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Saving Western Civilization.


In his article "Saving Capitalism" (Fall 2018), Owen Ullmann correctly diagnoses the growing wealth disparities in the United States as due primarily to the grossly skewed distribution of wealth (defined as income-producing assets). He prescribes the same solution outlined by David Smick in his recent book The Great Equalizer (PublicAffairs, 2017) on the same subject, namely, that every newborn child in the United States (presumably inhabitants who are citizens) be provided a $5,000 low-interest loan by the government to be invested in a portfolio of stock and/or bond index funds, the loan to be paid back after fifty or sixty years.

I was a member of the task force that President Ronald Reagan established to recommend methods of expanding capital ownership in the United States, which had been for years a favorite objective of the president, inspired originally by the book The Capitalist Manifesto, co-authored by Louis Kelso. The task force was chaired by William Middendorf, with Norman Kurland as vice-chair. The task force report recommended the passage of a law establishing a stock and bond equivalent of the Homesteading Act passed by Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War, and which enabled the landless masses of the east coast of the United States to acquire prime agricultural land owned by the government in the Great Plains, paid for by their own labor over a period of years. This epochal program in all likelihood forestalled a social revolution in the United States in subsequent years.

The proposal to pass an industrial homesteading act went nowhere, but Kurland formed the non-profit Center for Economic and Social Justice to promote such programs as the industrial homesteading act, employee stock ownership plans, and community investment trusts.

I can think of nothing more important at this time for rescuing Western civilization from the extremes of the violent left and right than the implementation of such plans. Ullmann, Smick, and TIE are to be complimented on highlighting this vital issue.


Member of Editorial Board, TIE, Professor, University of Haifa, National Security Studies Center, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, Institute of World Politics

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Author:Bailey, Norman A.
Publication:The International Economy
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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