Global Vision and Strategies for Economic and Political Justice

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Posted Oct 12, 2010      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Global Vision and Strategies for Economic and Political Justice

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  Today, October 11, 2010, the Caux Round Table, based in Washington, D.C., and Caux, Switzerland, announced the release of The Caux Mountain House Statement setting forth a common position among the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions of social thought on sound ethical values to be used in management of the global economy. 

  The Caux Round Table is a fourth generation offshoot of Moral Rearmament, in which I was an active participant in postwar Europe during the late 1940s and as a columnist in the 1970s.  This and Rabbi Lerner’s “Tikkun” are among the world’s most preeminent organizations advocating a new bottom line of spiritual awareness and moral commitment in the pursuit of a just world.

  The Mountain House Statement was collaboratively written by distinguished scholars from the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith traditions.  They were led by Ibrahim Zein, Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion and Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization at the International Islamic University, Malaysia, by His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and by Ronald Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology and former Dean at the Harvard Divinity School.

  Unfortunately, the Mountain House Statement by CAUX entirely misses the issue of who owns the productive wealth in society.  It therefore misses the single most important factor in pursuing both economic and political justice through the free-market economy based on Abrahamic wisdom and the universal principles of natural law, as explained in the many books and articles on the Just Third Way available at and

  It is oxymoronic for CAUX to advocate “moral capitalism” without the wherewithal to increase the number of capitalists.  At least, CAUX sees the contradiction inherent in the NeoCon codeword “democratic capitalism”, which is a synonym for “one dollar, one vote”.

  Nevertheless, this statement addresses very well the moral issues that would remain even if the universal human right to own and participate in earning the trillions of dollars of future wealth were implemented by perfecting existing monetary institutions and policies.

  CAUX’s limited approach is similar to pumping gasoline into a car that is stuck in the desert and no longer works.  Good faith alone will get the stranded driver and passengers nowhere. 

  CAUX misses the real dynamics of justice in the world.  First, even if every person on earth were an angel, the institutional barriers to expanded capital ownership would make it impossible for them to bring their morality to bear in bringing out the best in human society.  Secondly, even if the world’s population were transformed from wage slaves into capital owners, the issue of personal virtue would remain essential to the structural facilitation of economic and political justice.