Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Welding Irony, III: A Few Bugs in the System

As we saw yesterday, disconnecting production from consumption is a sure recipe for disaster . . . if you define “disaster” as an avalanche of non-productive debt.  Spending your way out of trouble doesn’t work, even if it looks as if it does in the short run.  In the long run, of course, somebody has to pay the bill, or the system collapses.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Welding Irony, II: The Purpose of Production

Last Thursday we took a look at Representative Tom Snozzi’s proposal to restore the American Dream by creating jobs.  And how are jobs created?  By hiring people to work on massive public works projects; as infrastructure repair and maintenance has been lagging in the United States for some time, there is a great deal that needs to be done.

Friday, May 19, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 20

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are a couple of interesting items on the international scene that relate to the Just Third Way.  Otherwise, this has been a rather quiet week as we wind down from attending the ESOP Association conference last week, and prepare for next week’s monthly CESJ meeting.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Welding Irony, I: No Need to Bring In the State

We’ll not keep you in suspense.  The rather forced pun in the title of this blog comes from the fact that the article that suggested it, “When the Welders Came to Capitol Hill” (Wall Street Journal, A19) appeared on May 15, 2017, the one hundred and twenty sixth anniversary of the issuance of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “On Labor and Capital.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cardinal Müller and the Just Third Way, Part II

Yesterday we reported that His Eminence Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, noted in his talk at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington, Virginia, on Sunday, May 14, 2017, that restoring the Family, the basic unit of society, is a top priority.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cardinal Müller and the Just Third Way, Part I

This past Sunday, May 14, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, Virginia, we had the privilege of singing for the Mass celebrated by Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  His Eminence was in the United States as the main celebrant and homilist for the Baccalaureate Mass at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, on May 12.  He was also the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremonies on May 13, where he received an honorary doctorate before delivering his address.

Monday, May 15, 2017

5. Man Versus Machine

From 1934 to 1935 the Brookings Institution published a four-volume set, Distribution of Wealth and Income in Relation to Economic Progress, analyzing what needed to be done in a recovery program for the Great Depression.  Unfortunately, FDR and his “Brain Trust” listened to John Maynard Keynes and went with the New Deal, rather than with something that made sense.

Friday, May 12, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 19

This is the week of the annual ESOP Association Conference.  This year marks the fortieth consecutive conference.  It has come a long way from its beginnings.  Some of the top worker-owned companies and professional service providers attend the conference every year, which is often the highpoint of their efforts to build an ownership culture.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

4. The Emancipation of Future Savings

In the early sixties, Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler co-authored a book, The New Capitalists: A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings (New York: Random House, 1961).  Drawing largely on the work of Dr. Harold G. Moulton in The Formation of Capital (1935), Kelso and Adler presented Moulton’s answer to the “economic dilemma” we noted in yesterday’s posting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3. The Economic Dilemma

To recap yesterday’s lesson in Keynesian finance, limiting the source of financing for new capital formation to past savings not only diverts funds away from consumption (thereby nullifying Adam Smith’s first principle of economics, that production is for consumption), but in order to have production that is not intended for consumption generate the savings necessary to finance new capital and create jobs, demand must be artificially added to the economy so that goods not intended for consumption can be consumed.  Yes, we are fully aware that is a contradiction.  Keynesian economics relies on such things.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

2. The Formation of Capital

One of the conundrums of a modern economy is how to restore Say’s Law of Markets so that consumption and production are in balance.  What makes the problem worse is the fact that the mainstream schools of economics, Keynesian, Monetarist/Chicago, and Austrian, take for granted an assumption that flies directly in the face of Adam Smith’s first principle of economics stated in The Wealth of Nations: “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

1. Capital in Binary Economics

Every now and then we consider a question from a new perspective, usually because someone asks us a question that we answer . . . and then stop and wonder why someone asked the question in the first place.

Friday, May 5, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 18

This has been a pretty busy week for the Just Third Way.  A number of projects have made significant advances, news ones have come in over the transom as it were, and a few “non-producers” were given up.  In addition there have been some interesting meetings taking place, some of them rather surprising — after all, how often does Mark Zuckerberg drop in for dinner unexpectedly?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Filling the Bill

A couple of days ago on FaceBook we reposted a piece from a few years ago on why central bank reform is so important.  We tossed around a few specialized financial and banking terms (just to make us look important, of course), and didn’t think any more about it.  Then one of our favorite readers asked a question:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Better Argument for a New Glass-Steagall

Yesterday we looked into the arguments for and against a new Glass-Steagall act.  We concluded that both advocates and opponents were missing the real point: that a well-designed system must include sound internal controls.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Glass-Steagall and Internal Control

Ever since the full repeal of the Glass-Steagall act, there have been calls from some quarters that it should be reinstated.  Naturally, this has sparked a number of responses from individuals and groups that were the ones to gain from the act’s repeal insisting that All Is Well.  This is made all the easier by the fact that those demanding its reinstatement have no more idea of Glass-Steagall’s purpose than those who were instrumental in its repeal.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Just, Third Way: Capital Homesteading, Part IV

Last Thursday we started looking at some of the policy objectives of Capital Homesteading.  Today we look at some more.  Again, keep in mind that “cafeteria Capital Homesteading,” i.e., picking and choosing what to implement and what to leave out, would make the whole thing unworkable.

Friday, April 28, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 17

There were a number of interesting events this past week, including the CESJ Annual Meeting.  It was scaled down from previous years due to a number of factors beyond anyone’s control, but was still a significant event in the history of CESJ.  A gourmet dinner of tranches de radis brutes et trempette de Roquefort followed with le porc cuit à l'étouffée avec les coeurs d'artichaut sur le riz marron preceded the meeting.  Other items of interest include:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Just, Third Way: Capital Homesteading, Part III

Yesterday we promised to start looking at some of the policy objectives of a “Capital Homestead Act.”  Since there are more than a few, we decided to do some today, and the rest on Monday — with the caveat that a division of any kind might give the wrong impression that parts of the program can be separated and implemented piecemeal.  No, the proposal is an integrated approach, and must be implemented as a unified approach, or there is a very good chance it won’t work.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Just, Third Way: Capital Homesteading, Part II

One thing we’ve noticed about a number of proposed reform packages is that all too frequently the desired goal is stated as the means instead of the end.  This tends to get almost simple minded at times.  If you want something, just do it.  How to do it is an unimportant detail.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Just, Third Way: Capital Homesteading, Part I

Last Thursday we looked at how cutting consumption to accumulate savings, far from being the only way to finance new capital formation, actually throws the entire financial and economic system into a cocked hat and causes a failure of Say’s Law of Markets to operate . . . although why the hat has to be cocked instead of a gun remains a mystery.  Either does the damage.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Is Greed Good?

Last Thursday we noted that the ability to accumulate — “save” — while an aspect of money, is only peripheral to the principal function of money, which is to be spent, i.e., “consumed.”  Money, which is anything that can be accepted in settlement of a debt, derives from the functioning of Say’s Law of Markets.

Friday, April 21, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 16

One of the things the news media have made clear this week — whether or not they meant to — was to underscore the fact that so many of what seem to be insoluble problems actually have some fairly simple solutions . . . if you bother to look for them:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Distributism and Say’s Law

We’ve been getting into some interesting discussions on FaceBook about the similarities between the rather vague system that G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc called “distributism,” and the more specific proposal we call “Capital Homesteading” within the context of the Just Third Way.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Own or Be Owned

It is all very well to say that social justice is better than socialism.  We could even come up with a “Top Ten List” of reasons why, and try to make something appallingly serious — the infiltration of socialist principles and the concept of society into virtually every aspect of life — a trifle less ghastly.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“Three Acres and a Cow”

As a slogan, “Three acres and a cow” has been around a lot longer than most people who think about it think . . . if, of course, they think about it.  There’s even a bit of history that goes with it, and it could also apply today — properly understood.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Socialism v. Social Justice

To many people, the term “social justice” is another way of saying “socialism.”  And if we use the term as it was used prior to Pope Pius XI, they are correct.  It was Pius XI, following up on Pope Leo XIII’s efforts to counter the “new things” of religious and scientific socialism, who took the previously vague term and turned it into something meaningful and useful.

Friday, April 14, 2017

News from the Network, Vol. 10, No. 15

This week has been filled with a number of activities, few of which have anything to do with the Just Third Way, at least directly.  There have been a few items of note, however:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Good as Gold, XI: The Old Story of the New Deal

In the previous posting in this series, we ended by asking the question, What was wrong with the New Deal?  Didn’t it save the country?
Not exactly.  In fact, a good case could be made that the New Deal ruined the United States, especially monetarily.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

3. “Walter Russell Mead’s Awful Idea”

It seems a little obvious.  If you expect to save for retirement, you need something out of which to save.  In the current state of society, that means you need a wage system job . . . and those are disappearing in competition with advancing technology or cheaper labor elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2. “Walter Russell Mead’s Awful Idea”

Yesterday we looked at how Academician Walter Russell Mead managed to equate capital ownership with home ownership, and then with having a guaranteed job . . . and then wonder why the system wasn’t working at all the way he thought it should.  Today we’re going to looked at Dr. Mead’s proposed solution to the problem of today’s disappearing guaranteed jobs and its effect on retirement savings.