March Pegasus Now Available!

Here’s the March issue of Pegasus.

In this edition, we include 2 articles presenting Adam Smith and Karl Marx as storytellers.  What are their storylines?  What do they seek to teach us through story?

I would be most interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Also, we’re having a round table discussion over Zoom on this very topic at 9:00 am (CDT) on Tuesday, March 28th, and you would be welcome to join us.

The event is free and will last about an hour.

To register, please

More Short Videos on Relevant and Timely Topics

We recently posted more short videos on relevant and timely topics.  They include:

Technology In, Technology Out

There’s No Capitalism Without Customers

Understanding Balance

Getting Out of The Way of Technology

A Message from 1929

All our videos can be found on our YouTube page here.  We recently put them into 9 playlists, which you can find here.

If you aren’t following us on Twitter or haven’t liked us on Facebook, please do so.  We update both platforms frequently.

Three New Fellows Appointed

It is my honor to announce the appointments of Cardinal Silvano M. Tomasi, Kasit Piromya and Professor Jake Hoskins as new fellows of the Caux Round Table.

Cardinal Tomasi has kindly provided leadership and guidance to our group seeking to learn more about the covenants given by the Prophet Muhammad to respect and protect Christians.

Cardinal Tomasi has served as the Pope’s special delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since November 2020.  He was the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva from 2003 to 2016.  He previously worked in the Roman Curia, became an archbishop in 1996 and represented the Holy See as an apostolic nuncio in Africa from 1996 to 2003.

Pope Francis raised him to the rank of cardinal on November 28, 2020.

Cardinal Tomasi was ordained as priest of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles (Scalabrini).  He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Fordham University.  From 1970 to 1974, he was assistant professor of sociology at the City University of New York and the New School for Social Research.  He co-founded the Center for Migration Studies, a think tank based in New York and he founded and edited the journal, International Migration Review.  From 1983 to 1987, he was director of the newly created Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In particular, Cardinal Tomasi will advise me on morality and economics.

Kasit Piromya was educated at St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling India.  He then received a BS in international affairs from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, a Masters of Social Science from the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, The Netherlands and a diploma from the National Defense College of Thailand.  A career diplomat of 37 years, he held several senior posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand, including Thai ambassador to Moscow, Jakarta, Bonn/Berlin, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.

After retirement from the civil service in 2005, he joined politics.  He became a member of the Democrat Party of Thailand and became foreign minister (December 2008 – August 2011), a member of the House of Representatives and a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly.  He is a member of several regional non-governmental organizations, such as APHR (democracies and human rights), APLN (non-proliferation and disarmament), SEAC Group (alternative democratic ASEAN) and TBC (border refugees).  He holds honorary positions at Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University.

In particular, Kasit will advise me on Asian approaches to responsible business and government, especially from a Theravada point of view.

Jake Hoskins is the Guy F. Atkinson Assistant Professor of Data Science & Marketing at the Atkinson School of Business, Willamette University in Oregon.  He teaches marketing principles, data engineering, data analysis and marketing analysis.

He previously taught at Westminster College and Millsaps College.

His recent publications include:

“Market selection and product positioning decisions – implications for short- and long-term performance: Evidence from the U.S. music industry,” Journal of Product & Brand Management; “The electronic word of mouth (eWOM): implications of mainstream channel distribution and sales by niche brands,” Journal of Interactive Marketing; “Growing the community bank in the shadow of national banks: An empirical analysis of the U.S. banking industry, 1994-2018,” Journal of Product & Brand Management; and “Industry conditions, market share and the firm’s ability to derive business-line profitability from diverse technological portfolios,” Journal of Business Research.

In particular, Jake will coordinate the new collaboration between the Caux Round Table and the Atkinson School of Business.

I’m delighted to welcome them to our community of fellows and look forward to their contributions to our development of cutting edge thinking about both the theory and the implementation of moral capitalism and moral government at this time of irresolution in so many institutions, both national and global.

Is Karl Marx Still Relevant in These Days of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Seeking to Repeal “Racial” Capitalism? – Tuesday, March 28

For nearly 170 years, the thought of Karl Marx has justified fierce opposition to capitalism.  But, in retrospect, was his critique at all in alignment with reality?  Should it matter to us anymore?

The March issue of Pegasus, coming your way, suggests a new take on Karl Marx and Adam Smith.  Consider them as storytellers, not as scientists.  What are their storylines?  What do they seek to teach us through story?

Please join us for a round table discussion over Zoom on Karl Marx and how to critique capitalism at 9:00 am (CST) on Tuesday, March 28.

Now, last year, we sent out a special issue of Pegasus wherein I contended that Marx did not at all understand capitalism and the universal human process of wealth creation.  Rather, I suggested, he only saw rent extraction as the basic human approach to the acquisition of economic assets.  Thus, he came up with a theory of capitalism as nothing more than rent- seeking.  You can find my essay here.

To register, please email

The event is free and will last about an hour.

Ukraine One Year Later

It has been one year since Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian army to invade Ukraine.

What should we have learned from this illegal aggression?

From the Caux Round Table perspectives of moral capitalism and moral government, let me suggest 4 major lessons:

1. Napoleon and Clausewitz were correct: the moral is to the physical, as 3 is to 1.  Ukrainian moral strength defeated Russian military capability.  Clausewitz wrote that the moral forces “form the spirit, which permeates the whole being of war.  These forces fasten themselves soonest and with the greatest affinity on to the will, which puts in motion and guides the whole mass of powers, uniting with it as were in one stream because this is a moral force itself.”

2. Max Weber was correct and Karl Marx was wrong.  Values drive human actions, not dialectical materialism.  Weber grounded capitalism as a new form of human thriving in the beliefs making up the Protestant ethic.  Putin’s war is about values, not economic interest.  In his article of 2021 on the history of Ukraine, he, in your face, asserts the moral rights of the Rus people to that territory.  His speeches since the start of the war have reiterated that point.  The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church has blessed the war and so turned it for believing Russians into a religious one.

3. The European Enlightenment is comatose and at death’s door.  Enlightenment values were powerful enough in 1939 to mobilize nations against the volksgemeinschaft national socialist regimes in Germany, Italy and Japan.  Now, they are being tested again by Putin, with help from China and other states inclined to forms of national socialism.  The case against Enlightenment values was made in public by Putin and Xi Jinping in their bilateral agreement of February 4, 2022.

States now are looking inwardly for values, not to universals and globalized visions of the common good.  In the U.S., the emerging un-enlightened values are from the left and privilege 1) group identities (including racist ones) over individualism and 2) the right of an elite to indoctrinate the un-woke hoi polloi, who do most of society’s work and raise most of society’s children.

4. Terms for an acceptable peace can be deduced from the Caux Round Table Principles for Government.  If all government is a public trust, then both Russia and Ukraine have trust responsibilities to avoid destruction and killing.  Any dispute over the sovereignty of a territory – in this case, the Donbas and Crimea – can be resolved by giving sovereignty to a neutral party.  The best example in recent history was the creation of a United Nations interim trusteeship administration over Cambodia.  This arrangement allowed both China and Vietnam to back down from their claims to control Cambodia through their client Cambodian factions.  The United Nations still has a trusteeship council, which could be activated to assume interim administration of the territories in dispute so that Ukraine could accept a cease fire and not lose its claim to sovereignty and Russian could similarly accept a cease fire without surrendering its claim to sovereignty over the same territory.  Resolution of the competing claims to sovereignty could be sought without resort to war.

Brandl Program Video Recording and Proceedings

Each year, an eclectic group of local think tanks and individuals come together to honor the life and career of John Brandl, former dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and former state legislator, for his uncommon quest for common ground.

This year’s program was held on February 2 at the Humphrey School on the topic of what should be done with Minnesota’s historic budget surplus.

A video recording of the event can be found here and the proceedings here.

Request for Support

Why should you give financial support to the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism?

One, it is unique in the world for finding and documenting fundamental moral realities which, across cultures, guide us towards a moral capitalism and moral government.

Two, at this time in history, anomie, narcissism (including racialism), atrophy of leadership, lassitude among bureaucrats, uncertainty and aversion to accepting personal responsibility are everywhere dangers to our civilization.  They must be addressed and put behind us.  How can that be done?  Who is up to the task?

The poet, William Butler Yeats, wrote in a similar time of uncertainty:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

A recent article in First Things made this claim about our times:

Something has gone wrong in modern cultural and political life.  Only those hopelessly numb … can observe the state of things and not see serious problems on the horizon.  The great and the good have become the mediocre and the lame.  The conditions necessary for civic and personal virtue have steadily eroded.  Even if a cataclysm never comes, a civilization contenting itself to die on history’s hospice bed is crisis enough.

Only gaining resilient convictions about what is real and therefore, acceptably true, can reverse this cultural decline.

Which brings to mind the question of whether or not Confucius gave good advice when he said that the first step in providing good governance is to find and use correct words, words that resonate with reality.  This became the Chinese doctrine of “rectifying names” or perfecting thought forms.  Today, academics might associate this practice with creating a discourse regime, seeking to establish social and cultural cohesion.

The connection between thought forms – words – and the quality of our lives was put by Confucius this way: “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things; If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.  When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.  When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.”

Several years ago in the U.S., the Caux Round Table called out “wokeness” as an ideology inconsistent with moral capitalism.  We took a leadership position, insisting on a correct understanding of the thought form “woke.”  Later, the Caux Round Table drew attention to the inequities imposed on individuals by the procrustean program of allocating career advancement using the invidious criteria for preferential treatment proposed by diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) taskmasters.

In both cases, the Caux Round Table took leadership positions defending high standards of moral integrity.

Michel Foucault named ideological conventions like “woke” and “DEI” as “surveillance discourse.”  Such authoritarian use of language often seeks to prevent the expression of respectful humanisms.

What Really is ESG?

In providing leadership for the environment, social and governance (ESG) movement, which seeks to incentivize private firms to provide public goods, the Caux Round Table has focused on the “S” and the “G” by calling for new understandings of “capital” itself.  The Caux Round Table proposed that the “capital,” which generates wealth, enhances cultural prosperity and solidifies community well-being across generations includes more than money and traditional balance sheet assets.

Once balance sheets are revised and valuation analysis is modernized, moral capitalism can be easily practiced and financed.

For nearly 4 decades now, the Caux Round Table has sought the truth, which is revealed by the study of reality and to seek such truth in dialogue among wisdom traditions.  This collective and mutually respectful effort has brought forth very helpful learning about the moral good by using words of different languages designed to articulate nuanced insights into our common human moral sensibility.

We need your financial help in putting on the internet for global distribution educational modules on moral capitalism and moral government.  We are calling this project renaissance, a rebirth of moral courage and clarity in moral thinking after the study of humanity’s moral heritage and each individual’s moral sense.

That you may evaluate the importance of our thought leadership, I attach a copy of our 2022 year in review (annual report).

But let me highlight some of our more important and unique accomplishments:


During 2022, we endeavored to provide in our monthly newsletter, Pegasus, cutting edge comments and ideas responding to the challenges of our time, in line with Confucius’ injunction to get the words right so that all people can flourish on their own, having opportunities, rights and responsibilities.

Articles seeking to provide access to sound understandings were:

-The Art and Architecture of Moral Capitalism, by Michael Hartoonian
-The Charmed Structure of Friendship, by Michael Hartoonian
-Designing Friendships, by Michael Hartoonian
-Surviving Speed and Complexity, by Michael W. Wright
-Recentering Moral Capitalism, by Stephen B. Young
-The Moral Capitalist: Dimensions, Attributes and Assessments, by Michael Hartoonian
-What Are Governments for Anyway?, by Stephen B. Young
-Moral Capitalism and the Middle Class, by Michael Hartoonian
-The Re-emergence of Theocracy in Modern China, by Stephen B. Young
-No Trust, No Future, by Michael W. Wright
-The 100th Anniversary of Mussolini’s March on Rome: Il Duce’s Long Shadow, by Stephen B. Young
-The Mindset of the Moral Capitalist, by Michael Hartoonian
-Mindsets, by Stephen B. Young
-The Design of Ethical Behavior and Moral Institutions, by Michael Hartoonian
-A New Code of Ethics for Journalism, by Stephen B. Young

Caux Round Table Fellows

We relied upon our Fellows, participating in Zoom round tables, to provide their guidance as to the critical and fundamental challenges facing our global community and our systems of wealth creation and governance.

Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad to Respect and Protect Christians

We continued to promote awareness of the example given by the Prophet Muhammad in his covenants to respect and protect Christian communities.

As Pope Francis wrote me, he “trusts that such covenants will serve as a model for the further enhancement of mutual respect, understanding and fraternal coexistence between Christians and Muslims at the present time.”

Framing a New Global Ethic

In late 2022, with his invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin challenged the legitimacy of the post-World War II liberal democratic international order.  The Caux Round Table responded with an initiative in Thailand to begin incorporation of Asian wisdom traditions on moderation, equilibrium and checks and balances in a new foundational global ethic.

I think that our distinctive contributions well deserve your generous support.

To donate, please click here.

If you would rather mail a check, our address is 75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102.

You can also contribute via wire transfer.  For instructions, please respond to this email.

Thank you in advance for your support and continued interest in our work.

When George Will Agrees with You, You Can’t Be All Wrong

Recently, I sent you some thoughts on wokeness using the critical thinking constructs of post-modern discourse.  In thinking that way, I was not induced to think much of what more and more are calling a post-modern form of Puritan sectarianism seeking salvation, while living in a world of sin.

I saw that in a recent column, George Will now speaks of the woke among us as having become a “suffocating, controlling, minority.”

He continues: “The fires of wokeness will soon be starved of fuel by the sterile monotony of wokeness’s achievement: enforced orthodoxy. …  the woke will have the consolation of vanity. wokeness has many flavors, but one purpose – self-flattery.”

Will infers that the vision of the woke is a twist on the conviction of the 19th century Unitarian thinker, Theodore Parker, and later adopted by Martin Luther King Jr. which, in reformation, now holds that, “The arc of the moral universe is long and bends towards me.”

In his disdain of the woke, Will reminded me of Lenin’s objection to his more left-wing colleagues when he entitled a book, “Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder.

A Classic Case of Abuse of Office

In its principles for moral government, the Caux Round Table asserts, as a fundamental ideal, that public office is a public trust.  Public officials serve as trustees, not as imperators or dictators who rule by fiat and oppression of those who disagree with them.

Christine Wilson is resigning as a commissioner of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Her decision to so resign was prompted by her moral conscience, which would not let her rest content and silent when a public trust was being abused.  She wrote a justification for her decision, which was published by the Wall Street Journal on Feb 15th and is reproduced below.

The essence of abuse of trust as reported by Commissioner Wilson is her statement that the chairman of the FTC adopts arbitrary and willful standards for regulating companies – “I know it when I see it.”

This is fundamental lawlessness and abuse of power.  King Richard II of England was dethroned in 1399 on a number of grounds, but one was that he similarly imposed his pleasure on the kingdom:

The king did not wish to preserve or protect the just laws and customs of this kingdom but to do what struck fancy according to his arbitrary will.  When frequently the justices and others of the council explained and declared the laws of the realm to him and when according to those laws, he was to grant justice to those seeking it, he said expressly with a hard and a bold countenance that the laws were in his mouth and sometimes he said that they were in his heart and that he alone could change and establish the laws of the realm.  Following that opinion, he did not grant justice to many of his liegemen but through threats and terrors he compelled many to cease asking for common justice.

Commissioner Wilson wrote:

Much ink has been spilled about Lina Khan’s attempts to remake federal antitrust law as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.  Less has been said about her disregard for the rule of law and due process and the way senior FTC officials enable her.  I have failed repeatedly to persuade Ms. Khan and her enablers to do the right thing and I refuse to give their endeavor any further hint of legitimacy by remaining.  Accordingly, I will soon resign as an FTC commissioner.

Since Ms. Khan’s confirmation in 2021, my staff and I have spent countless hours seeking to uncover her abuses of government power.  That task has become increasingly difficult, as she has consolidated power within the Office of the Chairman, breaking decades of bipartisan precedent and undermining the commission structure that Congress wrote into law.  I have sought to provide transparency and facilitate accountability through speeches and statements, but I face constraints on the information I can disclose—many legitimate, but some manufactured by Ms. Khan and the Democratic majority to avoid embarrassment.

Consider the FTC’s challenge to Meta’s acquisition of Within, a virtual-reality gaming company. Before joining the FTC, Ms. Khan argued that Meta should be blocked from making any future acquisitions and wrote a report on the same issues as a congressional staffer.  She would now sit as a purportedly impartial judge and decide whether Meta can acquire Within.  Spurning due-process considerations and federal ethics obligations, my Democratic colleagues on the commission affirmed Ms. Khan’s decision not to recuse herself.

I dissented on due-process grounds, which require those sitting in a judicial capacity to avoid even the appearance of unfairness.  The law is clear.  In one case, a federal appeals court ruled that an FTC chairman who investigated the same company, conduct, lines of business and facts as a committee staffer on Capitol Hill couldn’t then sit as a judge at the FTC and rule on those issues.  In two other decisions, appellate courts held that an FTC chairman couldn’t adjudicate a case after making statements suggesting he prejudged its outcome.  The statements at issue were far milder than Ms. Khan’s definitive pronouncement that all Meta acquisitions should be blocked.  These cases, with their uncannily similar facts, confirm that Ms. Khan’s participation would deny the merging parties their due-process rights.

I also disagreed with my colleagues on federal ethics grounds.  To facilitate transparency and accountability, I detailed my concerns in my dissent—but Ms. Khan’s allies ensured the public wouldn’t learn of them.  Despite previous disclosures of analogous information, Commissioners Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya imposed heavy redactions on my dissent. Commission opinions commonly use redactions to prevent disclosure of confidential business information, but my opinion contained no such information.  The redactions served no purpose but to protect Ms. Khan from embarrassment.

I am not alone in harboring concerns about the honesty and integrity of Ms. Khan and her senior FTC leadership.  Hundreds of FTC employees respond annually to the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.  In 2020, the last year under Trump appointees, 87% of surveyed FTC employees agreed that senior agency officials maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Today, that share stands at 49%.

Many FTC staffers agree with Ms. Khan on antitrust policy, so these survey results don’t necessarily reflect disagreement with her ends.  Instead, the data convey the staffers’ discomfort with her means, which involve dishonesty and subterfuge to pursue her agenda.  I disagree with Ms. Khan’s policy goals but understand that elections have consequences.  My fundamental concern with her leadership of the commission pertains to her willful disregard of congressionally imposed limits on agency jurisdiction, her defiance of legal precedent and her abuse of power to achieve desired outcomes.

Three additional examples are illustrative.  In November 2022, the commission issued an antitrust enforcement policy statement asserting that the FTC could ignore decades of court rulings and condemn essentially any business conduct that three unelected commissioners find distasteful.  If conduct can be labeled with a nefarious adjective—“coercive,” “exploitative,” “abusive,” “restrictive”—it may violate the FTC Act of 1914.  But the new policy contains no descriptions or definitions of these terms, many of which also lack context in the law.  The commission also candidly explained that its analysis under the new policy may depart from prior antitrust precedent and identified previously lawful conduct as now suspect.  In other words, the new policy adopts an “I know it when I see it” approach.  But due process demands that the lines between lawful and unlawful conduct be clearly drawn, to guide businesses before they face a lawsuit.

In January 2023, the commission launched a rulemaking that would ban nearly all noncompete clauses in employee contracts, affecting roughly one-fifth of employment contracts in the U.S. This proposed rule defies the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA (2022), which held that an agency can’t claim “to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power representing a transformative expansion in its regulatory authority.”

Under President Biden, FTC leadership has abused the merger review process to impose a tax on all mergers, not only those that hinder competition.  Progressives tried but failed to enact a legislative moratorium on mergers in early 2020 and to pass other restrictions since.  Ms. Khan now does so by fiat.  Abuse of regulatory authority now substitutes for unfulfilled legislative desires.

We all know the simple rule: If you see something, say something.  As an antitrust lawyer, I counseled clients to avoid trouble by knowing when to object and how to exit.  When my clients attended trade association gatherings, I advised them to leave quickly if discussions with competitors took a wrong turn and raised alarm bells about price fixing or other illegal activity. Make a noisy exit—say, spill a pitcher of water—so that attendees remember that you objected and that you left.  Although serving as an FTC commissioner has been the highest honor of my professional career, I must follow my own advice and resign in the face of continuing lawlessness.  Consider this my noisy exit.

I thank her for giving us all some moral clarity on public justice.