Dr. Joyce Watford and Martin Smith

September 4, 2016

“Economic justice” is a familiar term to all of us, but one with which a lot of us cannot identify.  Because we all need to work and produce wealth, economic justice, simplified, refers to how work, opportunities, privileges, and wealth are distributed equally and fairly to all, so that people can have some control over the improvement of their financial conditions and economic livelihoods. However, its antithesis, economic injustice, is the only all-too-common norm that some of us have ever historically known.   

No other groups, except Native Americans and Descendants of American Slaves, have been as historically (and unfairly) economically deprived as these collective groups have been, in the country of their birth and in the land of economic opportunity and prosperity.  The irony in their economic circumstances today, juxtaposed against their historical economic contributions to our country, points to a trajectory of economic injustices, by design, resulting from white supremacy racism. Their contributions to the economic survival and success of the European settlers, immigrating to the New World, in search of economic opportunities, freedoms, and prosperity, are undeniable and unmatched to this day.  Yet they collectively continue to suffer systemic economic injustices intended to impact and racially, socially, politically, and economically control them for generations (even for centuries!). 

What is it about our current economic systems that permit such human atrocities—which create inequalities and injustices against the economic success and survival of others?

One could say that the world has five types of economic systems, after four basic types (Traditional, Command, Market, and Mixed) are broken down.  The result can look something like this:

1.  Traditionalism is an economic system based on culture and tradition. The economy

      relies on agriculture and hunting.

2.  Communism is an economic system in which the government (or some central

     authority) owns and determines what, how, and for whom goods and services are

     produced.  (Also known as Command or Strong Command Economy where

     government makes all economic decisions)

3.  Socialism is a Command Economy, as is Communism. However, Socialism is a

     Moderate Command Economy where some form of private enterprise is allowed, but

     the state owns the major resources.

4.  Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of

     production are entirely or largely privately owned and operated for profit. (Also

     known as Market, Free Market, or Free Enterprise Economy)

5.  Mixed is an economic system that combines Market (privately owned) and

     Command Economies (government owned).  In Mixed economies, the government

     takes care of people’s needs, and the marketplace takes care of people’s wants.

In light of the various economic systems around the world and the perpetual economic problems people face, economic justice can imply many things to many people.  As the 21st Century continues to unfold, it will present us with old and new economic challenges that will require both new and different ways of addressing them. Those of us in the business of overseeing world economies must bring new sights, visions, and tools to the economic tables to solve world-wide economic problems that threaten us all, such as world hunger, joblessness, crime, climate change, greed, and -isms (to name a few) that threaten life and economic survival for all of us, because we all really are in this together, and Nature does not discriminate. 

All of those things that divide us as humankind are seen in nature as perversions and ultimately will be purged from Nature in order to move humankind into the Fourth Dimension of Evolution which will require us to function on a higher, more enlightened plane than where we presently are. World economies that have created inequalities, injustices, greed and hoarding, human suffering, and the like will be forced to give way to a new global economy, based on economic productivity for all of us, and not from some seat of socioeconomic control by governments or mega corporations that deny and deprive us from the very activities that all of us require to survive—which are to produce, be productive, and share in the ownership of what we produce.  In the new economic paradigm, economic productivity will need to be reversed and shifted back down from machines to laborers who, with the aid of technology or machines, will be able to do for themselves what governments and mega corporations claim that they have done; but, in reality, they have not done because they have failed to make people economically productive, which explains why we have global mass unemployment, starvation, poverty, climate change, wars, and hosts of other social and environmental ills created by economic injustices. 

Take, for example, the mass unemployment found in the communities of Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans.  Mass unemployment in their communities is the result of economic denial and/or deprivation of opportunities in their communities to be productive in gainful ways, due to historic, systemic interventions, enforced against them in the marketplace.  Mass unemployment, as well as world hunger, comes from lack of a fair, just economy, based on Productionism, as opposed to Capitalism, which breeds institutional greed, individual hoarding, and exclusion of humans, especially in the Age of Technology, which has allowed humans to be replaced by machines. The new global economy, based on Productionism, will counter this trend by proving that the rate of economic profit is not reduced when manual or human labor is allowed to replace machines and/or to co-exist along side of machines and/or technology.

Productionism (similar to, but not to be confused with productivism) is based on fundamental truths that, in order for man to survive, he must produce.  Another truth is that man’s desire for wealth is limitless, but he must produce that wealth.  Therefore, humankind must have opportunities to produce their wealth for themselves through productive labor and sharing of ownership in the advancement of labor-displacing technology.

When we consider the economic disparities in our country that exist among groups today, especially among whites and blacks, we see the hands of economic favoritism and economic deprivation skewed in favor of whites.  Such economic favoritism creates social unrest and the kind of social eruptions we are seeing today in the aftermath of several altercations between the police and blacks, especially black males.  These social problems need to be addressed in ways that put all of us on the road to economic healing.

How do we do that?

Many of us believe today that our government for the people, of the people, and by the people no longer works for us because our government is owned by corporations and/or big businesses.  Our democracy has become an oligarchy!  Corporations and/or big businesses can do anything they please, while the citizens are allowed to do only what they have been given permission to do.  We are in a very dark place in human history—much like being in a state where brute force rules.

How did we come to this place and what happened to our government for the people, of the people, and by the people?  Has our democracy slipped into an anarchy right before our eyes?

The above questions provoke different answers from groups who are different from Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans. Because of their historical circumstances which have shaped their unique perspectives about their country’s government and systemic economic inequality, Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans would probably say their governmental experiences over time have felt more like anarchy than democracy for the people, of the people, and by the people because of the harsh, unjust economic realities they have had to endure.

However, this is a new millennium and a new day, and all of the 99% of working class people are feeling themselves on the short-end of the economic justice receiving stick.

Economic justice cannot co-exist with greed and hoarding.  They invoke two very opposite paradigms, which have always caused economic problems for Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans, but which now affect all working class Americans, too.

The Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans, as well as all working class Americans and humankind, in general, must look to themselves for economic empowerment.  It is clear that unequal justice traditionally produces division and injustices of all kinds, one of which is economic. We are all fed up with divisive, unjust economic systems (and politics)! To reverse the order of divisive, unjust economics, humans must find ways to multiply labor, productivity, and equality and fairness in ownership.  Economic resources available to humankind are staggering, even today, in a climate of scarcity.  However, we need an economic system that is fair and just to all and that empowers all of us, as opposed to those that enslave us. When everyday, average people have direct access to and fair ownership of the abundant economic resources around them, they will have opportunity to economically empower themselves.

The new economic system of self-empowerment that embraces economic justice, fairness, and empowerment for all is Productionism, also known as the “Just Third Way.”

Productionism (or the Just Third Way) creates infrastructure for economic and social justice in the marketplace. Productionism—the Just Third Way—thrives on a paradigm of unity among all humankind, working together to produce goodwill toward all humankind through fair and just economic ownership of resources and opportunities necessary for productive labor, in tandem with wealth.  This is the way to economic justice in this millennium, as well as a pathway to end global socioeconomic problems that threaten the life of all of us.

We once had an economic system, based on Productionism (Henry Ford’s original auto industry), when our economic system depended on labor and fairness of ownership for profit. However, it was overtaken by an economic system, breeding greed and self-service, as opposed to service and goodwill to others.

Another successful model of Productionism that all of us are familiar with because it has occurred in our lifetime is the Rap and Hip-Hop Cultures and Industries.  The Rap and Hip-Hop cultures and their money-making industries originated among young inner-city youth, who knew they had something inside of them, as well as all around them, which they could produce and multiply and which could change their economically impoverished lives in a big way, if only they could find a way to own, package, and commercialize it. Well, the rest is history!  These young, economically and socially deprived youth were/are Descendants of American Slaves, who started out as entry level entrepreneurs in the marketplace, but whose labor, productivity, and ownership have paid off big for them today, not only in the national marketplace but also in very lucrative global markets.

However, the economic successes of these entrepreneurial moguls and their economic savvy remain with them, out of reach to the collective members of the Descendants of American Slaves, and there lies a problem.  Productionism is about multiplication and sharing of ownership of work and wealth, made available to all people, which have been absent for several generations (about five decades now) in our collective communities and neighborhoods.  The absence of work and wealth and the multiplication thereof have created trigger-ready, economic powder kegs, waiting to explode between the police and blacks, as we are increasingly experiencing around the country, in communities and neighborhoods of Descendants of American Slaves.  The alternative to the current social unrest and eruptions is that we (as a collective group) must find ways to economically empower ourselves and each other by becoming economic-opportunity owners, who are economically productive, and who multiply wealth by sharing ownership of it, much like our Rap and Hip-Hop exemplars have done for themselves. However, the ideal paradigm of Productionism would be for our hip-hop moguls to take their economic models of success to the next level where they share and extend economic self-empowerment to their collective group.

To change our collective group’s economic circumstances in the land of their birth, our Rap and Hip-Hop exemplars (and others who have made it on the economic front) must reach back to their indigenous communities and neighborhoods to make greater, life-changing experiences available to the people, by providing them with real economic opportunities, economic multiplication, economic productivity, and economic ownership-sharing—all of which will result in socioeconomic empowerment for all, and not just for a select few. This then would be what an economy of Productionism, in its purest intent and function, would act like and look like.

The successes of the Rap and Hip-Hop Cultures and Industries prove that we, as a collective people, can become owners of our collective economic circumstances if we would only look inside of ourselves and value what we find there.  We are an original and creative people—it is in our DNA to rise above and out of our collective social and economic injustices—if we would only take the time to find our true selves and each other (as a collective group).

Here is a moment in time for our Rap and Hip-Hop moguls, as well as other wealthy black entrepreneurs (and there are several whose names will not be mentioned here) who are in positions to use their economic resourcefulness to help uplift our collective group, living with generational poverty and nihilism. The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that none of us are free, if there is one of us who is not. Also, a favorite line often spoken by members of the Kennedy family was, “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.”  John Donne, an eighteenth century English poet, wrote the famous sonnet, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Donne was keenly aware that no man is an island unto himself.  When the bell tolls for thee, it also tolls for me. We are indeed each other’s keeper. The point is that those of us who have been blessed—with more economic resourcefulness and successes than ever before in the history of American Slaves and their descendants— are faced with rare opportunities to seize unrivaled economic leadership, enabling them to inform an unprecedented socioeconomic movement, change lives, reform history, and transform ourselves and country into better specimen, all around.

The answer to the socioeconomic injustices facing Descendants of American Slaves is not to take our anger and struggle for equality only to the streets.  Instead, we should take the time to regroup and figure out how to socioeconomically empower our collective selves to move forward into this millennium without the baggage of economic injustices and inequalities around our necks, threatening to strangle us for generations more into the future.

Below are some first steps.

Our call is to our fellow, economically productive and business savvy Descendants of American Slaves and Native Americans (as well as to other kindred, well-meaning empathizers) who have successfully made it on the economic battlefield, to reach back and bring their brains, economic understanding, and resources to the table to help found economic empowerment headquarters around the country for our collective group, the Descendants of American Slaves, as well as for other disfranchised people.  If interested in responding to this call, please Google online, Norris Shelton, founder of American Slaves, Inc., for more details.

For more information about Productionism and the Third Way: The New Global Economy, contact Martin Smith, at his contact information, below.

Dr. Joyce Watford is an educator and a Descendant of American Slaves who participated in and lived through the Second Civil Rights Revolution of the Sixties.

Martin Smith is a Global Developer, Social Entrepreneur, and descendant of Cherokee and European ancestries. He can be reached at [email protected].

© 2014, 2016



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