Today we present the first half of our annual news roundup. Someone suggested that we forgo it this year in favor of something much shorter and confined to one week, but we already had this written, so here goes. In any event, the important thing is that we move forward to adopt the Economic Democracy Act, but we’re getting there:
• EDA Legislation. Marc Plotkin is working on drafting the text of the EDA, and tomorrow night will be taking a course on legislative drafting, hopefully picking up some tips. He will start making significant changes based on input from the class but can’t think of any needed assistance at this time. The real challenge is knowing what to leave out.
• Connecticut Chapter. Russell Williams reported that the Connecticut chapter is still getting the fundamentals in place. They decided to create their own 501(c)(3), putting the organization together. The next step is to put together the for-profit CLDC, and use resources in community, UC law school, local government, etc. At present they are mostly doing outreach and trying to get the community and students engaged.
• Outreach in Guatemala. Joe Recinos said he is currently looking at getting to people in Guatemala regarding agrarian reform, such as La Perla, and also Costa Rica and the solidarity movement, Solidarismo Costarricense, as well as some people in Argentina.
• Distributed Autonomous Organization. Dave Hamill said that the Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO), uses different technologies that allow everyone to read it and discuss it at the same time. He want to use it to collect money to set up a cryptocurrency. Dawn Brohawn said we’re not interested in setting up a cryptocurrency, but in reforming central and commercial banking. We might want to collect money to do an econometric model, possibly set up a game to gather data and make projections. Michael D. Greaney reported that there is a rumor in the accounting profession that hackers are getting close to being able to crack the blockchain technology.
• Robert Crane, RIP. Norman Kurland gave an Appreciation of Bob Crane. He was an unusual person who made the victory of the Presidential Task Force possible, got the legislation for the Presidential Task Force, then helped get the follow up ESOP legislation. Knew about Kelso before Norman Kurland. He was an advisor to Nixon, put some probable KGB Russians in touch with Norman Kurland. The Russians and may have been the first to use “third way” in connection with our paradigm. He was viewed as a top-notch scholar.
• 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.
• Rethinking Retirement (Again). The so-called “gig economy” is taking its toll on workers as people realize how hard it is to save out of current income for future consumption, a.k.a., “retirement.” The problem, of course, is that in the “gig economy” there is no retirement. You must keep working because all most people have is Social Security, which is not enough to live on. Of course, the Economic Democracy Act could conceivably go a long way toward making both the gig economy and retirement from it an attractive option, as well as working because you want to do something, not because you have to do something.
• Even More About Retirement. And — surprise, surprise — we’re being told yet again that the “Baby Boomers” haven’t saved enough for retirement. Yet another job for the Economic Democracy Act.
• Missouri Legislation. On Wednesday morning in Jefferson City, Missouri, Eugene Gordon of the Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice testified in support of a state senate bill to implement Citizens Land Development Cooperatives in Saint Louis that could serve as a model for the rest of the state and anywhere else in the world. Despite some administrative and technical glitches, Gene was able to present a brief picture of the Just Third Way paradigm.
• Missouri Senate Bill 772. SB 772 on using expanded ownership vehicles designed in conformity with the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism was voted “Do Pass” out of committee earlier this week. What that means is that Senator Karla May and her team were able to galvanize support from committee members in order to get the bill voted out of committee. The next step is for the bill to be reported to the floor. Once it is reported to the floor, then there can be a floor debate to try to pass it out of the Senate and send it to the House. Eugene Gordon founder of Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice testified in favor of the bill, making two difficult trips to Jefferson City, Missouri (the state capital) to do so.
• Federal Reserve Presentation. A core group of CESJ gave a presentation to some community development people at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The presentation was well received, and CESJ may be called back to explain the admittedly brief explanations in more depth.
• Andrew Yang. Andrew Yang gave an event that Dawn Brohawn and Norman Kurland listened in. He is for a UBI, ranked choice voting, etc., and seems to be searching. We sent him an email, mentioned we were friends of Rob Ritchie. We were then contacted by Matt Shinners, who said he would like to have a discussion before setting up a meeting. We gave him a summary of the Just Third Way. Matt seemed very interested. He had never heard of the Just Third Way before. He will be returning from Puerto Rico on February 28. He asked about cryptocurrency and if it is real money. We said not really in our opinion, and asked him for his questions.
Heart of America Project. Gene Gordon has been reaching out to Aldermen, and testified on the legislation at the capital of Missouri, Jefferson City. Senator May introduced two pieces of legislation in support of the Just Third Way.
• The Greater Reset on Fireside Chat. No, it’s not FDR. Join Michael D. Greaney, CESJ’s Director of Research, Sunday, February 6, 2022, at 7:00 pm Eastern Time (USA) on Fireside Chat, the livestream program of the Catholic Parish of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Anthony of Padua in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. Hosts Father Francis de Rosa and Father Eric Shafer will be conversing with Michael about his upcoming book, The Greater Reset, co-authored with Dawn K. Brohawn, Director of Communications of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ), to be released March 15, 2022, and currently available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and TAN Books. Facebook viewers will be able to post comments and questions during the livestream. The show can be accessed at www.saintselizabethandanthony.com. Click on the button that says “READ” (it won’t say “WATCH” until after the broadcast). You can also click on the FaceBook tab at the top of the page.
• Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and the Just Third Way. Rick Osbourne and Dev Rammireddy are writing a white paper on how a DAO, or “Decentralized Autonomous Organization,” might be used to advance the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. One of the possibilities being explored is the development of an online game as a way to demonstrate how the Just Third Way could work in an economy, a sort of econometric model. One possibility being discussed is an “anti-monopoly game,” the idea to take the situation found in the popular board game, Monopoly, and correct the flaws so that everyone can own without taking advantage of anyone else. Interestingly, the original version of Monopoly was called “the Landlord Game,” and it was developed by followers of the agrarian socialist Henry George to demonstrate the evils of private ownership of land, railroads, and utilities. What many people don’t know is that the Landlord Game had two parts, the first part in which ownership became concentrated, and the second part that turned everything socialist. The second part was boring, so Parker Brothers only bought the rights to the first part. What Rick and Dev want to do is come up with a “second part” that is actually interesting and not socialist.
• Heart of America Project. Gene Gordon sent some info to Byron Allen. He mentioned he was watching the Black News Channel, and Ayesha Mills talked about advancing technology and automation, and how raising wages won’t help. She didn’t mention worker ownership, just partnership, or that labor unions should become ownership unions.
• Foreign Investor “Green Card” Program. The United States is thinking of reopening a program that grants people green cards if they bring investment capital to the country. This is rather silly and even insulting, as it effectively says you can buy your way into the U.S. Not that we think borders shouldn’t be completely open, but the idea that residence leading to possible citizenship can be purchased is shameful and completely unnecessary, especially if we were to enact the Economic Democracy Act.
• Labor Shortage and Inflation. Charles Goodhart, formerly with the Bank of England, has said that because the labor shortage due to the pandemic, inflation is here to stay. This is pure Keynesianism, that inflation comes after full employment has been reached. Of course, if Keynesian economic theory were to be discarded (as it should have been, decades ago), and — you guessed it — the Economic Democracy Act passed in any country, you could kiss both inflation and deflation goodbye, along with the whole idea of full employment, job creation, wage slavery, and a lot of other discredited concepts.
• The Greater Reset. We are pleased to announce the release of a new book by members of CESJ’s core group, The Greater Reset: Reclaiming Personal Sovereignty Under Natural Law. The book 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 actually 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.
• Global Harmony Association. On Monday, the CESJ board will consider a resolution to withdraw from any affiliation with or relation to the Global Harmony Association, a group supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and to disavow the use of any of CESJ’s writings or other publications, and the use of CESJ’s name or that of any member of CESJ by the GHA.
• Zelenskyy, Reagan, and John Paul II. President Zelenskyy of Ukraine appears to have a great deal of respect, even admiration, for U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Pope St. John Paul II. Perhaps providentially, both Reagan and John Paul II were strong supporters of the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism, although not by that name. Both Reagan and John Paul II received CESJ’s report of the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice. John Paul II is believed to have recommended the program to visiting heads of state, while Reagan said during his speech to the Task Force, “I’ve long believed one of the mainsprings of our own liberty has been the widespread ownership of property among our people and the expectation that anyone’s child, even from the humblest of families, could grow up to own a business or corporation.” If Zelenskyy wants to know what he could do for Ukraine and the world even before Putin has been driven from Ukraine, he could not do better than adopt the Economic Democracy Act. Can you get word to Zelenskyy? He’s been too busy to return our phone calls. . . .
• Terry and Jesse Show. On March 24, 2024, Dawn Brohawn, CESJ’s Director of Communications and Michael D. Greaney, CESJ’s Director of Research, appeared on the “Terry and Jesse Show,” a Catholic religious themed podcast to promote their new book, The Greater Reset: Reclaiming Personal Sovereignty Under Natural Law. The host, Jesse Romero (Terry Barber was absent that day) seemed particularly impressed that a book from a Catholic publisher was co-authored by a non-Christian and yet presents a comprehensive view of “Catholic” social teaching in a way that appeals to all faiths and philosophies. Jesse even remarked at one point that Dawn, a non-Christian, understands Catholic social teaching much better than most Catholics.
• Law and Economics. It turns out that President Zelenskyy has a law degree from the Kryvyi Rih Institute of Economics, which is similar to the education of CESJ’s president Norman G. Kurland, who went through the University of Chicago’s law and economics program. Zelenskyy thus should have the necessary background to understand the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism and realize it’s potential both for bringing Ukraine out of the current war as expeditiously as possible, but also for winning the peace and bring justice not only to Ukraine, but to Russia and the rest of the world to forestall future aggressions by any country.
• Reparations. As we said in “A Suggestion for Zelenskyy,” one form of reparation — after using Putin’s and his buddies’ cash to compensate victims — could be to implement the Economic Democracy Act. This would benefit Ukraine most of all by freeing the country from all reliance on foreign financing, build direct ownership of the country into the people of the country, and rebuild the country in a remarkably short period of time. Zelenskyy has already announced a program in which the Ukrainian government plans to compensate the victims for damage to real estate, but we think that’s unrealistic. It doesn’t have to be a direct program, but just the necessary legislation for the EDA. Plus, it doesn’t do anything to change the power structure in Russia that was a significant contributor to the war. It would be a good idea to have an EDA for Russia as well — on condition that all perpetrators of war crimes, from Putin on down, be brought to trial before an international tribunal.
• Socialist Capitalism. An interesting article appeared recently opining that what would really bring Putin down was the sudden cutting off the Russian people from the benefits of imported “free market capitalism.” Of course, we define “capitalism” as “concentrated private ownership of capital” and “free market” as one in which (among the other things) everyone has access to the opportunity and means to be both a consumer as well as a producer with both labor and capital — which “capitalism” precludes, making it anything but a free market. Anyway, after filtering out the confusion between free markets and capitalism, the article does have a valid point that the Russian economy has never really transitioned from the Soviet economy. It’s still a top-down model, so that the current efforts to replace western companies with native enterprises might be doomed to fail from the start. What is needed in Russia as well as other places is the Economic Democracy Act.
• The Biggest Thief in History Leading a Nation of Thieves. In semi-corroboration of our earlier statements concerning the possibility of Putin being the greatest thief in human history, an article recently appeared reporting on the source of funding for Putin’s war chest . . . much of which was diverted back into Putin’s pocket, thereby essentially stealing from himself for a double theft. A big complaint in the Russian military (aside from being treated like dirt and used as cannon fodder), is that most of the money earmarked for the military was siphoned off by Putin and his friends, which seems to be a perennial problem in Russia, as this article from 2011 claims. The Russians steal from each other as readily as they steal from other countries.
• What About Fusion? One of Putin’s most powerful weapons against Ukraine is its position as supplier of fossil fuels to the European Union. By threatening to cut off the flow of oil as well as inflict “dire consequences” on anyone who incites his considerable ire, Putin hopes to stop the flow of weapons into Ukraine (which he could do much easier by stopping his own flow of weapons into that country) and halt the expansion of NATO . . . which was not even a realistic issue until Putin’s goosestepping into Ukraine made it imperative. The fact remains, however, that the world needs fuel, and Russia is a big supplier of fossil fuels, using the proceeds to finance his war machine. The obvious answer, then, is to shift away from fossil fuels while we still can, and make an all-out effort to get fusion power commercially viable, along with the various hydrogen powered systems. Fusion power should be the macro system for the grid, with micro hydrogen systems for backup and use in isolated areas or small systems, such as automobiles.
• Ukraine’s “Secret Weapon”. It’s a bit of hyperbole, for it’s hardly secret and it’s not, strictly speaking, a weapon, but the Ukrainian rail system has proved key to maintaining Ukraine’s war effort. Putin and the Russian invaders may have missed the significance of Ukraine having the largest rail system in Europe. Yes, the Russians have targeted a few railway stations, but little has been done to hit the rails themselves — and that’s what’s important. It’s also easier to repair track than to rebuild a highway and keep supply lines moving. That’s why in the U.S. Civil War in his “March to the Sea,” Union General Sherman made a special point of tearing up tracks and rendering the rails unusable, by, e.g., heating the rails and wrapping them around trees in “Sherman’s Bow Ties” to prevent the tracks from being repaired with the Confederacy’s minimal manufacturing capacity. Ukrainian authorities might want to consider two things once the Russians have been driven out of Ukraine. One, shift over from the rail gauge they’re using now, inherited from the Soviet Union and incompatible with the U.S./European gauge of 1,435 mm/4 feet 8½ inches (the standard from Roman chariots, if you can believe it). With so much laid track, and thus alternate routes available, this could be done over time without too much trouble and without having to replace the entire system at one time. This would facilitate trade after the war, as cargo transported by rail wouldn’t have to be transshipped. It would also mean that Russia couldn’t use the system in the event of another invasion. Then, if the Ukrainian rail system is privatized in a way that makes every Ukrainian an owner of the system, expanding what was proposed for Conrail in the U.S. from just workers to every citizen, it would greatly facilitate the rebuilding that will be necessary in a way that benefits all citizens, not just the government or already wealthy people or foreign investors.
• Dr. Samuel Angelo Nigro, RIP. It is with deep sadness that we report the death of long-time CESJ friend and supporter, Dr. Sam Nigro of Cleveland, Ohio, on April 22, 2022 a few weeks after his 85th birthday. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his friends and family. Sam was a long-time supporter of the ideas of the Just Third Way and was always quick to give us his encouragement and share the ideas with others in his network. Having friends in Ukraine, Sam has for many years forwarded CESJ material to that country, with special urgency during the current war. A fellow graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Sam shared with this writer copies of his extensive and unique collection of Notre Dame memorabilia, considering the Just Third Way completely in tune with “the Spirit of Notre Dame.” Sam’s uncle, the legendary D.M. “Doc” Nigro, played football with Knute Rockne, and the Nigro and Rockne families have remained friends.
ª Dev Rammireddy Appointment to Board of Directors. Dev has consistently been taking part in the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) project for CESJ and exploring ways of how to reach out to young people. He wants to reach out to a specific audience to help CESJ continue. He wants to be part of the Board and just turned 18, so there are no legal problems in any states with his board membership.
Justice University Sessions. The next Justice University session began Saturday, June 11. The syllabus is currently in preparation and will include the required readings and study questions. The curriculum will follow what was done in the previous two sessions, with some adjustments to optimize efficiency and clarity. The sessions will be recorded, and links provided to participants for review, but not for broadcast. As the sessions become more polished, the recordings can be posted and broadcast for the public.
• Heart of America Project. Gene Gordon has been working as closely as possible with politicians and others in Missouri to advance the Just Third Way and get a resolution in support of a Just Third Way project to revive the city of Saint Louis economically for the benefit of all its people and provide a model for the rest of the country. Not being a member of the inner circle of politicians, Gene is not usually aware of the behind-the-scenes politicking going on, but can usually speculate intelligently on what is happening. He is not able, therefore, at this time to give a good idea of the actual progress of a Missouri Senate Bill in support of the Just Third Way, but it seems to be advancing.
• Financing the Rebuilding. It’s an interesting approach, but it’s not us. After consulting with his cabinet, President Zelenskyy announced the formation of a fundraising program to raise the money to rebuild Ukraine. Kudos is due Zelenskyy for thinking ahead, and the funds will be needed, but they won’t cover all the damage — nor should they. As we’ve stated a number of times already, the best bet for Ukraine is to implement the Economic Democracy Act as soon as possible. This relies not on existing cash to finance feasible new capital, but on self-liquidating assets, i.e., assets that pay for themselves out of their own future profits. New money can be created by the banking system in non-inflationary ways that turn everyone into an owner of the new capital, thereby giving everyone a concreate stake in economic growth and a stable political order.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.”
• Another Fusion Power Breakthrough? Alternative energy sources have taken on a new urgency with Putin’s War in Ukraine and the Russian dictator’s weaponization of food and energy. That is why the rapid development and implementation of fusion power is so critical, not merely to wean the world off fossil fuels, but to prevent any person or country from being held hostage by someone else’s control over the necessities of life. Fusion power is still a few years (or decades) away, but it seems that there is a fission process that is much safer by several orders of magnitude than the more or less standard large-scale reactors in use throughout the world today. The U.S. Navy has used small-scale, but very powerful nuclear reactors ito power its submarines with an amazing safety record, and some experts think such small-scale reactors can be readily adapted to civilian use. And how to finance small scale reactors on a large scale? Why not the Economic Democracy Act?
• Financing the Rebuilding of Ukraine. After estimating that rebuilding Ukraine will cost upwards of half a trillion Euros (we think it’s going to be a lot more than that), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it is preparing to raise additional funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine after Russia's invasion, after pledging to spend 1 billion euros in the country in 2022. Raising money to rebuild Ukraine after Russian dictator Putin’s thugs have been driven out of the country is laudable — but it isn’t necessary and could actually do more harm than good. There should be more emphasis on raising money for immediate relief needs and the military effort, for the cost of rebuilding can be covered by the financial feasibility of the rebuilding itself if it is done in a way that turns every Ukrainian into an owner of the “new” Ukraine through the Economic Democracy Act.
• Why Does a Country Need to “Attract Investment”? We suppose there are a number of good reasons — more or less — why a country would adopt English as a language for business (although what’s the matter with Latin? Did you know that almost all our financial terms are Latin in origin? Capital comes from caput, the head of a cow, cattle being the most widespread form of wealth in the ancient world; pecuniary comes from pecus, an archaic Latin word for cattle; debit = debere; credit = creditare; money = monetas; and so on’ even auditor is taken direct from Latin, the listener, audire, to hear), as Ukraine is considering, but “attracting investment” is not a valid one. In fact, “attracting investment” is one of the dumbest reasons for doing anything, if by “investment” we mean “financing.” Acquiring productive technology is quite another matter, but even there, if a country can’t put it into production and pay for it within a reasonable period of time, it should not do so, any more than a single individual or a company invest in something that doesn’t pay for itself out of its own future profits. As described in the Economic Democracy Act, anything that is financially feasible can be self-financing within a country, and foreign investment — in the sense of financial capital is completely unnecessary, even a danger to a country’s sovereignty, and that’s something Ukraine doesn’t need right now. Or ever.
• Pay Gap Increases. One of the perils of being locked into the wage system is that when the vast majority of workers own no capital, they are powerless against those who own or — increasingly these days — control property. As Benjamin Watkins Leigh noted more than two centuries ago, power and property cannot be separated for long. When push comes to shove, either owners (or those who control the owners) will take over power, or those in power will take over property. We should therefore not be surprised when workers, who have neither power nor property except what those with power and property choose to give them are finding that the pay gap between propertyless workers and CEOs who control property is increasing exponentially. Is the answer to limit the size of the gap by law? Hardly . . . legislators want to get those cushy jobs in the private sector when they’re out of politics. The real answer is to empower all citizens, not just workers, with ownership of capital, and for that we need the Economic Democracy Act.
• Boris Johnson and the Economy. You can like what a fellow is doing in one area without liking him or the other things he does. We can, for example, admire Hitler and Putin for being kind to dogs, while despising both of them as sociopathic tyrants. Boris Johnson, of course, is not in their class, and we can admire his stand on Ukraine, while at the same time thinking he’s dead wrong on a number of things — such as his belief that any economic instability from the war in Ukraine will abate over time. No, Mr. Johnson, it’s going to get worse, much worse, until the world goes with the Economic Democracy Act and weans itself off of fossil fuels.
• The Greater Reset Imprimatur. We have received notice that our book, The Greater Reset: Reclaiming Personal Sovereignty Under Natural Law, published by TAN Books, a Catholic publisher, has been granted the “imprimatur.” The imprimatur, which means “let it be printed,” is a declaration that a book has been examined and is free of doctrinal and moral error. It is NOT an endorsement, nor does it indicate that the bishop granting it even agrees with what is said . . . but when the Spanish Inquisition comes bursting in the door, we can prove that the book is not heretical in thought, word, or deed . . . of course that bit about “fanatical devotion to the pope” might cause a bit of concern for an interfaith group, but since the book isn’t about doctrine but natural law, we’ll sneak by. Cardinal Fang won’t have to put us in comfy chairs.
• Paying for Putin’s War. There is growing sentiment — or an increasingly outraged sense of justice — that Ukraine should not have to pay for Putin’s War. This is a legitimate demand . . . but with a few pitfalls. First, while every Russian who supports Putin or acquiesces in his dictatorship is in part responsible for the war, there are many who have protested and have suffered for it. Any indemnity or reparations paid by Russia, however, will fall upon all the Russian people, as the one man most responsible, Putin, doesn’t have enough wealth to pay for all the damage that has been done, even though he is reportedly the biggest thief and richest man in human history. The last attempt to make a country or group of countries pay the entire cost of a war, World War I, didn’t go quite as planned, and was viewed as patently unjust even by some receiving reparations. More than any other single thing, the perceived injustice of the reparations led to the rise of Hitler, to say nothing of kick-starting the hyperinflation of the 1920s. Two considerations, therefore, are of paramount importance in this regard. One, the reparations must not be regarded as inherently unjust, and two, they must be such that they can actually be paid without inflicting undue harm on Russia. That is why the Economic Democracy Act, which would give a way for Ukraine to finance rebuilding the country, is also a good, even essential idea for Russia. First, it would enable Russia to make reasonable reparation. It might take a century, given the scale of damage inflicted, but it could be done without harming the Russian economy. More important, it would spread out power, both economic and political, making it much more difficult for someone like Putin — or someone worse, if possible — to seize power.
• Will the U.S. Economy Collapse? Quick answer — yes . . . if the assumptions that govern the current ramshackle Keynesian mess remain unchanged. The fact is that if the current practices of the government and the capital markets are not reformed by adopting the Economic Democracy Act, the United States and the world are looking at an economic catastrophe of cosmic proportions. To be blunt, governments can’t keep on spending money they don’t have like drunken sailors on leave, producers can’t keep producing what consumers can no longer afford, and the accumulation of massive wealth just for the sake of the accumulation itself must stop.
• Keynes and Consumer Credit. As we hinted in the item immediately above, and contrary to the principles (such as they are) of Keynesian economics, governments can’t keep on spending without taxing, and consumers can’t keep on consuming without producing. Something is going to have to give . . . and it may be starting now with the anticipated rise in interest rates on consumer credit cards. The weakness of the Keynesian system is no more evident than in the fact that it not only fails to build productive capacity into most people, it actually discourages it by forcing them into the wage and welfare system, which makes it advantageous for owners of capital to decrease the number of workers and encourages what Jean-Baptiste Say called “barren consumptions,” i.e., consuming without producing. The simple fact is that government spending for World War II kept the Keynesian system functioning from the 1940s to the 1960s, the widespread use of consumer credit cards kept it going from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, massive spending for social welfare kept it going from the 1980s to the 2010s, while stock market speculation has kept things going until now . . . and all at an incredible cost in mountains of unrepayable government debt that amounts to tens of trillions of dollars in the U.S. alone. The only viable solution is the Economic Democracy Act which would turn every consumer into a producer and generate the tax revenues to liquidate otherwise unrepayable government debt in as little as a century, if not sooner.
• Paying for Putin’s War. While Putin may be having his “revenge” on the west by kicking off a recession, he is only doing it at an incredibly high cost in the lives, fortunes, and everything else of his own country. Russia, in fact, is facing the worst economic downturn since the fall of the Soviet Union, and all to gratify Putin’s twisted need for . . . something, nobody knows exactly what. Of course, all this would be completely moot if Russians would have stayed home where they belong and instituted the Economic Democracy Act, but that might be asking a little much of a country that would let a crazed dictator take charge.
• New Marshall Plan for Ukraine? Why not a better than Marshall Plan for Ukraine? In a show of solidarity against aggression (of which they have first-hand knowledge), Taiwan is offering a new “Marshall Plan” to help rebuild parts of Ukraine. This is laudable in the extreme, and shows China that Taiwan doesn’t give in to bullies anywhere, but it would be much better to do the same thing a little differently, i.e., with the Economic Democracy Act. There is no need to allocate scarce financial resources, as under the EDA the financing for any feasible project is not an issue, as money is created as needed, when needed, without any guesses.
• 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.
• 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 email@example.com 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 17 different countries and 31 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, Ireland, Canada, and the Philippines. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” “War and Depression,” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 48,” “The End of Democracy” and “Financial Disaster.”