While it’s tempting to say that the weekly news items exhibit a depressing sameness, we might also say that this is actually encouraging. Why? Because no one has yet implemented the Economic Democracy Act, so we don’t have to come up with any new solutions:
• Should Elections Matter? Here’s a novel idea: should election results matter? Consider. If a system is properly designed and operated in accordance with sound principles, whether business, educational, mechanical, or political, does it really matter all that much who is guiding the system? Any system should be self-guiding up to a point so that if the people in the system just follow instructions and there are limited disasters (a system should include provision for unexpected contingencies), things will operate according to plan. It’s when the principles change or people try to use a system in a way that it was not intended to operate that problems crop up, and no more so than today when people have changed principles and try to use the system to do what it was not intended to do. Even with the best of intentions this can lead to disaster, as Adam Smith pointed out in his “invisible hand” argument in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776), in which people who don’t intend any good other than their own but work within the system end up doing good not intending to, while those who intend great good but circumvent the system end up doing a great deal of damage. This is exacerbated when the “system” we’re dealing with is human nature and the natural law. When that happens — as it has today — the answer is not to try the wrong thing harder, but to implement the Economic Democracy Act, but nobody seems to be considering that.
|When he's right, he's right|
• Buffett on Bitcoin. We don’t agree with Warren Buffett’s investment strategy or goals, but that doesn’t mean we think he doesn’t know what he is doing, or that he doesn’t understand the way the financial system currently operates. For years he has been warning people against crypto currencies like Bitcoin for the simple reason that they are “financial instruments” with nothing behind them, the ultimate in what Henry Thornton, “the Father of Central Banking,” called “fictitious bills,” i.e., fraudulent, or semi-legal financial instruments that either do not have the stated value or have no value at all. Now Buffett is again warning that Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are an easy way to slide into financial ruin, and we think he’s right. How do many people “invested” in Bitcoin know what it is they’ve invested in? What backs the Bitcoin? What do you get when you present a Bitcoin to the issuer for redemption? What is a Bitcoin worth purely as a Bitcoin? If you can’t answer these questions, then Bitcoin is not a real investment, and is fraudulent money as well. What’s the answer? Why not a monetary reform aglong the lines recommended in the Economic Democracy Act?
• Does Money Really Make Money? With the United States burdened with an incredible $31 trillion — yes, trillion — in debt and rising interest rates, it’s a wonder that people still continue to insist on the long-disproved aphorism that you need money to make money. No, you need to be productive to make money. This is inherent in the whole idea of money as a way of measuring — not creating — value as found in Adam Smith’s first principle of economics (“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production”) and Say’s Law of Markets based on Smith’s first principle (“Production equals income, therefore supply generates its own demand, and demand its own supply”). The whole of politics today seems obsessed with creating money to create value, where what they should be doing is figuring out how to reform the system so that people can create value, whereupon the money will come naturally — if the system is designed properly. One way to do that is to implement the Economic Democracy Act.
|Well . . . yeah . . .|
• Amazon “Loses” $1 Trillion. Question: if you buy something for $100, and the next day the value goes up to $1,000, how much money have you made? Answer: none. You have what is known in accounting as an unrealized gain, and that’s a way of saying you have nothing real. Suppose, however, that the day after the value hits $1,000, the value falls to $500 and you decide to cut your losses and sell? Did you lose $500? No, you gained $400. A lot of people, however, are convinced that they have lost $500 of a gain they never had in the first place. What they’re looking at are phony or non-existent gains and losses and forgetting about the real gains. That is what is happening right now with Amazon, as the markets and pundits are running around wailing that Amazon is the first company in history to “lose” $1 trillion. This is based on the fact that Amazon’s value per share has fallen dramatically. To put this in perspective, Amazon doesn’t lose a cent when the value per share drops, any more than it gains when the value per share rises. (We ignore the financial finagling with options, warrants, buybacks, and other such things.) Further, even the shareholders haven’t lost a cent until and unless thy sell the shares for less than they paid for them . . . and chances are they haven’t. Instead of looking at the rise and fall in the value per share, people should be looking at the income they derive from owning shares instead of buying and selling shares. That is the whole idea behind the Economic Democracy Act.
|You'll have money to burn!|
• Print Money to Stop Inflation! Next to raising interest rates and thus the cost of production to stop inflation — raising the price level to stop raising the price level — printing money to counter the effects of printing money has got to be one of the dumbest economic ideas ever. That, however, is an idea that apparently 63% of Americans are getting behind. Many people are hoping for another round of “stimulus payments” to do a little Keynesian “pump priming” to kickstart the economy . . . which isn’t going to work. Why? We won’t answer that today — the answer should be obvious — but we will note that Dr. Harold Moulton noted back in 1943 in his pamphlet The New Philosophy of Public Debt that pump priming might work once IF other reforms were put in place, but if nothing is done to fix the underlying problem, there will only be continuing rounds of pump priming proposed in a never-ending cycle. And what sort of reforms? We suggest the Economic Democracy Act.
• Leading Bad Insurance Risks. It’s not official, but recent events indicate that the worst insurance risk in the world right now is to be a Russian conscript on the front line, then a mobilized Russian soldier in the second line of defense, and then a regular military behind that. After that, the bad risk list is topped with current and former friends of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, whose friends, both current and former, have a habit of dying under mysterious circumstances. It seems to us that a better insurance risk — and one that might actually decrease the noted bad insurance risks, is capital credit insurance and reinsurance as collateral in a program of expanded capital ownership such as found in the Economic Democracy Act. It’s certainly a better alternative to poverty, racism, government debt, and — you guessed it — war, especially war waged to increase Putin’s personal wealth and power.
|You wouldn't like them when they're angry . . .|
• Putin Needs to Watch His Back. It’s said that in ancient times when fighting the Celts or Gauls (depending on whether you’re a Greek or Roman, respectively), you stood a chance of victory as long as you fought only the men. When the Celtic women went into battle, you knew it was time either to win overwhelmingly or get out of Dodge fast. Similarly, in one of his “Don Camillo” stories, Giovanni Guareschi commented about the different goals of men and women in warfare. Men go into battle to win, while women go in to kill as many of the enemy as possible. No, we’re not saying we agree with either observation or analysis, but a number of Russian wives have announced that they are preparing to go to the front lines and personally pull their men out of the military, and to hell with Putin and his dreams of glory. That’s good, but they should also be pushing for the Economic Democracy Act to empower themselves and disempower Putin.
• More Crypto Bad News. Sam Bankman Fried needs $4 billion to prop up his crypto currency exchange . . . a business that sells a virtual commodity linked to nothing in the real world. For some reason he and others are stunned and amazed to discover that a business dealing in something that doesn’t exist is in financial trouble! Perhaps Fried and others should have read Charles Mackay’s 1841 classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Once they realize that economic and financial activity should relate to something in the real world, they can work to adopt the Economic Democracy Act.
|Upton Sinclair and a lot of meat.|
• Return to the Jungle? In The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s classic muckraking exposé of the meatpacking industry, there was a horrifying picture of how that beefsteak and sausage gets to the table, at least in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Recently, in what seemed like a return to the past chronicled by Sinclair it was found that children are being employed in cleaning meatpacking facilities. Now, it is true especially in today’s economy that all family members may have to contribute to the family economically, but there are ways and ways of doing that. The way we recommend is not necessarily to contribute by selling their labor, but by being capital owners, which anyone, even children, can do without undue effort and without violating rights. In fact, it enhances the exercise of rights and respect for human dignity. This is the whole point of the Economic Democracy Act.
• Greater Reset “Book Trailers”. We have produced two ninety-second “Book Trailers” for distribution (by whoever wants to distribute them), essentially a minute and a half commercials for The Greater Reset. There are two versions of the videos, one for “general audiences” and the other for “Catholic audiences”. Take your pick.
• 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.
• 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 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, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, India, and Spain. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Grant Takes Command,” “Inequality is the Root of All Social Evil,” “Corporatism Versus Distributism,” “The Purpose of Production,” and “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 41.”
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.