) as part of his grandiose vision of the “Russky Mir,” or “Russian World” ruled over by him. What some people are beginning to realize is that Russia does, in fact, “regret” selling Alaska to the U.S., and under a leader like Putin could very easily be persuaded to start another genocidal war to get it back. After all, Russia absolutely guaranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty, and then annexed Crimea, started and funded “separatist” movements in the Donbas, inved the entire country (or tried to), and has threatened to invade NATO (starting with Poland) and to use nuclear weapons. What’s a little thing like taking back what another country paid cash for?
• Money Derives from Production. Having overvalued its Ruble, Russia is now scrambling to lower the value after discovering that no one wants to buy or deal in a currency that has an artificially high valuation, any more than people will willingly and knowingly pay ten dollars for a two dollar loaf of bread at one store when the store next door is selling the same thing for two dollars a loaf. Of course, the immediate problem is one that Keynes tried to solve by taking a currency off the gold standard and insisting that no standard be used . . . which causes far more problems than it solves. The fact is that “money” is primarily a way of measuring value in an exchange, and thus “money” derives from production, not the other way around as Keynes and so many others believed and believe. Of course, the problem with changing to a currency that is asset-backed and measured in terms of a fixed standard is that politicians are no longer able to control the economy by changing the value of the currency or the quantity of money at will. The amount of money becomes limited to the value of existing goods and services and the present value of future goods and services, not the whim or desire of politicians.
• 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 19 different countries and 26 states, provinces, and territories in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Kenya, Sweden, Canada, and Ireland. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Purpose of Production,” “Vladimir Putin and the New Christianity,” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 19,” “Sticking to Your Guns: Rights and Wrongs,” and “JTW Podcast: Archangel Radio on The Greater Reset.”
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#