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Robert Crane’s Compassionate Justice: A Just Third Way as Economic System
By Wanda Krause
Robert D. Crane offers an integral economic system. He encapsulates principles in an economic system called the Third Just Way and premises this system on compassionate justice. He suggests Qatar as a possible model in development of this Third Just Way but argues that the real success of our actions is setting example in trying to promote compassionate justice, even if a global shift does not occur in our civilization. He describes his vision during interview.
Today’s Rules of Economics and the New Third Way
Crane describes today’s rules of economics and argues why we need a new third way:
There are certain rules of economics. The first one is economics is binary, according to Karl Marx and according to everyone you will learn from in universities. Value consists of labor. Labor is the basic value of production. … Binary economics teaches that there are two factors to production, one is labor and the other is capital. And as we become more and more capital intensive, capital produces wealth much more than labor. Ten percent of the wealth in the world now is produced by labor. Ninety percent is by capital – ownership of machines, management systems, everything that has to do with producing wealth. One percent of the people in the world own the capital.
Another problem is that credit is given to those who are already rich in order to get money to invest, and most wealth comes from people who invest. … Ninety-nine percent of people do not have enough wealth to get credit to invest.
… You give it to separate accounts called capital homestead accounts where every person in America, for example, from birth to death would get a certain amount every year on condition that they invested in productive investments, in real goods, and no consumption. Their consumption is going to come from their labor and then later from profits from their investments. It’s calculated that by the time a person retires he should have an estate worth a million dollars and in the meantime he should be able, out of the profits – as he would be part owner of the trillions of dollars of future wealth – to pay his own education, his own health, except for extraordinary illness, his own retirement. … You would have a balance between input and output.
There is a function for government. This government should make sure that there is a balance. … President Reagan strongly advocated this, and as a matter of fact I got six senators and six members of House of Representatives to introduce a Bill to create a Presidential Taskforce on Economic Justice, and Reagan was sort of the Godfather of it. … It is a way to promote justice and really the only way to counter global terrorism.
Who can Lead a Third Just Way? – Qatar
Crane tells me, “People can’t think that big.” He states, “You need vision.” Talking to him from his office in Doha, he explains, “And that’s why I am here – because Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned [mother of ruler Sheikh Tammim al-Thani] has the vision, and I hope that she can carry it through.”
He describes: “Her vision is to bring the best of all the religions and civilizations to Qatar in order to universalize the wisdom of them all and return it to the world in order to promote peace, prosperity and freedom through compassionate justice for everyone. She wants to return this to the world as the Islamic civilization did many hundreds of years ago. She thinks it can be done again. So do I.”
Crane points out that this vision is crucially to be seen in, for example, the ongoing negotiations with Afghans in which a number of countries, including Qatar, are engaged over 20 trillion dollars worth of mineral deposits. He believes Qatar can succeed – in negotiating with economic clout, vision and – as a first – acknowledging the Afghan people’s ownership rights. I believe Qatar is making effort to create economic justice internally for migrant workers but has yet much more to accomplish. Interestingly, Crane emphasizes that any wide-reaching negotiations affecting the globe can only find success if the humanities are emphasized in the country leading such visionary change. He argues, “Civilization consists of values. If you don’t have values other than just power, those civilizations just die.”
The Future of Civilization
Crane tells me, “Things are getting worse and they do at the end of every empire.” He points out, “The Roman empire, the Greek empire – they all collapsed, and I think it’s because first of all they lost the sense of building something beyond themselves, better than themselves and then they saw some things kind of collapsing. Then they decided we have to survive at all costs. And that’s the end of a civilization.” Crane further warns, “If the wealth gap between countries keeps getting worse and worse, as it has been, global terrorism will become the global norm.” He places hope on the vision of leaders, such as in Qatar, to pull through with compassionate justice new forms of economic partnership and practice.
The above is a brief summary of one chapter in Wanda Krause, ‘Spiritual Activism: Keys to Personal and Political Success.’ San Francisco: Turning Stone Press (forthcoming Fall 2013).
Robert D. Crane completed his Doctor of Laws (J.D.) at Harvard University, where he founded the Harvard International Law Journal and became the first president of the Harvard Law Society. Among numerous appointments, he served as Policy Advisor to Richard Nixon who appointed him as Deputy Director of the National Security Council. President Reagan appointed him as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. He focuses on bringing in compassionate justice for the new civilization through his numerous publications and through his position on the board of directors and advisory council of the Center for Economic and Social Justice.
Wanda Krause (PhD, Politics, Exeter University) has studied hundreds of activists and participated alongside some. She strives to bring political and spiritual consciousness and enthusiasm to activism. She currently teaches at Hamad bin Khalifa University, and was previously founding coordinator of the Gulf Studies masters program in QU, Doha, Qatar; senior lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London; and research fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE), UK. She is also a Kosmos journal ambassador.
 Interview with Robert D. Crane, June 2013, Doha, Qatar.
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