Who Controls the Money?

Thursday, July 16, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

In trying to answer the big questions about the central banks and global economy- I think it is important to note these historical facts and ask what their relevance might be:

Paul Volcker was appointed by liberal Jimmy Carter to be the head of the Fed, and was re-appointed by conservative Ronald Reagan. Alan Greenspan was appointed to head the Federal Reserve by Reagan, and then was re-appointed by President Bush I, Clinton, and again Bush II. This begs the question of how such a powerful position in managing our nation’s monetary policies can remain so “above” all the political cat-fighting between so-called “liberal” politicians and so-called “conservative” politicians. Shouldn’t there be a real difference of opinion when it comes to who should hold such key positions of power in the overall economy? I will add that Paul Volcker was named by President Obama to be “First Chair of President’s Economy Recovery Advisory Board”- so the musical chairs continues- is this some kind of a game?

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Harry Potter and The Half-Witted Media

Thursday, July 16, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

My family and I are fans of the Harry Potter films, so we will definitely be joining quite a few other Muggles in trekking to a theater to do our bit to make J. K. Rowling wealthy enough to buy a few smallish nations.  I have never read any of the Harry Potter books, although one of my sons and my daughter have read all of them, as has my wife, who has read them in several languages other than English.  (Yes, I did marry above my intellectual station in life.)  I don’t read any great message into the Harry Potter phenomenon, other than that there will always be a market for escapist fiction with good guys, bad guys, and a definite beginning, middle and end, laden with action, humor and sentiment.

I did find it intriguing that L’Osservatore Romano gave an overall enthusiastic review to the latest film, or rather I found the reaction to the review intriguing.  Damian Thompson  celebrates this here as a Vatican about face on Harry Potter and takes a swipe at Americans and Italians while doing so, reminding us yet again why Brits are so beloved the world over.  Robust British ethnocentrism notwithstanding, I think Mr. Thompson and much of the media are wrong as playing this as some sort of reversal in Vatican policy.  (As if the Vatican has a Harry Potter policy!)  True, L’Osservatore Romano had previously published a negative piece on Harry Potter in January of 2008.  A translation of the article is here.  However, this piece ran with a positive assessment of Harry Potter in an article which may be read in English here.   A balanced look at the current review is here.

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The Class Analysis

Thursday, July 16, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

At the request of my friend and fellow contributor to The American Catholic, Darwin Catholic, I will elaborate more on some of the general points I introduced to the discussion over his latest post about economic morality. For those who did not follow the exchange (of me versus everyone, understandable on this somewhat more conservative blog), I questioned the accuracy of any scientific theory of economics that did not take into account class conflict (or, as some insist on saying, “class struggle”). Darwin and others responded by questioning the validity of the very category of class. Hence, we have a great deal of ground to cover – I hope you will bear with me, and that we all end up learning something.

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