Louis Kelso

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= promoter of a Post-Scarcity Economy


From the Wikipedia: [1]

"Louis O. Kelso (1913-1991) was a lawyer, investor and economic thinker who sought to find a way to preserve capitalism from the competition of communism as an alternative within the context of the early Cold War and is credited with the creation of the first Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). His non-conformist "capitalism" might be compared to the peoples' capitalism ideas of G. K. Chesterton in which ownership is distributed to as many people as possible within the economy. Kelso developed the idea of Binary Economics to explain the need for expanded capital ownership in light of industrial production and the dominance of capital instead of labor. In 1956 Louis Kelso invented the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to put his ideas into practice. The first ESOP which was used by the employees of Peninsula Newspapers Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, to acquire the newspaper chain. Since that time, ESOPs have been used by hundreds of companies, including Avis, Exxon Mobil, Standard Oil of California and Atlantic Richfield. In 1958, Kelso collaborated with the philosopher Mortimer Adler to write The Capitalist Manifesto that is considered the primary source of his economic theories. Kelso and Adler followed this book with The New Capitalists (Random House, New York: 1961). Both books are readable online from the Kelso Institute. Louis O. Kelso had significant discussions concerning a Basic Income Guarantee with Russell B. Long and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Kelso has inspired many economic thinkers including James S. Albus, Robert Ashford and Norman Kurland." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Kelso)


Articles mentioning Kelso:


"Louis Kelso's Economic Vision for the 21st Century", via http://www.cesj.org/binaryeconomics/kelsovision.htm

"But Americans have also seen harbingers of troubles to come: the disappearance of entire sectors of labor as robots, artificial intelligence, and advanced office machines enter the work place. Globalization has encouraged the flight of jobs and capital to lower-wage regions of the world. Blue-collar workers and middle management alike have become targets for corporate downsizing. Today, six Ph.D. computer scientists from India can be hired over the Internet for the price of a comparable American. Thousands of jobs have been lost to a computer chip. Even in the midst of our prosperity most of us feel powerless to control our own futures or unable to find meaning in our current condition. There is an economic fault line running throughout America and the world which today’s economic gurus seem unable to explain or remedy: the widening wealth and income gap between a tiny rich elite and multitudes of poor in every country (including the United States), and between developed and developing nations. Surrounded by global communications, the global economy, and our global environment, we cannot help but feel the tremors inside and outside our borders. With the growing economic imbalances come bloody conflicts, widespread starvation, international crime and corruption, depletion of the planet’s non-replenishable resources, unconscionable destruction of the environment and systematic suppression of human potential and life-enhancing technology. Seeing through the chaos of our rapidly changing world, one post-scarcity visionary of the 20th Century, lawyer-economist Louis Kelso, understood the power of technology either to liberate or dehumanize people. Popularly known as the inventor of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), Kelso observed that modern capital tools and their phenomenal power to "do more with less" have offered people an escape from scarcity to shared abundance. As a lawyer Kelso also saw that the design of our "invisible" institutional environment and social tools determines the quality of people’s relationship to technology. Intangibles, such as our laws and financial systems, determine which people will be included or excluded from sharing of access to equal economic opportunity, power and capital incomes. Access to capital ownership, asserted Kelso, is as fundamental a human right as the right to the fruits of one’s labor. Furthermore, Kelso argued, the democratization of capital credit is the "social key" to universalizing access to future ownership of productive wealth, so that every person, as an owner, could eventually gain income independence through the profits from one’s capital.


In the 20th century, many lived lives of quiet desperation, struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, or from hand-to-mouth, with no ownership stake in society’s wealth-producing assets. Most 20th century Americans were limited to a choice between the wage-systems of capitalism and the wage-systems of socialism. Many lost hope that they and their descendants would ever share in the American Dream. Just as Lincoln provided opportunities for propertyless people in 19th century America to gain a piece of the world’s shrinking land frontier, 21st century Americans will gain their ownership share in the limitless technological growth frontier. In the 21st century, Americans will be given a new choice, a "just third way" opened up by Louis Kelso, an alternative model of development that transcends both Wall Street capitalism and all forms of socialism. Choosing this road will lead America back to its revolutionary roots to a more participatory, unified and empowering "Second American Revolution" and a more just, free and efficient market economy. America will then again serve as "the last best hope of mankind."


"Making Another World Possible: The Torah, Louis Kelso, and the Problem of Poverty"

URL = http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1550830707002467

"Why is it that after centuries of concerted efforts to eliminate it, and decades of unprecedented economic growth that should have accomplished it, poverty not only is still with us but actually is increasing? Starting with a passage in the Old Testament, the source of moral behavior for believers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, this author argues that the postulation of the labor theory of value and scarcity by Adam Smith, and accepted as part of the basic framework of the discipline of economics, has prevented us from formulating public policies that would enable us to implement the way the God of the Abrahamic faiths intended the poor to be cared for. Substituting modifications in economic theory proposed originally by Louis Kelso, a model acknowledging the independent contribution of capital in the productive process is proposed that would enable us to formulate policies for the production and distribution of wealth and that would make the scourge of human poverty a bad dream of the past."