Robert P. Woodman, a co-founder of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, died in Lakewood, Ohio, Thursday, November 3, 2010 at the age of 87. Those of us in the Center for Economic Justice share with all members of his family and devoted friends the loss of a great warrior in the War of Ideas now threatening human civilization.
Bob Woodman worked relentlessly and fearlessly to the full measure of his talents and resources to teach and serve as a living example of the virtue of Social Justice — working for the common good — as articulated in the great 1931 social encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, and the writings of another co-founder, Father William Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., "America's greatest social philosopher."
As some of you know, some of Bob's ancestors came to America on the Mayflower, which must have contributed to his revolutionary spirit and commitment to the hope that America represented to the poor, propertyless and the powerless of the world. When Bob discovered the principles of economic justice and expanded ownership vision of Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler in early 1960s, he channeled his passion for Social Justice to become one of the earliest pioneers of what is called "the Just Third Way" — a more just free market system that combines the best but avoids the power-concentrating flaws of both Capitalism and Socialism. Now armed with solid principles of social justice and economic justice, Bob became Cleveland's chief architect and social activist for reviving the original American Dream of a "nation of citizen-owners" through a new national plan now known as "Capital Homesteading."
Working with other architects of a better future, Bob spread the message of practical ways to transform, restructure and grow the future of our free enterprise system in sustainable and more democratic ways, uniquely, from the bottom-up. Bob was among the earliest promoters of legislation adopted in 1974 to encourage employee stock ownership plans or "ESOPs," a first step in the plan for "Capital Homesteading" for turning every American man, woman and child, including the poorest of the poor, into empowered citizen-owners of wealth-producing capital assets. The ESOP social technology has enabled 11 million workers in 11,000 companies today to become worker-owners without reducing their consumption incomes or savings. Thanks to visionary thinkers and activists like Bob, other countries, including China, have copied the ESOP model.
Yes, Bob Woodman was a maverick. And the world needs more Bob Woodmans committed to delivering Peace, Prosperity and Freedom through Justice, not only for all Americans but to all members of global society. Most people fear new ideas, especially ideas that that promise to deliver economic and social justice for all. Bob was a living example of how to conquer fear and ignorance. He devoted his life to igniting a peaceful "Second American Revolution," a future in which poverty would be a rarity and all have-nots could become haves, without depending on, targeting or turning those who control money power and ownership today into have-nots.
For his life and commitment to Justice for all, all members of the Center for Economic and Social Justice salute Bob. I feel that God has blessed Bob and will provide him an eternal reward for all his work on behalf of Justice for all and the survival of human civilization.
President, Center for Economic and Social Justice
P.O. Box 40711
Washington, D.C. 20016