Am I hurting anyone if I'm rich?
Why trickle-down economics is basically a bunch of hooey.
Originally written for Everything2
Sun Feb 04 2007 at 13:53:22

Actually, there is a problem with a small percentage of the people with a lot more spending power than everyone else. In a market economy, each dollar you spend is a like a vote for what is valuable, and what should be produced. This works fine if everyone has relatively equal amounts of dollars to spend - you get something like economic democracy. However, if some people have lots more votes than everyone else, then the things they want get lots more votes. This draws resources (raw materials, equipment, labor, etc) away from producing things for the average person, and results in more production of luxury goods.

The result is that things get more expensive for the average person, because resources have been drawn away to serve the wealthy. In addition, you traditionally assume people who are well paid are more valuable to the economy. This is not true when there is large spending inequality. Those serving the wealthy (limo drivers, personal assistants, etc) are paid more not because they are more valuable to the economy, but because the wealthy can spend more. Those serving the poor are paid less because the poor simply have less money to spend. The result is an economy that more and more rewards serving the few people that least need additional people catering to them.

You might say there is a "hierarchy of value" (extrapolated from Maslow)...

There are some things everyone must have so they can survive: food, oxygen, warmth, etc. Basic stuff.

Once they've paid for their most basic stuff, then they spend their money on other stuff.

The more money they have, the more "esoteric" their later spending becomes.

Pearl divers in general are probably not your richest people in the world - so what do they do if they have a pearl? Or instead of asking that question, let's ask what would they do if you gave them a Picasso or Rembrandt? Pretty much the same thing they would do with the pearls - sell it to rich people who would actually use it, and then spend the money on more basic necessities, like running water and electricity.

So why aren't there more of these poor cliff divers producing food, building homes, laying pipes, or building power plants for themselves to use? Why do they instead dive for pearls? The answer is that in the economy in which they live, wealth has been concentrated. When wealth is concentrated, it becomes more profitable to serve the rich than it is to serve people of your own class - thus poverty continues on in the lower classes, and on, and on, and on.

This is capitalism's own economic calculation problem.


Demand is not measured in units of people, it is measured in units of money
Originally written for thisisby.us
May. 05, 2008 at 01:21pm

A market economy can work pretty well to determine what needs to be produced, provided there's one condition: that everyone has relatively equal amounts of spending power. Consider the concept of supply and demand: in theory, the more demand there is for some product or service, a market economy will be encouraged to increase the supply for that product or service.

However, there is a flaw in the theory above that many pro-capitalists overlook: demand (in a capitalist economy) is not measured in units of people, it is measured in units of money. Thus you can have 99% of the people "demanding" basic necessities of life, but it won't matter a bucket of spit compared to a rich man with millions of times more money, who is demanding luxury goods. As the gap between rich and poor increases, the market economy will be focused more and more on producing luxury goods for the oppressive minority.

In order to have a market economy that serves everyone, rather than the wealthy few, spending power must be relatively equal.

If wealth is concentrated in stocks, then employees should assume democratic control over their companies, thus rendering stocks worthless.

If wealth is concentrated in the hoarding of commodities, then people who will actually use those commodities should just take them from the storage areas where they are just being held for speculation.

If wealth is concentrated in paper money or gold, then people should just stop accepting that paper money or gold as legal tender, and start using something else as legal tender.

All these acts are non-violent. However, you may be attacked while carrying out these activities, in which case fighting back would only be self-defense.


Comments from thisisby.us

by mudgeon
on May. 05, 2008 at 12:25pm
2 Votes

Man can no more invent or command economy than he can invent or command the weather. Natural systems are things we inherit; and we obey them, not the other way around.


by seeya
on May. 05, 2008 at 12:31pm
2 Votes

The economic structure of a nation is held up the the laws governing that nation. When the (political) laws change, the economic structure will change. I am not attempting to change natural laws - such as the interaction between supply and demand. However, if political laws change such that people have relatively equal amounts of spending power, then even with the natural laws of supply and demand, things wouldn't be so bad for people.


by mudgeon
on May. 05, 2008 at 02:49pm
0 Votes

A law can't mandate equal spending power, primarily because laws don't have any money. People do.


by jlarsen
on May. 05, 2008 at 03:24pm
2 Votes

I can't agree to employees taking "democratic" control of the companies they work for - that would just be some sort of communistic/anarchistic takeover. Though I'm sure it would be affective.

There is some truth to what you say though, about the market focusing on luxury goods if a disproportionate amount of money is going the rich, that will demand those things, and far less going to the poor, who will demand necessities.

It's the relative effect of inflation. The price of gas, food, base consumer goods such as clothing, utilities etc. could triple, or even quadruple - effectively cutting the cost of living for the working class in half or one third or less. But to the extremely wealthy, the effect would be so small it would go unoticed.

The current energy crisis (whether contrived or real) affects every single sector of the economy, except the energy companies themselves, and luxury items with their extreme markups would be buffered from the shock for the most part.

If a gallon of milk jumps from 2.99 to 4.99 (as it did in a matter or weeks here), that effects a family in the $30k income bracket a heck of a lot more than someone in the $750k income bracket. Those cost increases do to the rising cost of food and energy will eventually begin to effect the luxury goods markets, but not as dramatically, and there is a serious lag as it will take at least a year (and probably longer) for wage increases for the common man to catch up to rapid inflation.

In the mean time we are entering a recession, the nations output is dropping, and our economy is suffering stagflation.

The market has a way of correcting these things on its own. The various actions of the federal reserve and the government are designed to lessen the impact of a recession by making it less severe, or not last as long.

However, by continually aiding the recovery, they are potentially just staving off an even worse economic event that might be even worse when it does hit as a result of the long term market not being allowed to correct itself.

Sometimes you just have to let nature take its course. Of course if the energy market wasn't so regulated by political mayhem, that would be easier said than done.

The worst, I believe is yet to come.


by seeya
on May. 05, 2008 at 03:37pm
1 Vote

"A law can't mandate equal spending power, primarily because laws don't have any money. People do."

Laws can work in either direction. For example, the king can levy heavy taxes on his subjects, and thus fill his treasury and make himself rich. On the other hand, you can legalize the democratic takeover of companies, which would tend to make wealth distribution more equal.

"I can't agree to employees taking 'democratic' control of the companies they work for - that would just be some sort of communistic/anarchistic takeover. Though I'm sure it would be affective."

Well, since I closely identify with anarcho-communists, I don't see much of a problem with that =]


by jlarsen
on May. 05, 2008 at 04:24pm
2 Votes

"On the other hand, you can legalize the democratic takeover of companies, which would tend to make wealth distribution more equal."

Which would essentially be legalizing theft. Not that some wealth distribution isn't needed, but that would only cause massive destabilization, and in the end things would get worse before they got better - if they even EVER got better.

The only real way to solve the problem is to exterminate corruption, and to encourage and accomodate increases in education levels. A better social safety net, something comparable to those nations that are better off than we are, would also be helpful.

The problem is that your calling it a "democratic" takeover, it isn't, it's just theft, and it isn't democratic. Besides, if such as thing did occur, like has occured in Venezuela, it would quickly spiral downhill as there would be more petty (and not so petty) criminals mascarading as your fellow 'anarcho-communists' in the mix waiting to double-cross their co-conspirators and steal more than their fair share from common collection than the current brand of crooks. In the meantime the social stability and infrastructure would be left to amateurs already pushed to the max, and you'd get a massive social collapse.

The only reason Chavez and the criminals that helped him takeover in Venezuela are relatively successful is because of OPEC and the high price of oil. If the oil market weren't controlled, Chavez's dictatorship would collapse so fast it would be a blur.

I'm using Chavez and Venezuela as an example because that's the closest thing I can think of going on in the world today to what you seem to be talking about.

This past semester I had the priveledge of being taught by a proffessor from Venezuela, with a PhD from a U.S. university. She's worked for graduate school in both south america and the united states, and for the venezuelan government and the U.S. government. Her degree is in ECONOMICS. She has been very insightful into what is happening in her home country as a result of Chavez's "democratic takeover" of Venezuela, and the devastating effects it has had on the people and the economy.

I can't for the life of my figure out why our media isn't more focused on the goings on down there, but his reign is nearer to collapse than most people who aren't in direct communication with people living there can understand. The country is simply experiencing a collapse, there are frequent blackouts because his bandits are too busy looting the governments treasury to run the utility companies, inflation is higher than anything the U.S. has ever experienced, even during the great depression, and there have been significant seizures of computer files indicating Chavez's regime in serious crimes.

The people there absolutely hate him and want his reign of terror to end. People don't riot or speak out for fear of death (and rightfully so). The people are praying for a sharp decline in the price of oil that pull his little house of cards down around him in one final sweep. They want the country to get back to where it was before he took over, from what my professor tells me, the economy and the quality of life there before Chavez was really quite good, and now it is becoming beyond terrible.

Kinda ironic that it is the global oil price fixing that is allowing a dictator that hates Bush so much, to stay in business.

Needless to say, that even a more well intentioned "democratic" takeover, would eventually collapse in much the same way, regardless of where it happened or what the circumstances were.

If you want to "democratically" takeover ownership of the company you work for... buy some stock.


by seeya
on May. 05, 2008 at 05:15pm
2 Votes

"Which would essentially be legalizing theft."

The conquest / settling of any area is legalized theft, wouldn't you agree?

"The problem is that your calling it a 'democratic' takeover, it isn't, it's just theft, and it isn't democratic."

The boss has one vote. The employees have all the other votes. That sounds democratic to me. Why not to you?

"I'm using Chavez and Venezuela as an example because that's the closest thing I can think of going on in the world today to what you seem to be talking about."

I'm thinking more along the lines of what's happening in Argentina. Chavez isn't so much about complete control by company employees, but rather "co-management" - which is just another way of saying they get some input, but not total self-management.

Look up "Autogestion" and the documentary "The Take" on wikipedia.


by mudgeon
on May. 05, 2008 at 06:58pm
2 Votes

The king could never levy taxes at his whim. Every king is on suffrance, and many's the royal head that's rolled on that account. George III levied one too many, back around 1775, and lost a continent. But the thing starry-eyed theorists, like Marx, Castro and you can't seem to understand is, you can't hijack a system without breaking it. The Golden Goose must be wooed, not forced; finagled for, not stolen.


by seeya
on May. 05, 2008 at 08:12pm
3 Votes

"The Golden Goose must be wooed, not forced; finagled for, not stolen."

Totally agree. Propaganda is key - any dictator worth his salt knows he has to control the media - restrict criticisms of the current regime and constantly try to convince his subjects that there is no better alternative.

Of course, this doesn't just happen in dictatorships. It also happens in capitalist "democracies" - those who own and control the mass media have to constantly try to convince their subjects that capitalism is the only way, just like dictators try to convince their subjects that dictatorship is the only way.

If you wanted to live in a real democracy though, the control of the mass media would have to be taken out of the hands of the few, and put in the hands of the many - simply because the media is such a fundamental part of the functioning of democracy.


by mudgeon
on May. 06, 2008 at 10:47am
1 Vote

Oh goody! Let's just steal the media, then! Take it away from people who now "own" it, in the sense that they operate newspapers and broadcast stations, and give it to, uh...you, right? You or some other properly enlightened, benevolent despot.


by seeya
on May. 06, 2008 at 11:32am
3 Votes

What part of "taken out of the hands of the few, and put in the hands of the many" don't you understand?

Maybe you can't count? I would say a despot is one person - one despot, one person. "Many" implies more than one person - or so my dictionary tells me. Do you have a different dictionary?

The media is a vital part of a functioning democracy. If the media isn't reporting everything it needs to because it's controlled by a small number of people pushing their own agenda, then the process of voting is useless, because the voters would not be fully informed. This is why the media needs to be under democratic control.

...and by "democratic control", I don't mean if 51% want to broadcast one type of story, those are the only types of stories it broadcasts. Instead, 51% will have control over 51% of the stories broadcast.


by mudgeon
on May. 06, 2008 at 04:42pm
0 Votes

Nothing can be put in the hands of "the many" other than voting, because everything we do these days is to some extent a specialty, and too many cooks spoil the broth. If it takes ten people now to run a successfuly radio station, it'll take about the same number when your thieves have taken over. There aren't enough chairs in there for "the many."


by seeya
on May. 06, 2008 at 06:55pm
3 Votes

And what's wrong with voting?

Would you say your argument can also be applied to argue against democracy in government? Would you say "there aren't enough chairs in there for the many" to run a government? You would prefer to live in a dictatorship like North Korea because there are less cooks to spoil the broth?


by mudgeon
on May. 06, 2008 at 11:18pm
1 Vote

I'm fine with voting; it's my favorite system evah! But yeah, it's clear that "the many" can't run a government, or do anything else. There's just too many of 'em, and they're too diverse. Nothing would ever get done.


by seeya
on May. 07, 2008 at 11:59am
3 Votes

So what is it that you support exactly? That government be run by "some properly enlightened, benevolent despot"?

There's an argument against democracy that claims it can lead to mob rule. One common quote is that "it's two wolves and one sheep deciding what to have for dinner". See also tyranny of the majority.

There's a wide range of how much of the population gets to make the big decisions.

If only 1% of the population gets to make the decisions, then 99% may suffer.

If 51% of the population gets to make the decisions, then 49% may suffer. While 49% may suffer, this is not a valid argument to support allowing 1% to make the decisions, which would be even worse.

If you require that 100% agree before a decision is made, then nobody will suffer, but decision making becomes harder and harder.

There is an anarchist concept known as decentralized democracy. That means the more someone is affected by a decision, the more say he has in that decision. If a decision barely affects 99% of the people, then none of them get to vote. The decision to kill someone affects the victim more than anyone else, so the victim should have more say in the decision than everyone else. The decision over what you eat for lunch barely affects anybody else, so obviously you don't have the entire society voting on what you have for lunch. In cases like these, it becomes a democracy of one - thus anarchy.


by mudgeon
on May. 07, 2008 at 05:21pm
1 Vote

Who gets to determine how much a given person is affected by a decision? Some clearinghouse of decision determiners? The many?
Moe's been raping and killing folks. The jury wants to fry him. Moe's more affected than they are; so Moe gets the only vote; so Moe walks; so people continue getting raped and killed.


by seeya
on May. 07, 2008 at 07:31pm
3 Votes

Even if we assumed your silly example came to pass and Moe went free, then there also wouldn't be anybody to stop some random Joe from killing Moe as soon as he left the court room.

You might imagine I'm against the death penalty and more in favor of rehabilitation than punishment. However, that doesn't mean I'd let Moe walk - the decision to let him continue to rape and kill obviously affects those victims too - everyone's safety is affected if he's allowed to do anything he wants.

Decentralized democracy is just a principle, like "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" or "thou shalt not kill" are principles. There will be gray areas in the application of any principle, but the goal is to get everyone to agree to the principles and start their justifications based on the principles, rather than argue whether the principle itself is right or wrong.


by mudgeon
on May. 07, 2008 at 09:44pm
0 Votes

Well, "everyone" is not going to agree to decentralized democracy, because I won't. Big promise.


by seeya
on May. 07, 2008 at 10:21pm
2 Votes

Not everyone agrees with "thou shalt not kill" either. Still, it doesn't stop many Christians from trying to convince others that it's the right thing.

Even in your argument against decentralized democracy, you are claiming it would be bad to allow Moe to walk because others will be hurt more by allowing Moe to walk. You are basically using a tenet of decentralized democracy to argue against it.

You would only truly be against decentralized democracy if you felt that people who are barely affected by a decision should have equal say as someone who was greatly hurt by the decision.


by mudgeon
on May. 07, 2008 at 11:33pm
0 Votes

Actually, I'm for what we have: the vote, by citizens who are at least 18, for elected representatives who will in turn vote for things within their proper power and competence; i.e., things not prohibited by the Constitution. "Decentralized democracy" sounds like theft to me, and it also sounds as hare-brained and hopelessly theoretical as communism.
You've been patient and courteous in your replies, and I've been the same snide, cranky old bastard I always am, so I'll bow out now and cede the field to you. Be well.


by seeya
on May. 08, 2008 at 11:51am
3 Votes

If the majority of people voted to exterminate the Jews, would that be a good thing? While it would violate the principles of decentralized democracy, it wouldn't violate the principles of the US Constitution.

Even if we don't take as extreme an example as genocide, what if the majority of the people voted against eating meat and cheese at the same time? You have a piece of meat and you have a piece of cheese. The new law says that while you can eat them separately, you're not allowed to eat them at the same time. Sounds like a completely silly violation of your freedom right? While this would be perfectly fine under the US Constitution, it would violate the principle of decentralized democracy.


by Xigent
on Jun. 14, 2008 at 01:54am
4 Votes

I've enjoyed reading your posts. Your comments on the distribution of spending power are right on, AFAIC.

But there are other reasons, aside from economic theory, that spending power must be more evenly distributed. They may ultimately be seen as more cogent and thus more assimilable by the populace.

You may already be familiar with the relatively new discipline known as Population Health. It's much bigger in Canada and Europe than in the Homeland because it basically propounds an epidemiological basis for Marxist theory (although its proponents know better than to say that publicly).

It differs from traditional public health in a number of ways. But one of the main ones is in its insistence on the importance, to the health of all members of a society, of reducing income disparity. (There are other determinants of health, like housing, employment, early childhood development, social ties, etc. But income disparity affects all those.)

What the "new" evidence shows is simple (and, for some us, intuitive): Societies with more even income distributions (and thus spending power) are healthier at all socioeconomic levels and among all ethnic and racial groups than are societies with the huge disparities we have in the Homeland. Japan and the Scandinavian countries are cases in point.

Health, especially when the wealthy find out that income maldistribution affects their health, holds promise because it's a less threatening, more evidence-based way to promote the benefits of equitable income redistribution. Even right-wingers have a hard time refuting it. (They reject it anyway, of course.)

There are lots of textual web sites about it. More interesting than that are some film-clip synopses of a documentary series by California Newsreel originally aired on PBS about it and two audio podcasts from CBC Radio.

These were broadcast in early 2008:

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? "a 7-part documentary series exploring racial & socioeconomic inequalities in health" (this is very, very good)

Sick People or Sick Societies? (podcast of CBC Ideas broadcast): Part I and Part II

CBC Ideas web site (Sick People or Sick Societies? podcast is described here but no longer downloadable)

So, FWIW. Hope this isn't too far off topic!


by seeya
on Jun. 14, 2008 at 10:20am
3 Votes

Thanks Xigent


by Xigent
on Sep. 06, 2008 at 11:10am
4 Votes

Found my way back to this post, I know not how.

But it proved a rich experience. I just love to read right-wing proclamations about How the World Works. Leaves a smile on my face for hours afterwards. (Well, except on those occasions when they deal with the discomfort of cognitive dissonance by trying to bomb the world into compliance.)

Here's a case in point, from the comment above by that master of simplistic obfuscation, mudgeon:

A law can't mandate equal spending power, primarily because laws don't have any money. People do.

Its corollary is:

A law can't mandate speed limits that apply to everyone, primarily because laws do not have engines and wheels. Cars do.

With these kinds of laissez-faire delusions popping up all over, who needs to Saturday-morning cartoons?


by hewrites
on Sep. 06, 2008 at 01:48pm
1 Vote

I couldn't help myself. This was such an interesting post.

" If wealth is concentrated in stocks, then employees should assume democratic control over their companies, thus rendering stocks worthless. "

Wealth is not concentrated in stocks. It has never been concentrated in stocks, and it will never be concentrated in stocks. It is concentrated in bonds. Real-Estate. Not Chattle property.

Commodites are movable entities. Therefore they are chattle property. Wealth is not concentrated in chattle property.

Wealth is not concentrated in reserve notes or a gold, silver, or platinum standard. Nor a diamond standard. These are all chattle property and subject to devaluation.

Economies fluctuate based on their inherent land value, which can be manipulated by internal or external entites. All chattle property is malleable. It is easily manipulated and even more so when land values are manipulated.

All markets can be controlled based on the consumer and their knowledge of how to control them. For the consumer to control a market place in a free market environment, the first thing he/she must do is have will power to direct and control futures.

There is this assumed idea that markets correct themselves, when the truth is people influence all market corrections. There is no finite formula to market corrections. They are flexible and manipulated. Once again, manipulated by those that have knowledge of how to manipulate them.

Legalizing a democratic, or timocratic takeover of a company is Socialism or Communism. Neither idea represents a free market society. Apples and oranges. Can't have both. Pick one. Free market economy or People's Republic/AKA Nationalized elitist society with a very poor base (in due time).

Communism dosen't work because it always become top heavy. Chavez is not a socialist, but a full fledged communist with the common goal of communist. To control the will of the people/peasant through manipulated idealism and fear of free market societies. He is rich, they are poor. He will become richer, they will become poorer. He co-manages nothing. He dictates policy whether the people like it or not.

In a free market economy, the poor can become wealthy, if they choose to. It is not an easy task, but it is possible. In a Communist environment, one is born into the party politic. It is extremely elitist in this concept. Communism creates kings. It is misogynistic and dosen't leave room for queens.

Women would never be considered for leadership roles in a Communistic environment.

Therefore all the People (woman) are not inclusive.

People need to stop complaining about media controlling things, either way. Conservative or Liberal. There is no such thing as media control. Media can be manipulated, but the mind can seek information that makes sense once the basics of something is understood. Like how markets and societies operate. Like economies.

Could health and wealth distribution also be affected by diet? Japanese and Scandinavian diets dictate so.

Junk food societies normally have the worse health problems. Therefore the cost of Universal health care is higher in these lard ridden societies. When it is a natural thing to eat fish as opposed to beef and pork, you will have a healthier society in general. This would naturally make the cost of health care much more affordable to the individual and country in a fish eating society. Less heart disease. The Japanese out smoke Americans, but they live longer and have less heart disease.

The benefits of absorbing Omega-3 also promotes intelligence.

Americans tend to wear out their bodies, and their bodies usefulness, far ahead of its designed expiration date. But, I will say they have fun doing it.

So this distribution of wealth on an even basis in Japanese society could possibly have more to do with access to generations living longer and understanding market trends, while passing this information on to their youth, who respect their elders and actually listen to them.

In fact, it is well known that Japanese society will soon suffer from old age disease. There is a problem with not having a children and they will soon become an over-developed country requiring outsourced labor to survive in the global economy. Outsourced labor is expensive. A lesson they can learn from America.

Sorry about the long comment.


by seeya
on Sep. 07, 2008 at 01:40am
1 Vote

"Legalizing a democratic, or timocratic takeover of a company is Socialism or Communism... Communism dosen't work because it always become top heavy."

Don't you see the contradiction in these 2 statements? How does democracy lead to "top heavy"? "Top heavy" sounds more like dictatorship, and what could be more authoritarian than a boss / CEO who has final say over the employees? A democratic workplace would be the exact opposite of that. It seems you're engaging in what is known as "doublethink".

"Socialism or Communism. Neither idea represents a free market society."

I think socialism / communism can exist either with a market, or without it. What is your definition of "free market" anyway? Is it an economy in which the government doesn't get involved? If so, then when the employees of a company decide to assume democratic control of the company, the government will say, "Sorry, this is an economic matter. So we're not getting involved."

"Chavez is not a socialist, but a full fledged communist with the common goal of communist."

How do you distinguish a communist from a socialist anyway? Is a socialist just a watered-down communist? Since this post makes no mention of communism, socialism, or Chavez, why is it you assume I automatically support all of them?

In the interest of full-disclosure, I consider myself an anarcho-syndicalist. If you are unfamiliar with the term, I suggest you search the web. I have my own criticisms of Chavez - the concept of "co-management" is one of them. I don't believe the employees should have to share management with anyone else, not the government, not the "owners" - I believe the employees should have full self-management.

"Women would never be considered for leadership roles in a Communistic environment."

So funny. Well, maybe not funny - depending on what you consider a communist to be. For example, if you believe someone can only be called a communist if he derives all his political beliefs from books written by dead writers like Marx, Proudhon, Emma Goldman, or Kropotkin, then sure, you can make broad statements that "all communists" believe this, or "all communists" believe that. However, if your definition of communist is anyone who believes in some sort of economic equality, who may draw from any future political source and may be in the process of inventing their own theories, then no, you can't say "all communists" believe this or that.


by hewrites
on Sep. 07, 2008 at 04:11am
1 Vote

There is no thing as democratic take over of a company. The employees of a company may become the major share holders of said company, then they become the owners, not the employees. Please don't kid yourself. What you're speaking of is a co-operative. What I'm engaging in is common sense.

Let's say, I own said company. The employees vote to take it from me?

Employees of a company decide certain things through unions, but there is a price to pay with a union. Beyond union dues, a unanimous vote to strike sends everyone who is union to the street until the strike is settled.

"If so, then when the employees of a company decide to assume democratic control of the company,..."

A free market economy is where ownership/property rights are voluntary at an arranged price between seller and buyers. Owner and purchasers. What you are speaking of, democratic take-over, assumption of contol, is theft. And when one votes for theft of that which they do not own or have no investement in, such as stock in the company, then there are consequences to pay.

Name a company that is a democratic entity. I'll look into its P/E ratios and get back to you. What you are suggesting is a sinlge vote for every employee, profit sharing, perhaps? No one in charge? Everyone in charge? Or, decisions made by popular demand. What if the voting is 50/50? Equal. No decision is made. So one side has to out vote the other in order to approve anything at all. That would be a co-op.

What could be more top heavy that a CEO/boss?

A dictatorship. With a CEO/boss, you can quit if you don't like the job. With a dictatorship you can continue to work from the gulag. Anarchist communism is controlled by the whole community and the product of labor is collectivized in a pool of goods and distributed "according to need."

According to need. Some need more than others. Top heavy!

What you actually are is a Anarcho-capitalist.

"I think socialism / communism can exist either with a market, or without it."

It can and it does. It is state owned business. But it is not "free market" business.

Governments handle all types of labor disputes when it affects the total economy. The Boeing strike will affect the total economy. 27,000 machinist on strike. Given time, if it last long enough, the government will step in a tell them to handle the business at hand. It happened before with the ATC (Air Traffic Controllers). It can happen once again.

The UAE have orders placed for 777. If America wants oil, the strike will be settled. Just a guess. Unless we want to lose that business, in this free market society to the French.

" Since this post makes no mention of communism, socialism, or Chavez, why is it you assume I automatically support all of them?"

Your comment:

"Well, since I closely identify with anarcho-communists, I don't see much of a problem with that =]"

Full self management is micro-managment! An American capitalist invention.

There is no future political source that you can draw from. If there was, you would have name it. You can't co-share management. The owners in a free market economy make the decisions, then they pass it down through the chain.


by seeya
on Sep. 07, 2008 at 01:42pm
1 Vote

"There is no thing as democratic take over of a company. The employees of a company may become the major share holders of said company, then they become the owners, not the employees... What you're speaking of is a co-operative."

Sure, I have no problem calling a democratic company a cooperative. The difference between an anarcho-syndicalist society and a capitalist one is that there would not be shares in companies. The company would be controlled by employees simply because they work there, not because they "own shares" - thus they are both "owners" (in the sense that they control the company) and "employees" (in the sense that they perform the work in the company).

"A free market economy is where ownership/property rights are voluntary at an arranged price between seller and buyers."

In an anarcho-syndicalist society, the employees produce the goods. If it's a market economy, then they are also the sellers. They agree on prices with buyers. Thus it is still a market.

"What you are speaking of, democratic take-over, assumption of contol, is theft."

Theft is just something defined by the society that makes the laws. Some extreme fiscal conservatives believe taxes are theft. Some believe exploitation is theft. Then there's Proudhon's famous quote, "Property is theft." Then there are conquests of foreign lands, where the conquerors declare that what they are doing is not theft. Would you support giving back all conquered lands to their indigenous people?

Laws are just something society uses to help everyone in that society survive and therefore preserve that society. If it is shown that some laws are harmful to society, then they need to be abolished, regardless of whether you think "theft" (however you define it) is wrong or not.

"I'll look into its P/E ratios and get back to you."

See above - there are no such thing as shares in a democratic company. After all, what is a share other than giving someone else the right to control your company? If someone else controls your company, then it obviously can't be democratic. For some examples, see the democratic takeover of various companies in Argentina

"With a dictatorship you can continue to work from the gulag."

Sure, a government dictatorship can kill you. Then again, company dictatorships in Colombia hire thugs to kill more trade unionists each year than the rest of the world combined. Anyway, let's say the world was full of dictatorships in which you were free to leave and go to another dictatorship. Is that freedom? Hardly. People would be more free if all governments were democratic and they were free to move between them. The same applies to companies - employees would be more free if all companies were democratic and they were free to move among them.

"According to need. Some need more than others. Top heavy!"

What is your definition of "top heavy" anyway? I take it to mean the people at the top (political leaders / company executives) get better treatment. What do you mean by "according to need"? I take it to mean people with disabilities, serious illnesses, or get into life-threatening accidents get more resources devoted to them. If that's what you mean, then in some sense, the insurance company model provides things "according to need".

"What you actually are is a Anarcho-capitalist."

I don't have a clue why you think that. Anarcho-capitalists still believe in the traditional employer-employee relationship. Anti-capitalist anarchists only believe in control by the employees themselves.

"The UAE have orders placed for 777. If America wants oil, the strike will be settled. Just a guess. Unless we want to lose that business, in this free market society to the French."

The anarcho-syndicalist answer to that would be to just allow the strikers to assume democratic control - thus the planes continue to be produced, and the buyers get their product. If the employees decide on their own pay, why bother striking? You are just thinking from a capitalist world-view where you haven't considered possibilities outside the box.

"Full self management is micro-managment!"

So is micro-management bad in your view? Lets clarify the subject and the object. Who is doing the micro-management and who is being managed? If both are the same person, that is known as freedom.


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