THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rebuilding After the Quake, Part II

While (according to reports) the Mafia has moved into the rebuilding after the earthquake business in Italy, the most immediate requirement in a relief program is to take care of the material wants and needs of the people involved. Initially that can be taken care of by the various humanitarian and relief organizations. The whole point of a relief program, however, is to help get people back on their feet so that they can once again start providing for themselves out of their own efforts and resources.

Food and clothing can be shipped into the region for as long as it takes to get the area productive again, and should not be a problem. Italy has a high standard of health care, so even with the destruction of hospitals in the area, other hospitals can take over the patient load. Even with respect to shelter, summer is coming, so temporary housing can be used for a longer period than might otherwise be the case.

This will allow the primary focus to be on rebuilding the area's productive capacity, helping it to begin producing wealth as fast as possible, both to begin once more taking care of people's needs and to pay for the rebuilding process. CESJ's "Capital Homesteading" proposal could quickly be implemented, both to provide financing for rebuilding productive capacity, and to build direct ownership into the people in the area so that they benefit materially to the maximum degree possible.

By bringing in contractors from outside region, it should also be possible to begin rebuilding housing, whether repair of damaged historical structures, or new construction that blends into the area's cultural heritage. By using CESJ's "Homeowners' Equity Corporation" or "HEC," such housing can be financed through the central bank using "interest free" loans, and repaid by tenants over time whose rental payments earn them shares in the HEC. The HEC should fit in well with Europe's tradition of commune- or community-owned housing, although in contrast to those approaches, the tenant rapidly becomes an owner through building equity instead of a pile of rent receipts.

Finally (a misleading way of saying, "at the same time") a program similar to that being used to rebuild one of America's most economically devastated cities, East St. Louis, should be implemented, the "Metro-East Citizens' Land Cooperative," so that people in the area will not only share in the rebuilt productive enterprises and home ownership, but gain ownership of the land and infrastructure that in most places is traditionally owned by the local government.

The best thing you can do is to send a link to this posting to the Italian Ambassador to the United States, the Hon. Giovanni Castellaneta, via some of the contacts listed on the embassy's website. You might also want to try sending something to the American Red Cross, your own national Red Cross, or even the International Committee in Geneva.