Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Problem of Wealth, I: The Socialist Solution

The word is out.  Eight people in the world own more wealth than half the human race combined.  Given Adam Smith’s first principle of economics (“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production”), that means less than a dozen people each have the potential to consume 430,000,000,000 times what it takes to support one individual at a minimum — give or take a few million.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jobs, Training, and the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum starts today in Davos, Switzerland, and will go through Friday, January 20, Inauguration Day in the United States.   The Forum, which describes itself as being a unique advocate for public-private partnerships, has been meeting since 1971.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Just Third Way Home Economics, II: Optimal is Beautiful

Last Thursday we looked at the reason why Keynesian economics divides the science into “micro” and “macro”: to justify crazy stuff that no one with any common sense would accept if it wasn’t presented to him or her by people hiding their pointy heads behind Ph.D.s . . . which could easily stand for, “Pointy-headed Dunces.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 02

The New Year is off to a good start, as you can see from this week’s news items.  They illustrate the importance of outreach — and persistence (as well as persistence and persistence, the first, second, and third keys to gaining acceptance of revolutionary new ideas):

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Just Third Way Home Economics, I: Micro v. Macro

Back in 1984 Father William Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., Dr. Norman Kurland, and a number of others came together in a cafeteria at the American University in Washington, DC, and organized the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ).  From the first — possibly because of the cafeteria connection — CESJ events have almost always included food and drink.  There has even been talk of putting together a collection of recipes one day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Real Fix for Corporate Tricks

When a Harvard professor who also happens to be a past president of Harvard, a former Treasury Secretary, and economic advisor to President Obama speaks, it’s probably a good idea to listen.  The words of Lawrence Summers carry weight.  They have what the Romans used to call gravitas.  He is Somebody, in italics and with a capital S.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Anti-Francis Effect, II: Leo’s Vision

Yesterday we looked at how so many people seem to be upset with Pope Francis.  Neither the liberals nor the conservatives seem to be getting their way.  One thing we discovered, however, is that none of this is particularly new.  It’s all happened before, with Pope Leo XIII, with whom Pope Francis has a number of similarities.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Anti-Francis Effect, I: Leo & Francis

It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic — and, frankly, silly.  With increasing regularity, headlines about Pope Francis appear that seem calculated to shock Catholics and non-Catholics, believers and non-believers alike.  FRANCIS FRENZY FULMINATES FAITHFUL!  PAPAL PRONOUNCEMENTS PROMOTE PONTIFICAL PERVERSION!  VATICAN VEILS VILE VEHEMANCE!”

Friday, January 6, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 01

The New Year is off to a good start, as you can see from this week’s news items.  They illustrate the importance of outreach — and persistence (as well as persistence and persistence, the first, second, and third keys to gaining acceptance of revolutionary new ideas):

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Crisis of Reason, II: Why is This Important?

Yesterday we looked at the problem that the Catholic Church (and other faiths) are having retaining young people.  It’s not that they’re converting to other religions or denominations.  They’re just sort of drifting away from religion altogether, some of them persuading themselves that they are “spiritual, but not religious” (whatever that means), others just not wanting to bother with all that jazz.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Crisis of Reason, I: What’s the Problem?

 “It’s almost a crisis of faith,” according to Dr. Mark Gray, a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.  “It” is a massive migration of people out of the Catholic Church at an early age, mostly between the ages of ten and seventeen.  Most attribute their loss of faith vaguely to the alleged conflict between faith and reason.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Whence Cometh This Demand?, V: Labor AND Capital

As we saw yesterday, ordinary people who own no capital and have only their labor to sell are, in a modern industrial economy, ground between the upper and nether millstones of inability to produce enough with labor in competition with advancing technology to meet the consumption needs of themselves and those dependent on them, and an even greater inability to acquire and possess the technology that is making it virtually impossible for them to meet their own needs through their own efforts.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Whence Cometh This Demand?, IV: Labor v. Capital

Last week — last year, in fact — we looked at how, if everybody who consumes, produces, and everybody who produces, consumes, things would work a lot better in the world.  That’s because Say’s Law of Markets has four things going for it that most people don’t look at.  And they are?

Friday, December 30, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 50

Here is the second part of the annual year-end news roundup, covering July through December 2016.  The first part, covering January through June, was posted Friday of last week.  From the volume of news from the second half of the year, perhaps we should have done a 75-25 split instead of 50-50:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Whence Cometh This Demand?, III: Multiplying Barren Consumptions

Yesterday we looked at how, under Say’s Law of Markets — everything else being equal — every producer is a consumer, and every consumer is a producer.  Thus, as Say’s Law is often (if somewhat inaccurately) summarized, “supply (production) generates its own demand (consumption), and demand its own supply.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Whence Cometh This Demand?, II: Getting Even

Yesterday we looked at how supply and demand should always be in balance.  That is, as long as we hold everything else in the equation equal, and consider only supply and demand, no other factors — no ifs, ands, or buts.  Everything else being equal, supply and demand will always be in balance, with everyone producing as much as he or she consumes, and consuming as much as he or she produces.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Whence Cometh This Demand?, I: Supply and Demand

Okay, last week we had a couple of postings on the first principle of economics, viz., that consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.  This fits in perfectly (in our opinion, of course) with basic principles of the natural law as found in (for example) Catholic social teaching.  That’s because Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of the person and sovereignty of the individual under God — as is the Just Third Way.

Monday, December 26, 2016

“A Worthy of the People”

It is either a baffling paradox or a supreme irony that many people in the United States who call themselves solidarists often have neither a real understanding of solidarism, nor any practical experience in implementing the solidarist approach.

Friday, December 23, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 49

Here is the first part of the annual year-end news roundup, covering January through June 2016.  The second part, covering July through December, will be posted Friday of next week:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

And the Purpose of Production Is . . . ?

Okay, we actually answered this question — very briefly — in yesterday’s posting.  As we noted, according to Adam Smith and a bunch of other people (such as a couple whose first name happens to be “Pope”), the purpose of production is consumption.  This does make a little bit of sense, after all.  If something is not going to be used (consumed), why bother to produce it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Purpose of Production Revisited

A little over four years ago (on December 13, 2012, to be exact), we whipped out a quickie posting on the purpose of production in real life, versus the purpose of production in the economics of John Maynard Keynes.  As the introduction to the link to the posting on FaceBook was just a trifle long but substantive, and the posting has proved one of the most popular on the blog, we decided to repost it with a few additions.  After all, one reader, J.C. (not that one), recently commented on this particular posting,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

“The Euthanasia of the Rentier”, II: Why?

Yesterday we looked at what Keynes really meant when he advocated “the euthanasia of the rentier.”  Today we want to look at why he would say something so obviously heartless and insensitive.

Monday, December 19, 2016

“The Euthanasia of the Rentier”, I: What?

In his book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), John Maynard Keynes made the somewhat startling (and rather heartless) statement that he was advocating that rentiers — small investors who live off the income from their investments — should be euthanized.  Specifically,

Friday, December 16, 2016

News from the Network, Vol. 9, No. 48

As the late cartoonist Charles Shultz (usually) had his character Schroeder say every December 16, “Happy Beethoven’s Birthday!”  One year he forgot, and Lucy reminded him, giving the poor guy a double whammy.  Fortunately, the Just Third Way is for every day in the year, so we don’t have to worry about missing a specific anniversary . . . although we would welcome the opportunity to become so used to Capital Homesteading as a way of life that we are tempted to take it for granted.  We won’t, of course, but we would certainly like the opportunity to be tempted. . . .