In this video,
A conversation with my former employee – Dirty Capitalist Confession Session
in which the American Johnson, who feels guilty about his conduct as a business owner in his younger years, says he would have been happier as part of a worker co-op, something important comes up and is only half-discussed, namely the different kind of working life when we can all participate in the business decisions of our workplace.
What gets discussed is the benefit from it, namely you are not being ruled from a top with no means of knowing that the management may be planning your lay-off or firing, and your expertise may actually make it into the decision making that may otherwise be flawed because of ignorance at the managerial (and salesmanship) level, and misunderstandings can be better avoided, and holding our cards close becomes less necessary, and those in key positions will no longer have to bear too much painful responsibility, and so on…
And I basically agree, often arguing for the same, but it also occurred to me – thinking back to when I was working in a similar small family-like company – and that company came down on its luck because of badly timed growth investment and crushing blows from mega corporations invading its market, that we (the people in that company) would also have had to endure a lot of suffering discussing how to survive the financial disaster, who could survive how much pay cut for how long, or who would have to be let go. (The company got so crushed by the mega corporations at the point that its ability to borrow money was gone that it was forced by its bank to slash its workforce by half within a month. That’s how dire the situation was. That’s why even democratic decision making would surely have had to deal with lay-offs.)
This consideration drives me into the thought realm of the universal basic income (a UBI, better thought of as a citizens dividend when financed not by taxing middle income workers but only the rich as a method of reshaping our wealth and power pyramid into an egalitarian broad building with No Rich and No Poor). Because, if every earned dollar has at least another dollar going to the ultra rich at the top, as things are right now, many of us are struggling to make ends meet. But if that dollar was not robbed but stayed with each of us (by cap-taxing the wealthy and shaping the revenue into a UBI), we could all be way more relaxed in our working lives and business management. We could shape our workplaces as worker co-ops in a far more relaxed economy where no worker or worker’s relative would have to worry about sinking into poverty because all the money we earn from labor would only be extra money, not our full livelihood. Business downturns could be handled much more easily.
It’s something to think about for those who worry that a UBI could only be a hand-out to placate the poor, or those who regard it as too much state power becoming too much burden on the private sector. I really think that a correctly done UBI (a citizens dividend) would lead to a far more relaxed economy that would benefit all the unemployed, all employees, and even business managers and owners; in other words: everybody.
It is our current stressful economies that lead to brutal lay-offs, slashing of salaries and benefits, warlike struggles between companies, manipulating and cheating of customers, ruthless destruction of the environment (even our planet’s human-life-supporting climate!). It leads to offshoring jobs, illegal employment of undocumented migrants, worker-income-depriving automation (rather than reduced working hours at unreduced income), and to bloated pharmaceutical prices, because profits become the dominating decision making factor, and people all over the economy are desperate. Desperate people will do desperate things that often are catastrophic.
A relaxed economy would be far better, and it relies on a principle of there never being poverty for anyone. Additionally, to make it happen, there also must be no ridiculous richness for anyone turning that person into a modern day god-king ruling over thousands or millions of fellow people whom he or she rarely perceives as fellow people but as commodities.
Let’s aim for a relaxed economy, shall we?
A soon to come continuation on thoughts about this video: The Left-Right Division when we Fundamentally Agree
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