- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Democratic control of business

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on November 30, 1999 at 10:30:58:

In Reply to: keep the faith posted by Gee on November 29, 1999 at 14:39:53:

: : Omitting that the 100 workers would ALSO own a 1% stake / vote in EVERY OTHER CONCERN in society, perhaps 99 other concerns (= 100% stake).

: So what? So what exactly? That stake is meaningless in their real lives - where they report to a shapeless mass as boss.

SDF: Ah, but if the relation between businesses becomes the relation between participants in a democracy, then all bosses are subject to democratic control.

: So what if they are a miniscule part of their neighbours boss at the same time? It changes nothing for their experience of working,

SDF: If everyone has a stake in every business, the experience of working can be changed by VOTE. Sure, there are realistic limitations to how this can be done, but socialist business can be surprisingly flexible and still keep the trains running on time.

: and of being parted from the fruit of their labor by the model socialists themselves use!

SDF: Actually, when MONEY is NO LONGER the INTERMEDIARY in the RELATION BETWEEN BUSINESSES, when businesses are no longer consumers and producers haggling over price, when businesses are no longer creating crises of overproduction to offer the lowest possible price to consumers, when business are no longer conspiring to smash labor movements so that they can drive the price of an hour's work to the wages of starvation -- when all of these capitalist practices have been ABOLISHED by the DEMOCRATIC CONTROL of ALL NECESSARY businesses, people can then vote to make work into something that is fun for everyone. When the holders of democratic power are the consumers and producers, and not merely a small owning class, then what controls you is the EMPATHETIC relation you have to the millions of other democratic controllers of business, such relation and such control as you have over them as well, since you're all workers as well as owners.

: Your just evading this point by imagining that the above will 'make it all ok'. It does nothing except to diffuse the 'boss' accross every face they see with no one person able to make any diferrence or have any control over their own lives

SDF: People have never, ever, had "any control over their own lives" AS ISLANDS, since the very fact of their survival was CONTROLLED by their placement in surviving communities of people. Babies need their mothers, children need some rudiment of education, butchers need bakers, even Robinson Crusoe needed a Friday to do the dirty work.

The question at hand is one of how the relationship between people shall be arranged by people themselves. It's not a matter of erasing dependence altogether, since there is no way we are going to become a world of six billion self-enclosed people who each provide for ourselves the whole means of our subsistence. It's just not realistic. It's a matter of this: shall people "give up on" the possibility of further agreement about the means of their mutual substistence, and trust in MONEY and ONLY MONEY (i.e. the DICTATORSHIP of money) to mediate between them, or can the matter of the RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PEOPLE be decided democratically. Is dependence to be replaced by interdependence, that is the question at hand.

The dictatorship of money is a dictatorship that rules the world today, through it's various names of World Bank and IMF and WTO and Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations, its various communiques are backed up by the force of the guns and bombs of NATO, which has, since Serbia was bombed, been OBVIOUSLY and not merely COVERTLY the REAL center of global power.

"Getting rid of the State" is a fine goal, but it is only a fantasy unless the real relations of people, to each other, can be changed to end the domination of money over people. For it is in money that the present-day global dictatorship consists of.

: hardly any more than in the harshest criticism of capitalism.

SDF: Please do not judge the effectiveness of a criticism of capitalism merely on the grounds of its harshness.

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