Although the news each week seems depressingly the same, there are hopeful signs. One is the increasingly desperate nature of Russian propaganda (Ukraine using mutant soldiers and green energy is gay? Seriously?), and the utter stupidity of wasting munitions on civilian targets when their supply lines are getting plastered by HIMARS after the Russians claim to have destroyed them (see “desperate Russian propaganda,” above). The other very positive sign is that it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Economic Democracy Act is rapidly becoming the only game in town:
• Ukrainian Debt Rescheduling. President Zelenskyy has requested a moratorium on debt service payments for two years so that Ukraine can use all available resources to repel Putin’s invasion. This is a good move but doesn’t go far enough. The underlying assumption is that there is a limited amount of financial resources available, and they can be used only for one thing at a time; nothing can both “be” and “not be” at the same time under the same conditions, you can buy either guns or butter, as the economics textbooks say. Fortunately, however, the economics texts are wrong, or at least not completely right. Yes, when we’re talking about consumption — and war is “consumption” — financial resources are limited. You can’t consume what hasn’t been produced, nor can you spend money that doesn’t exist. If you understand Keynesian economics, you realize that what Keynes really talked about (even if he didn’t realize it himself) was not creating wealth by printing money but changing and shifting around purchasing power. If a loaf of bread costs a dollar and the government doubles the amount of money in circulation and nothing else, you don’t magically have two loaves of bread, you have one loaf that now costs two dollars. It's different if you are talking about investment, i.e., for something that is expected to produce instead of to consume. Then you can create money as needed by making promises to pay for the new capital out of future profits — future savings instead of past savings. Using future savings to finance economic growth and production, and past savings to pay for the war, Zelenskyy will be in a much better position to get more money to maintain the war effort. First, lenders will be more comfortable if Ukraine has a plan to become profitable and repay them, and the domestic tax base will be restored that much faster, lessening the need to borrow from foreign sources. There is even a plan available for this, the Economic Democracy Act.
|La Passagiatta à la Putin
• Russia’s Self-Defeating Energy Strategy. Europe is facing a very hard winter with the threat of the loss of Russian oil and gas. Energy prices are up, and Russia is using enhanced revenues to keep both its economy and its war machine running. In the short run, it seems as if Russia is sitting in the catbird seat. Things may not be all that rosy for Russia, however, even in the short term, as this article points out. Even in conventional economic terms, Russia is doing a very foolish thing: forcing customers to find alternative sources of supply and substitutes for their product. Then there is the problem of what is going to happen once the war is over and Russia pushed back into splendid isolation (or starts to disintegrate). Companies that Putin screwed and countries that he tried to blackmail are hardly likely to want to do business in the future. Russia may find itself forced to adopt the Economic Democracy Act just for sheer survival . . . which they won’t do as long as Putin is in power.
|Putin may be doing us a favor
• Putin’s War Can Accelerate Green Energy Shift. A recent study claims that Russia’s policy of using energy as a weapon of war is (again) counterproductive. Putin has evidently not taken into account the fact that some people just don’t like to be dictated to, and that human inventiveness can achieve some astounding results. “Necessity is the mother of invention” is an aphorism for a good reason — people can almost always find a way around a difficulty if they put their minds to it. By forcing people to find alternatives to Russia’s chief exports, Putin is cutting his own throat while benefitting those he regards as his enemies (which he created himself). Putin may not be aware the Diesel invented his engine to run on vegetable oil because Germany has no significant sources of petroleum. During World War II, German scientists were in the forefront of developing artificial rubber and other “ersatx” products, some of which were in some ways better than what they replaced. Of course, financing this could be a problem, but even that can easily be solved with the Economic Democracy Act.
|Putin technology fix
• Colossal Challenges. Evidently it depends on what day of the week it is whaat line comes out of the Kremlin. One day it’s an announcement that sanctions are having no effect whatsoever, the next day we learn that Russia is much better off without all those inferior foreign products, the day after that we’re told that if sanctions aren’t lifted the world faces “unimaginable consequences” for thwarting Putin, and yet another day that Russia faces “colossal challenges” as it struggles to make up for lack of access to advanced foreign technology. Of course, none of this would be an issue if the Russians would just go home and contrate on rebuilding their own economy (and self-respect) first by getting rid of Putin and then by adopting the Economic Democracy Act
• Solar for Balconies. Another kick in the teeth for Putin’s weaponization of food and energy is the invention by a Ukrainian woman of solar panels that can be installed on a balcony, and Europeans love their balconies. We know that Germans are going full throttle on this, as a friend there just informed us that she is installing them. Of course, paying for them is another matter, but even that could be done as part of in the Economic Democracy Act.
|Wrong answer to Siberia!
• Russia “Corrects” Ukrainian Education. Not only is Russia kidnapping countless children (those they aren’t killing, anyway), they are now beginning a program to turn Ukrainian children into good Russians by improving history, as George Orwell put it in 1984. Not that Academia in the rest of the world is in outstandingly good shape, but, just as Russia’s propaganda machine would make Joseph Goebbels blush with shame, and their battle tactics are more than a few centuries out of date, the crudeness of the Russian indoctrination program would be ludicrous if it wasn’t so tragic. Misleading children is considered a big “no-no” in the Christianity Putin claims to be defending. Jesus said something to the effect that for doing what Putin is doing he should have a millstone tied around his neck and be thrown into the sea (that Jesus guy could get a little bloodthirsty at times, it seems). Of course, a program like “Justice University” would be out of the question for Putin, as it is directed at teaching funadmaental precepts about, well, justice.
|No wonder the Russians are scared
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Soldiers? Or has Putin been reading too many comic books? Russia claims they are losing (except when they’re winning) because Ukraine is breeding mutant soldiers in U.S. supplied biolabs. If we didn’t know better, we’d be tempted to say that Russia is growing increasingly desperate as they lose a war that they started. On the plus side, we’ve had this earworm going through our heads ever since we saw the first of the articles about this.
|See? Putin warned you!
• Solar Power is Gay. If Ukraine’s use of mutant soldiers (above) doesn’t get you outraged and goosestepping to Putin’s tune, then Der Führer’s declaration that green energy is gay should alarm you. Apparently the Gay Menace™ is everywhere, so Ukrainian children must be indoctrinated in Putinspeak, mutant soldiers must be eliminated, and now we must use Russian fossil fuels to put hair on our chests and do manly things like invade other countries in unprovoked wars of conquest. Or we could empower ordinary people with the Economic Democracy Act and let them decide for themselves . . .
|Pulling together for Putin
• Russia Will Restore Everything. . . . as long as it can own everything. Putin told school children that it will take years and years to rebuild everything that Russia has destroyed in the Donbas, but that Russia will help. We just hope that Russia’s definition of “help” isn’t similar to their definition of “liberation” or the new name for McDonalds: “Tasty . . . or Else.” Of course, the process could be speeded up and done better and more efficiently with the Economic Democracy Act . . . or if Russia hadn’t started its campaign of genocide in the first place.
• Putin’s Last Chance. Putin is betting that time is on his side, and if he can blackmail Europe by threatening to cut off supplies of Russian oil and gas, the West will capitulate and let him take over Ukraine. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Europe will not give in, will accelerate the shift to alternative energy, and isolate Russia once it has lost the war, which it is well on its way to doing.
• 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 23 different countries and 28 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, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Breakthrough for Democracy in St. Louis,” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 26,” “Social Justice IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “JTW Podcast: Unnecessary Jobs,” and “A Question of Jurisprudence.”
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 and intemperate language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.#30#