The New Year is starting off with a bang . . . if by “bang” we mean the same thing, only on a different day. Frankly, it is becoming more evident every day that only the Economic Democracy Act has any hope of being able to lay the foundation for resolving the problems:
• Layoffs Sweeping America . . . Surprise! (Not). What do you get when producers are providing more goods and services than people can consume? In today’s whacked-out Keynesian universe, you get layoffs and the government prints money to keep the economy going, piling up debt that cannot be repaid because ordinary taxpayers aren’t earning money, and producers can’t be taed because they allegedly need their profits to invest in new capital that presumably creates jobs. That is what is currently happening as companies are laying off workers just as “strong” employment figures are released. The idea, of course, is that in the Keynesian universe the more wealth you can pile up unconsumed the more capital you can finance and the more jobs you create. In reality, the more wealth you pile up, the more capital you can finance . . . and the more jobs and consumption power you destroy, thereby eliminating the need for more new capital in the first place! The obvious solution, as Louis Kelso pointed out more than half a century ago, is for as many people as possible to own capital to sustain the mass consumption power, using the income from capital for consumption and financing new capital out of future increases in production, not past decreases in consumption. This is the idea behind the Economic Democracy Act.
• Crypto “Investments” Tanked in 2022. Much to the astonishment of people who “invested” in crypto currencies, something that has nothing behind it saw a sudden plunge in value in 2022. People are baffled as to how something that has no value of its own can lose so much value. Of course, if they understood some basic facts about money, banking, credit and finance, they’d adopt the Economic Democracy Act, but that would actually make sense.
|Medieval Trade Fair|
• A Different Crypto Theory. When we first heard about crypto currency, we thought it was a great idea . . . but it turned out we had the wrong idea! We thought the Bitcoin and other crypto currencies were privately issued contracts denominated in something that has a relatively stable value over time. We wasted a lot of time trying to find out what the Bitcoin standard was before we realized that there is no standard. Our original thought is still a good one, however. I businesses and people wanted a uniform and stable standard of value to use to measure economic transactions, it would only be necessary to reach an agreement among all participants that they would use a specific thing to measure values among all transactions in the group. This is what happened for trade fairs in the Middle Ages, when all the merchants and customers would agree that all transactions during the fair would use specific standards for weights and measures. One fair was so important that even beyond the fair contracts would be written using those standards, the fair at the French city of Troyes, which is how “Troy weight” became used as the standard in many places down to the present day. It is also why the Economic Democracy Act would enjoin monetary and tax reforms that shifts from the present Keynesian unstable monetary system backed with government debt to one based on a fixed standard and backed with private sector hard assets.
• Financial Forecast Follies. It is hardly surprising that financial and economic projections for the coming year are all over the map. This is because very few of the experts are even fully aware of the fundamental difference between the stock market and the economy. While a stock market is a necessary adjunct to a modern economy, it is still only an adjunct . . . which is why it is called “the secondary market.” The primary market is one in which marketable goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed. That is, in fact, the definition of economics: the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of marketable goods and services. As Adam Smith said nearly a quarter of a millennium ago in The Wealth of Nations as his first principle of economics, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.” If people want a stable economy, they need to restore Say’s Law of Markets that is based on Smith’s principle, linking production and consumption together, and reintegrating the stock market back into the real economy as a necessary but secondary institution. This can be done with the Economic Democracy Act.
|PUTIN LOSES SHIRT IN UKRAINE, FLIES FROM RUSSIA|
• Stupid Putin Tricks. What is the proper course of action when your soldiers are being sent into battle with substandard and even inoperable equipment, inadequate supplies, and virtually no training, and you’ve used up your strategic missile stocks, the dead are piling up, and the economy is tanking? Do you use your resources to plug the gaps in your current efforts? Not if you’re Putin. Instead, you threaten to start a way with other countries! As the joke Zelenskyy told David Letterman has it, Russia is fighting NATO (or so Russia claims), and has lost around 110,000 soldiers dead in battle, missile stocks are depleted, thousands of units of equipment have been destroyed, the economy is in ruins, and so on . . . and NATO hasn’t even arrived yet. Putin’s response? Provoke NATO in the hope of triggering an attack! Yee-haw! Things aren’t going badly enough, so make them even worse by sending a heavily armed frigate with what is desperately needed by his own troops on the front line into the Atlantic in a show of force against NATO! No wonder Trump called Putin a genius! Then a past Russian president is calling for positioning missiles near Washington, DC. No provocation there . . .
|Putin can't bear it . . .|
• Economic(al) Warfare. One of the things that has surprised the world — the Russians most of all — is the way the Ukrainians have waged their defense against what can charitably be described as an incompetent Russian war machine. The Ukrainians, for example, have managed to digitize their military at a very low cost in a matter of months, something that cost the United States billions of dollars over many years. Of course, the big difference is that the U.S. had to figure out how to do it, and the Ukrainians just had to do it, but it’s still an astonishing achievement, especially considering the fact that the Russians have been trying to modernize their military for decades and are still using what amounts to techniques that didn’t work all that well in the sixteenth century. . . .
• Ukraine Economy Falls. Again, much to the surprise of the experts, the Ukrainian economy has taken a nosedive because of the war. Fortunately, there is a way to rebuild and resotre even better than before: the Economic Democracy Act.
• Stupid Accounting Tricks. Increasing numbers of people are noting that with Russian using Iranian-made drones costing maybe $20,000 each and the Ukrainians using defense systems costing between $200,000-500,000 to shoot down the drones, the Ukrainians are really losing by winning. This, of course, is a very weird way of looking at the cost of defending oneself against attack. For example, suppose a .22 pistol cartridge costs a criminal $0.08 (we looked it up), while the Kevlar vest for a police officer costs between $300-1,000 (again, we checked). Are the police, then, losing up to $1,000 every time a criminal shoots an officer with a ten-cent bullet? Of course not. You need to look not at the cost of defense, but the value of what is being defended. Every person that does not die because Ukraine spent $500,000 to stop a drone is a cost benefit, not a loss. If you want to put a price tag on it, every apartment building or school or electrical generating plant the Russians do not hit is the real cost savings, not the cost of the missile used to stop the attack. It is the Russians, not the Ukrainians, who are spending money and lives needlessly by attacking, not the Ukrainians by defending.
• Russian Economics. After noting that as of November 2022 Russia has lost 250,000 dead and wounded in Ukraine, “French Admiral Hervé Bléjean stated that the Kremlin has lost ‘60% of its total stock of battle tanks and 70% of its stock of ground-attack missiles,’ and that ‘40% of armored personnel carriers and 20% of artillery’ had also been disabled by November. The admiral noted that it is more difficult to estimate the losses on the Ukrainian side. He said that the EU believes they are lower than the Russian ones, ‘but still significant’.” However, let’s focus just on the number of dead. Assume Ukrainian figures for the number of Russian soldiers killed in combat since February 24, 2022 — which reportedly does not include mercenaries or “allied” troops from the occupied regions — are correct at about 110,000 for less than a year of war. In comparison, over a decade of war in Afghanistan, the Russians lost approximately 10,000 soldiers killed in combat. Assuming that the figures are accurate, prorated over a decade, the Russians can expect to lose more than a million soldiers killed in Ukraine if it continues until the bitter end as Putin clearly intends. Of course, that number can increase dramatically if the Russians continue their current tactics of simply throwing untrained men into battle with inadequate or unworkable equipment and the Ukrainians continue to improve their weaponry. Consider that in a single battle in World War I, the Battle of the Somme (July 1-November 18, 1916), 164,055 men died in less than six months (1.2 million total casualties), and the Russians have not changed tactics for the last century. Putin has vowed to spend 20 millions of his own people’s lives to achieve the goal of liberating Ukraine from . . . something that changes with Putin’s mood. At this rate, he is likely to achieve his goal, and depopulate Ukraine, cause a demographic catastrophe in Russia, and break up the Russian Federation in the process. Of course, the Russians are used to this and may even consider it normal. The Battle of Stalingrad in World War II is considered the costliest battle in history, with 633,000-700,000 deaths in battle, more than 1.2 million soldiers and civilians overall. In comparison, losses on both sides in the American Civil War are estimated at between 620-750,000 soldiers.
• 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 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 25 different countries and 42 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 United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “Happy New Year’s Eve!” “News from the Network, Vol. 15, No. 50,” “Did Cardinal Ratzinger Endorse Socialism?” “Social Justice, IV: The Characteristics of Social Justice,” and “Liberalism Strikes Back.”
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.