Editorial of the Center for Economic and Social Justice
(Published July 22, 2016)
Recently a member of the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) took the initiative to reach out and open the minds of the leaders of the Libertarian Party. The objective was to expose them to the “Just Third Way” paradigm and the proposed “Capital Homestead Act” (which has also been called the “Economic Empowerment Act” or the “Economic Democracy Act.”) As CESJ’s member wrote,
I just read the July 19 Tribune article, “8 points from Libertarians Gary Johnson and Bill Weld” and noted your comments responding to the first question: What can government do when it comes to income equality?
The more critical question should have been, “What can government do to promote equality of capital ownership opportunity?”
Would you be open to hear some truly new ideas that reflect the Libertarian philosophy in the context of today’s global 21st Century economy? These ideas offer a means to maximize the freedom and empowerment of every citizen, and to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. They would also keep to a necessary minimum the power of government by strictly limiting its role to ensuring liberty, establishing justice, and creating a level playing field. If you are interested in just, free market solutions, I would strongly urge that you talk with Norman Kurland, President of the Center for Economic and Social Justice.
Mr. Kurland and CESJ have developed a plan that would create equality of economic opportunity through equal access to the financial means for every citizen to become an owner of productive capital. His plan, involving specific reforms to our monetary and tax system, would grow the economy in a way that would be “win-win” for all parties. It would turn have-nots into haves, without turning haves into have-nots.
Mr. Kurland worked with such legendary leaders as Senator Russell Long, UAW President Walter Reuther, and civil rights icon Medgar Evers to bring about justice-based, free market reforms. He built coalitions of the left and right to support worker ownership through ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) legislation. He served as Deputy Chairman for President Reagan’s bipartisan Task Force on Project Economic Justice, which Mr. Kurland helped launch to promote expanded capital ownership in foreign policy. He is now working on a comprehensive economic strategy to extend equal capital ownership opportunity to all citizens.
America has reached a critical turning point in our political system, with the two leading candidates lacking character, vision and ideas with substance. With a bold and unifying strategy for building a just, sustainable and prosperous future for all citizens, I believe that your ticket could change the status quo, bringing leadership and hope to our nation and the world.
Please feel free to contact Mr. Kurland directly through the CESJ website, https://www.cesj.org, or let me know if I can be of assistance to arrange a conversation.
With hope for America’s future,
The plan, an application of the principles of what we call the “Just Third Way,” is a comprehensive set of reforms to the monetary, tax, and other legal systems. We believe it has the potential to transform any economy into a resilient, just, and sustainable system that provides equal opportunity and means for every child, woman, and man to acquire and possess private property in capital.
The Just Third Way combines the revolutionary insights of Louis O. Kelso, Mortimer J. Adler, Buckminster Fuller, Martin Luther King, Jr., and CESJ co-founder Rev. William J. Ferree. Its goal is to launch a peaceful “Second American Revolution” as a model for the rest of the world for addressing the future of life on Earth.
Open-minded people, especially the young, will become the leaders needed to mobilize the “People Power” to overcome opponents from both the left and the right who now control money and political power. They need only become aware of this new vision for addressing such seemingly unsolvable global problems as inequality, poverty, racism, war, global terrorism, climate change, and widespread and growing disrespect for all political leaders.
Good people everywhere should take similar initiatives and reach out to other political hopefuls across the political spectrum. While he calls himself a “Democratic Socialist,” Bernie Sanders is an advocate of ESOPs and worker ownership. He might recognize that CESJ’s proposals to change today’s money system will democratize future ownership opportunities and means for every citizen to acquire and possess private property in capital as a fundamental human right.
While not a politician, but a religious leader, Pope Francis has focused the world’s attention on the inequality of ownership power and excessive love of money. Respected and listened to by many who are not Catholic or even Christian, His Holiness is uniquely positioned to deliver a global message of hope that will lead others to advocate and work for effective and just reform in which everyone can participate.
Democratizing future ownership opportunities would put economic power where it really belongs — in the hand of “We, the People.” It would not simply add to the accumulations of those who control Wall Street, their political cronies, or the 0.1% ownership élite who already own and control more than the bottom 99.9% combined.
In the transition to an economy without stratified classes and to a more democratic society, capital ownership opportunity can and must be universally extended without taking property rights away from current capital owners or depriving them of their current capital accumulation.
Our proposition is simple and straightforward. Political democracy will not work without economic democracy.
The ballot is the “social tool” that humans created to promote political democracy. The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution makes it clear that “We, the People” created the State. This unique “social tool” (our only legitimate monopoly), is given by the citizens specified but limited powers to “Establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Just as the ballot is the social tool to promote political democracy, “money” — which is at its essence anything that can be accepted in settlement of a debt — is the key social tool to achieve universal access to ownership of future capital assets. With access to money (another name for which is “credit”), everyone can participate in the financing of, and thereby own, the annual growth ring of roughly $2-3 trillion for new capital formation in both the private and public sectors, even in our slow growth economy.
The State did not create people. People created the State to lift barriers to the exercise of fundamental rights, including any rights “retained” and “reserved” to people under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, such as the right of access to the means to become an owner of productive assets.
As the only legitimate monopoly over the instruments of coercion, the State is a powerful and dangerous tool, one that is not designed to produce marketable goods and services. The State or government at any level, therefore, must be kept economically dependent on the labor and capital assets of actual people, not the other way around.
The State must lift barriers that inhibit or prevent every citizen from acquiring the rights, powers, and incomes from personal or shared ownership of ever-more advanced, labor-saving technologies and structures, as well as land and other natural resources. When this is done, the poor, the disabled, and other citizens now dependent economically on State redistribution or ever-increasing government deficit spending will acquire an equal opportunity to escape from dependence on the charity of the rich or those who control the State.
CESJ believes that where needed, welfare should still be provided during the transition to a generally affluent society. Welfare, however, should always be regarded as an expedient in cases of hardship, not as a normal and accepted way of life. Just Third Way reforms to create a more democratic money and financial system, tax system, and inheritance system would enable every child, woman and man gradually to become economically independent earners of future ownership and labor incomes capable of paying taxes to support the legitimate but limited services of the State.
Of the current presidential candidates from any of the major or third parties, none is calling for universal access to the means of acquiring and possessing capital ownership as a necessary, legitimate, and achievable goal for a democratic society.
If we seek to build a united America and grow a sustainable, free market economy for all, those who understand and support this goal cannot remain silent or passive. We need more people taking the initiative to “open the door” for delivering this new message to our leaders. At this perilous moment in history, we must surface leaders of vision, conscience and courage who could guide America into a more hopeful and unifying future, as a model of justice for all nations and global institutions. See the Platform of the proposed “Unite America Party” at http://www.uniteamericaparty.org/our-platform/