Spiritual adviser and healer turned celebrity spiritualist by his appearances on Oprah Winfrey has offered nine measures to convert the American economy from war to peace. Pointing out that we are the world’s leading supplier of deadly weapons, spending more on military expenditures than the next sixteen nations combined, he offers nine steps of transformation. While they may fall under the category of fanciful (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”) under the prevailing militaristic mindset, I find them both appealing and ultimately inevitable. Here they are as they appear in the January 11, 2009 issue of Tikkun Magazine (“Memo to Obama: How to Convert to a Peace Economy”):
1. Scale out arms dealing and make it illegal by the year 2020.
2. Write into every defense contract a requirement for a peacetime project.
3. Subsidize conversion of military companies to peaceful uses with tax incentives and direct funding.
4. Convert military bases to housing for the poor.
5. Phase out all foreign military bases.
6. Require military personnel to devote part of their time to rebuilding infrastructure.
7. Call a moratorium on future weapons technologies.
8. Reduce armaments like destroyers and submarines that have no use against terrorism and were intended to defend against a superpower enemy that no longer exists.
9. Fully fund social services and take the balance out of the defense and homeland security budgets.