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an idea whose time has come
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
On October 28th, 2006, the Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, announced that government will be down-sized and political power will be decentralized through the privatization of state-owned industry, with 50% "sold" free to the poor. This is a good start on what Ayatollah Sistani might well advocate in Iraq. Sistani is only too well aware of the downside of concentrated political power in Iran and of the American strategy in Iraq to concentrate political power in a central government there in order better to orchestrate control of its natural resources.
At a conference called to officially inaugurate the new Iranian plan to privatize industry through "justice shares" to "justice stock companies" Ahmadinejad emphasized that justice is not merely an individual responsibility but a joint responsibility of every person working together as a community. The Speaker of Parliament, Gholam Ali Haddad, stated at this conference that justice had been the driving force behind the original Iranian revolution, but had been side-tracked for an entire generation.
Now the question arises, when will Iran start privatizing the oil industry to the general populace through inalienable voting shares of stock? This has been priority number one in position papers that I and others have been advancing since the first day of the Iranian revolution more than a quarter century ago as an essential first step in any faith-based and normative economic system? The possible domino effect of such a policy to broaden capital ownership might be perceived as the "ultimate threat to global stability." In fact, it would be the ultimate neasure designed to restore the universal right to private ownership of productive property as the essence of economic justice in a capital intensive world and to counter the primary source of growing global chaos, namely, the rapidly escalating wealth-gap both within and among nations.
Iran is the only country in the world where justice is not considered to be a threat to stability and where justice indeed is now considered to be the major pillar of national security. In America, neither the Republican nor Democratic parties dare to even mention the word, because it would require fundamental reform of the entire system of money and credit to broaden capital ownership rather than to concentrate it. In any research on justice in Shi'a jurisprudence and public policy, the new Iranian policies on economic and social justice, as a model of both what to do and what not to do, might well serve as a principal case study of Jafari jurisprudence in practical application.
Justice in Jafari jurisprudence is holistic, which makes it different from all the other legal systems in the world. This system necessarily addresses the importance of respecting the right to life, which has immediate relevance to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The leading ayatollahs in Iran have condemned the production and possession of nuclear weapons as fundamentally immoral. I agree with this, not only from the perspective of what Catholics call moral theology, but because such weapons are irrelevant to shaping the course of history. This is the area where the rubber hits the road, because this is where courage as a central element of compassionate justice will be seen.
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