Monday, December 28, 2015

What Would Aquinas Do? — The Abraham Federation


Two weeks ago (we had to reschedule this conclusion to our short refugee crisis series) we mentioned that there is a specific program that could be adapted and implemented to resolve the refugee crisis, once the global community has dealt with the immediate situation.  Rather than rewrite the original description, we present it here, with links to the full proposal:

The Abraham Federation: An Interfaith Alternative to a “Palestinian State”
By Norman G. Kurland, J.D.  (12/30/14)

Abraham, the Father of Nations.
Few are optimistic after almost 70 years since the founding of the “Jewish State” of Israel that the “two-state solution for the Holy Land” will promote lasting interfaith peace in that region.  Today leaders now may be willing to at least consider as an alternative strategy the “Abraham Federation” developed by the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice and described at http://www.cesj.org/resources/articles-index/the-abraham-federation/.  The Federation would maximize the freedom of citizens of all faiths and belief systems by limiting its own monopoly of coercive powers to promote Justice by lifting all economic and social barriers to full development and empowerment of every citizen.  In contrast to the two-state solution and its vulnerability to the Islamic State and existing nations controlled by religious elites, the Federation would also be more consistent with the “anti-religious establishment” prohibition conceived by America’s founders.  A new interfaith movement should be organized to seek President Obama's support for the Abraham Federation model for regional and global peace, a model that transcends greed-based Capitalism, envy-based Socialism, or the Keynesian demand-side mixed economy.  Simultaneous support should also be sought from Pope Francis and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Jerusalem the Wholly Owned?
While in the past, I thought that the Abraham Federation might be supported by Israeli leadership, I now have great doubts that current Israeli politicians would be willing to partner with Palestinian leaders at the birth of such a radically new and inclusionary form of nation-state.  Let the Israelis seek to join later, when the unique economic growth, high-technology development, and unique citizen ownership strategy proves to be more attractive for Federation citizens than that provided now by the State of Israel, where all the land is held by a "Jewish Trust." 

Hence, we suggest that the new model nation-state be confined initially to all people now living on the West Bank, Gaza, plus East Jerusalem and any regional nation whose citizens are willing to support and become citizens of the new development, monetary, tax, financing and citizen ownership model of the Abraham Federation.  The UN should be asked to support the Federation as a new approach uniquely consistent with the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially Article 17(1), which reads:" Everyone has the right to own property, individually and in association with others.”  [Article 17(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948.]  No nation, unfortunately, yet lifts systemic barriers for most of its citizens to enjoy this right. The UN should be asked to provide a multi-national police force to maintain initial peace in all areas within the new federation during its start-up and economic development phases.  The United States, the European Community, China, Russia, Japan, Korea, India, Brazil and South Africa should be among those nations specifically asked to provide for the first five years of formation of the Abraham Federation troops, volunteer experts in advanced energy, robotics and other advanced technologies, other banking, management and other training and development professionals, plus at least a combined $3 billion annually.  These nations would thus be contributing to an innovative new nation-state that could serve as an advanced model for regional and global Peace through Justice.

Abraham Lincoln, Father of Expanded Ownership.
The key initial focus of the Abraham Federation should be on widespread personal sharing of ownership and rents from market-based and participatory planning and development of all land and natural resources by every citizen (not governmental or religious ownership of land) regardless of any citizen's religious beliefs or ethnic background. The constitution of the federation, to avoid the debt-backed currency of other nation-states, should also ensure that its central banking and tax system will encourage the creation of interest-free, asset-backed and insured capital credit through local commercial banks as a fundamental human right to provide equal opportunity and informed means for every citizen to invest in newly issued, full dividend payout shares issued by well-managed and feasible enterprises of all sizes.  The new shares would be repaid out of "future savings" from the full stream of future profits in the form of dividends that would be tax-deductible at the enterprise level, with shares and dividends tax-sheltered within trust accounts of citizen (as with leveraged employee stock ownership plans or ESOPs in the USA), and then taxable to each shareholder when his or her shares and profits are distributed to supplement income from labor or other sources.  Losses would be offset by capital credit insurance and reinsurance ideally provided by the private sector.  The goal is to create a nation of economically-empowered citizen-owners, rather than a privileged or corrupt elite of owners or politicians who control the issuance of money.  Government would still serve to establish justice for all and lift barriers to the economic empowerment of all citizens.

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