Northeast Asia Peace Initiative

IAED Webinar on Economics Related to Korea Attracts Hundreds

United States—The International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAED) and the Washington Times Foundation continued their weekly webinar series with a May 11 session examining the application of economic principles to the Korean Peninsula. This session had 117 live participants and was viewed by 518 persons on Facebook.

The clarity of the speakers’ message and the importance of this session cannot be overstated. If there is to be peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and commensurate economic development in North Korea, it will only occur on a foundation of freedom. Political, economic and religious freedoms are the proven ingredients for economic flourishing in countries throughout the world. This webinar explains why this economic law is universally true and applies to the current reality in Korea.

Program Highlights

Roger Wetherall, the IAED national coordinator, warmly greeted the hundreds of attendees on Zoom and Facebook on this Tuesday afternoon, as is customary. However, what lay ahead was anything but ordinary. Dr. Michael Jenkins, President of UPF North America was introduced as the day's moderator.

Dr. Jenkins welcomed the audience to “Economics, Business and Trade Relations: Prospects for Peace on the Korean Peninsula.” He stated that the North Korean situation today is characterized by increasing isolation and economic stagnation. What can we expect from the business and economic communities of the world to ease tensions and create a climate of understanding that would be conducive to the opening of North Korea? He then introduced the three prominent guests: Congressman Bob McEwen, Rev. Dr. Art Lindsley, and Mr. Tom McDevitt.

Mr. Tom McDevitt, chairman of the Washington Times Global Media Group, chairman of the H.J. Magnolia Business Holdings, and international chairman of IAED, shared briefly about the origins of IAED in February 2020 at the International World Summit in Seoul, Korea. From the 6,000 world leaders at that summit, nearly 900 participants, including Mr. Jim Rogers and Mr. Neil Bush, initiated the framework for IAED. In essence, business and economics of the world must have a higher purpose than just gaining profits for organizations and individuals. He stated that we should look at Korea as a linchpin of economic harmony with many neighboring nations in the future. If North Korea were a free market, life would change dramatically, he alluded. He continued to lift IAED as being able to paint a picture of what that could look like. “IAED wants to attract business leaders who are like-minded and want to grow with a faith-based perspective that is inclusive,” Mr. McDevitt remarked. From the overall UPF perspective, he mentioned that as a network with IAED, the multidisciplinary approach would include media, religions, politics, academia, and arts and culture. This would pattern the “Seven Mountain Theory” developed by Mr. Bill Bright, resulting in the influence of cultures globally. He concluded with fond reflection on the history of friendship with the remaining presenters, Congressman McEwen and Rev. Dr. Lindsley. He highlighted their keen sense of applying biblical principles to governance and leadership and thanked them for their support of the Washington Times Foundation.

Dr. Michael Jenkins introduced the Rev. Dr. Art Lindsley as the vice president of Theological Initiatives for Faith, Works and Economics and author of multiple books. Rev. Dr. Lindsley began by listing seven points required of faith-based leaders committed to peacemaking:

  • Have a burning desire for peace.
  • Be fighters for peace.
  • Find areas of cooperation.
  • Never give up political, religious and economic freedom.
  • Economic freedom as a key to success.
  • Pursue the right kind of freedom.
  • Remember the “Micah Mandate”: from Micah 4:4.

He acknowledged that we all desire to work for peace, especially in the Korean Peninsula, and that it would be an uphill battle. He shared that human history has produced only 260 years of no war out of 3,421 most recent years. “War is constant,” he declared. He echoed Jesus’ words of “Blessed are the peacemakers,” emphasizing that the meaning of peace did not stop with absence of war only. In the Jewish faith, peace is wholeness, not merely the absence of conflict. “Food is a solution to peace,” he went on to say. He referenced the UN World Food Programme under Mr. David Beasley. “We should promote more peace and less conflict. Sports activities will help develop peace.” Then his remarks shifted to the 1,000 missing and unaccounted-for U.S. soldiers believed to still be in the DMZ. The humanitarian gesture of the return of 50 bodies of U.S. soldiers after President Trump and Kim Jung Un met in Singapore resulted in bringing closure for some families.

He was hopeful for the day when tourism could resume in North Korea. But, he cautioned, nations cannot be stable without three legs of what he called the Golden Triangle: Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, faith requires freedom. This is the requisite model for any society wishing to unleash wealth creation. 

His final remarks highlighted the rise of South Korea since the Korean war: “They are a model for countries who have risen out of poverty.” He stated that 25 countries have followed this path to prosperity, based on the right kind of freedom. There are two kinds of freedoms to choose from: the 1776 kind of the American Revolution, which he called Freedom to, and the 1789 kind of freedom from the French Revolution, which he called Freedom from. The latter produced freedom from the constraints from any authority and religion. The Micah Mandate, as he called it, comes from the favorite Bible verse of George Washington, Micah 4:4: “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.” This verse was the vision for America that Washington sought: that of private property ownership as being essential for a nation to flourish under the rule of law. 

Appreciative of Rev. Dr. Lindsley’s brilliant words covering fundamental principles, Dr. Jenkins moved on to the next speaker, Congressman Bob McEwen. He is a six-time elected congressman from Ohio who served on the Rules Committee and the House Select Committee. He was designated by President Trump to head the “1776 Commission” to educate a rising population of young people on the principles of the founding of the United States. His experience and love for economics became the core to his presentation.

“How is wealth created?” He continued to simplify an otherwise complex issue: “War destroys wealth—which is economic development—and without economic development, there is no peace.” He shared that President Trump knew this well as a developer and businessman. Comparing the two Koreas, North Korea—which has the greater arable and mineral-rich land—is last in the world economically while South Korea is near the top. The reason is freedom. A nation can prosper when the people produce things from what they have, to meet the needs and wants of the population. This brings out investment and development. He said that President Trump prepared a video at the summit with Chairman Kim in order to expose him to a better alternative than threats and sanctions.

Congressman McEwen explained that all wealth is created by three people: the saver (investor), the entrepreneur (creating products), and the producer (people). Under conditions of war and corruption, people retreat from investing. Government control (socialism) creates poverty. Economics is a law that prevents poverty. Further, free enterprise and a sound value system provide the right environment for people to prosper. “People must learn to live in harmony. We must work together globally,” he concluded.

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