Many writers very eloquently state pro-blems, quoting figures and analysing causes. But what we need are solutions. As an indirect part of ARCO’s activities we are aware of an extremely interesting experiment going on in East St. Louis, USA, where the local Congress approved a ‘third way’ project unanimously.
Below some thoughts concerning this project in which all residents of East St. Louis will become shareholders in a ‘Community Investment Center’ (‘CIC’), which will turn the city’s waste into green and clean energy (electricity). And after a while, all residents will be receiving dividend-checks.
We could do this in Antriol, Bonaire. Set up an Antriol Community Investment Center to exploit commercially all government land in Antriol and turn Antriol’s waste into clean electricity. You must admit, there’s something to this ‘third way’ idea: After a while all Antriol residents will be receiving dividend-checks! And at the same time crime can be tackled!
One doesn’t have to be a business person to understand what ownership is. Or to feel unjustly deprived when othershave powers or rights over things that
belong to you. One of the first words that come out of a child’s mouth is: “It’s mine”. Well, Antriol is ours!
A 1 B.C. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wisely stated:
“Never entrust the defense of a country to those who own no part of it”.
And the opposite is also true, “If you
want people to protect “the turf”, make sure they own part of it”. MAKE SURE THEY OWN PART OF ANTRIOL!!!
If you want your workers to give their best to your company, make sure they own part of it. If you want people to care for the community (which includes controlling crime), make sure they own part of the community.
Violence and crime
Violence and crime has to be countered with superior force. But it’s important
at the same time to offer hope and get to the root causes of violence and crime (i.e., powerlessness and hopelessness).
To tackle crime, Community leaders need to offer the olive branch of true economic justice, as well as the stick. It’s a mistake to think in ‘either-or’ terms in addressing the culture of crime.
Based only on the power of sound and realistic principles, community leaders
should contact key gang leaders who are are trying to control “the turf” to see if they can buy in to the vision for building a Community Investment Center (‘CIC’) on the turf, where every man, woman and child living there would own
a single lifetime non-transferable share in the CIC and share equally in all the rental incomes and profits that the CIC makes as the land owner.
When told about Kelso’s shared ownership vision gang leaders in Harlem (New York) immediately understood the power of ownership. The leader of one
gang, Popo Giordani, later went to college and then received a full-tuition scholarship to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School.
There is no reason why Kelso’s vision of Community Investment Centers could not inspire some Popos from East St. Louis, or anywhere else in the world.
Remember, gang leaders are leaders, and real leaders are natural entrepreneurs. Give them hope and opportunities to earn the fruits of genuine justice, and they can become the entrepreneurs our communi-
ties need to turn themselves around.
All this is not easy, but it’s at least a vision that offers a solution. That’s worth more than just stating the problem.