- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Bosses & Power

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on December 30, 1999 at 10:59:22:

In Reply to: Bosses posted by Barry Stoller on December 29, 1999 at 10:54:07:

: That is why bosses were ELECTED---elected by all the workers.

Lets try that out with the above example (and it is a fine example).

Surgeon A is marginally competent, losing 15% of patients, but a joy to work for, very kind to his staff and handsome too! He protects less competent nurses from exposure, not liking evidence of inequality being an embarresment to, or adversely affecting their self perception.

Surgeon B is superb, losing only 3% of patients. However she is abrupt, disinterested in her staff except for their function as support to surgery. She rejects staff any less competent than is required, having exacting standards without regard to anyone's feelings.

I know that I would elect surgeon B in order to learn from the competence of her skill, and to know that patients are saved. Can we be confident that a whole group of voters, with imperfect knowledge, different values and tastes will vote for the best surgeon?

In other words - in matters of work, and in workers' necessary subordination to the judgement of the superior - should it not be essential that the superior is genuinely superior by any objective measure of ability and competence - and not merely popular, which is weakly indicative of ability (if at all)? How is this resolved where workers 'elect' bosses?

: (That, of course, is part the bourgeois historians leave out!)

That is the part that may marginally reduce the risk of the 'wrong boss' getting in a position of power, or merely make the whole process even more open to any angry or friendly whim. Where power is concerned people may seek it, much as politicians do now. Politicians are rarely voted in on account of their skills, but of their promises (often regarding the of largess promised to the voters). Power seeking people can sell to voters with charisma, charm and promises rather than ability - and people are evidently engaged with such. The danger would seem merely to have spread to every workplace.

: To understand Lenin's conception of 'unquestioning obedience' to a freely elected work supervisor 'subject to recall at any time' is to grasp the distinction between democratic centralism and bureaucratic centralism.

The distinction is important, and the former represents an improvement over the latter, but not necessarily such an improvement to appetise those who would exist under it.

: Experts and specialists will decree particular activities in the workplace by authority of their notable experience and training---as they do now.

Will there be any one who is not an expert of specialist due to their "notable experience and training"? What positions of authority will such ever be able to hold?

:Such authority will be nothing more than the will of the workers themselves

More accurately it is the authority of the one in power having gained agreement from a sufficiently large number of individual 'workers' to vote him/her in. Not quite as dramatic sounding - but precision, when explaining such a concept, is more important than granduer.

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