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.

Friday, January 8, 2010

News from the Network, Vol. 3, No. 1

According to the Associated Press, in Switzerland, a wealthy man convicted of speeding has been levied a fine of almost $300,000 for going approximately 35 mph over the posted speed limit. The previous record fine was approximately $107,000. ("Swiss Court Fines Speeding Millionaire $290,000") The fine was not based on the objective gravity of the offense, but on the offender's net worth. To be consistent, then, had the offender had a negative net worth, would the court have awarded him a cash prize or given him a government subsidy? Would a millionaire who murders a man with one dollar be hanged a million times, while the man with nothing who murders a millionaire not be punished at all?

No doubt such a glaring example of "envy jurisprudence" that violates the most essential precepts of human law will cause outrage among people with even a rudimentary moral compass. Is it any different, however, from the United States government that punishes companies for being productive by taxing profits two or three times at confiscatory rates, and then hands out massive subsidies to proven losers, bankrupts, and criminals? All this does is give strong incentives for dishonesty and incompetence, and promote the worship of the State as the source of all good.

A rational course of action would be to offer rewards for being productive, and to punish — or, better, refrain from rewarding — criminals and the incompetent. A few simple changes in the tax laws would accomplish a great deal to change public and government attitudes toward individuals and enterprises that generate the production on which the economy runs. For example, make dividends tax deductible at the corporate level if used by the recipient to make debt service payments on the loan used to purchase the shares in the first place, or if used for consumption. If used for consumption, the dividends would be taxable at the individual level. If retained in the corporation for reinvestment, the profits would be subject to a heavy and progressive income tax to "punish" the corporation for withholding income that belongs by natural right to the shareholders, thereby working to undermine private property. This would encourage many more people to become owners of corporate equity, both by providing tax benefits for ownership as well as the means of acquiring and possessing private property.

Of course, tax deductibility of dividends is only a small part of the overall proposal for economic reform called the Capital Homestead Act. To be as just as possible, the entire package should be enacted, preferably before we go any further down the path of total State control.

Due to the exigencies of the Gregorian calendar, we have not posted any news items for the past two Fridays — but due to the holidays, there was a great deal going on, but little of it in "reportable form." The major events of which we're aware are,
• There is a growing awareness of the Capital Homestead Act as the most promising proposal to revive the economy and enhance and protect the dignity of every human being. Designed to build sovereignty from the ground up (that is, starting with the individual), the Capital Homestead Act is, as far as we know, the only economic recovery program that relies primarily on the people it is designed to help, with the role of the State reduced to passing the necessary legislation, ensuring equal opportunity to participate, and policing the abuses that inevitably crop up in any system designed by fallible humanity.

• State Representative Anastasia Pittman of Oklahoma City has been studying the CLC ("Citizens Land Cooperative") legislation that passed the Illinois House 114-0, and was introduced into the Virginia House by Representative Bob Marshal of Manassas. Dr. Norman Kurland has been working on incorporating some of the refinements that are continually being made in any Just Third Way approach into the model legislation. Given that human society is in a constant state of flux, an important aspect of the act of social justice (and thus the Just Third Way) is to monitor conditions constantly, and introduce beneficial changes and improvements as necessary in order to bring our institutions into closer conformity with our basic principles. Representative Pittman has expressed great enthusiasm for the potential of the CLC, which can easily provide a foundation for implementation of the basic concepts nationwide in a Capital Homestead Act, and is keeping a close watch on developments in East St. Louis.

• A number of meetings have been held by the CESJ core group to refine the basic door-opening strategy, an important tactic in surfacing new "prime movers" of the caliber of the late Senator Russell Long of Louisiana. It is a basic principle of sound marketing that you cannot sell yourself and the product at the same time. Consequently, we need "third party endorsements," especially in arranging meetings with Congressmen and Senators for Dr. Norman Kurland to be able to sell the ideas rather than himself. As a "door opener" your job would be to get a meeting for Dr. Kurland by whatever (ethical) means necessary, then, having "scored," accept the gratitude of both CESJ and the politician, and let Norm sell the concept. In "biz-speak," your job is to sell Norm to the politician or other potential prime mover, and let Norm sell the idea. The technique works — and works very well, as Madison Avenue has known for generations.

• It is important to realize that one of the most effective door opening tactics is not (necessarily) to know the politician or other prime mover directly, but to know somebody who knows him or her. That is, be a "door opener to a door opener." The method then is to persuade those "people who know people" to use their contacts to advance the Just Third Way. The technique, however, remains the same: open the door so that Norm can "sell" himself to the potential door opener, then have the door opener sell Norm to the potential prime mover so that Norm can then sell the idea. The "door opener to a door opener" approach is thus analogous to the act of social justice itself, which does not work to bring about the desired individual results directly (e.g., just wages, just profits, just prices), but works on the institutional environment to arrange matters so that the desired individual results become possible — that is, equality of opportunity, not equality of results. The door-opener-to-the-door-opener technique is designed to provide Norm with the equal opportunity to present the ideas to potential prime movers, not to present the ideas as part of the door opening process. If that is unclear, read Father Ferree's Introduction to Social Justice, especially the "Commentary" on pages 12-13.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 47 different countries and 40 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the UK, Brazil, Canada and France. People in Aruba, Malaysia, Netherlands Antilles, France, and Venezuela spent the most average time on the blog. The "News from the Network" postings are the most popular, followed by those on "The Political Animal."
Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.