The Just Third Way to an Economically Classless Society

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Posted Dec 1, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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The Just Third Way to an Economically Classless Society

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  A “classless society” may be defined either negatively or positively.  Negatively, it is a society without an elite group controlling economic power and through it political power.  In the ideology of socialism an elite political group owns both economic and political power.  In capitalism an elite economic group owns the means of production and therefore automatically concentrates political power in its own hands.

  Positively, in a “classless society” during the modern era of capital intensive economies every person, as a basic human right, would own stock in productive firms, rather than living as wage slaves of people who do own them.  This is very easy to bring about through expanding ownership of future wealth without taking away ownership from those who have used the existing system to accumulate wealth in the past. 

  The key is reforming the entire system of money and credit to remove the barriers to democratizing capital ownership by combining micro-strategies, such as Employee Stock Ownership Plans, and macro-strategies, including pure (backed by future profits not by collateral from past profits) and interest-free credit to build capital ownership into every person at birth (known as Capital Homesteading).  This is what the Just Third Way is all about, as first pioneered by Kelso and Adler and beautifully articulated in the interview exactly half a century ago by Mike Wallace with America’s leading philosopher, Mortimer Adler, available online at  Other sources on Adler, which include the foreword to his and Kelso’s book, The Capitalist Manifesto, are available at and

  The question is whether one should Own or Be Owned.  Classes usually are associated with social privileges, but they are based on ownership of productive wealth (as well as nowadays on the totally unproductive and artificial wealth of buying and selling debt).  Merely regulating an inherently unjust system that functions unavoidably to concentrate both economic and political power will accomplish little in the pursuit of human rights. 

  President Obama now has the opportunity to promote comprehensive human rights.  If he fails to promote expanded ownership of real power to avoid the abominations of both socialism and capitalism, then civilization will end in the chaos of nuclear-armed terrorism orchestrated by those who will try to destroy governments and even entire societies and by terroristic governments who will try to destroy the terrorists in a utopian attempt to promote “freedom and democracy.” 

  In classical Islamic jurisprudence, human rights are merely the implementation of human responsibilities to respect freedom of religion, the dignity of the person and of communities, economic and political self-determination, gender equity, and freedom of thought, publication, and assembly.  If everyone fulfills one’s responsibilities, then everyone will enjoy human rights.  We have a responsibility to redesign our institutions in order to facilitate both economic and political self-determination so that moral people can promote justice peaceably from within the system rather than by abandoning morality and desperately resorting to destroy our institutions by violence. 

  Right now President-elect Obama is trying to assembly a team with enough know-how to make real changes in Washington and New York.  He says that his job as president is to provide the “vision” and that the job of his appointees is to turn it into reality.  Whether his group of insiders can follow his vision is an issue that may become clear within his first 100 days. 

  For eight years, America has had no vision, and has been burdened with political appointees who have had no higher goal than mere survival.  Those who strive only to survive through a strategy of unilateral preemption against the chaotic forces of evil pose the greatest threat to the survival of civilization.  Survival is a spin-off or bonus.  Promoting it to the level of a false god in the latest incarnation of “globalization” is the most powerful engine of self-destruction.  Survival is possible only if our ultimate goal is peace, prosperity, and freedom only through the transcendent and comprehensive justice envisioned by America’s founders and perhaps finally, God willing, now coming to full fruition.