_6.3.a-6 Working as Equals

Newsgroups: alt.politics.socialism
From: Jos Boersema
Subject: New law proposal: _6.3.a-6 Working as Equals
Organization: market.socialism.nl

_6.3.a-6 Working as Equals

If a business is using the bulk of an an amount of average persons their productive capacity for a year, the employee(s) have the right to buy themselves an equal ownership in that business.

The amount of average persons is: …
. Reasoning. See this thread: 
. https://www.reddit.com/r/Market_Socialism/comments/hqmlav/market_socialismmeme/g074fsn/
. The other person thought it would be dangerous to allow dictatorial
. businesses, because these business dictators would get money together
. and start to work on ruining the system. I agree that some of them
. will, but am/was not overly concerned with it. It also seemed
. difficult in practice to make a co-operative of very small size, and
. force it by law. It does not seem possible or useful to force people
. working in a co-operative, where one is the single person owner of
. a business and the other is merely there for a one off job or an
. hour cleaning, while the owner is doing a large amount of potentially
. complicated work.
. However with this system, it might still work. The initiative is put
. with the employee(s), but only once the business is really using at
. least the total value of a set amount persons their work. One could argue
. that upon using another person their productivity, their time, so
. that this work is his main effort in his working life, the two of
. them are in the same boat.
. It would be nice if they could then be in it together, as equals.
. A question remains whether or not the population is capable of doing
. this. Forcing it is probably not going to work, and could even be
. an abuse against people their free will to work somewhere without
. having to be an owner.
. Another matter is that they can already decide on their own to
. form a co-operative, and they have the land to do it, so why is it
. necessary to add this right for the employees to boost themselves
. to the ownership position. On the other hand, if employees have
. this right, we reduce the risk of a lot of large business
. dictatorships coming about, almost without any thinking about it by
. anyone, where we could already have co-operatives during the tenure
. of the first business starter, who in the end might even think it is
. a better way to live. There is a certain coaxing effect to have more
. co-operatives, and to normalize co-operative ways of working. 
. This law would potentially simplify labor conflicts. Labor in some
. startup dictatorial company can simply decide to buy the company.
. The law would make it harder for the employer to abuse his workers,
. because they could respond with buying the company. He has more
. reasons to keep them happy.
. Since this law makes it possible to both be an owner or an employee,
. those who really want to get involved as owners can do so, and gain
. a head start on the trouble (and pleasure) of running the business,
. for the time that it will become a co-operative when the starter(s)
. leave(s). This would smoothen the transition.
. This law was originally made to give this right at the first full time
. employee (the issue the other person in the debate was proposing
. a system for). This amount is now left open, because there are too
. many questions of whether the population can do this, and if they
. want to do this, or want to do this fairly rapidly after the ratification
. (practice) of all the other mechanisms in this proposal.
. When this additional system should be ratified, I can neither foresee.
. It may be wise to wait until the other mechanisms are functioning. It could
. also be used as a measure to be implemented once enough business
. have actually started to misbehave and are trying to ruin the system.
. (They will potentially hide their influence cleverly.) This law can be
. implemented gradually, by starting at a high amount and then lowering
. it over time.
. It might also be a good law if it never reaches the amount 1. The Capital
. in a larger business will be prohibitive for a single employee to purchase
. so in the case of larger companies the employees will likely have to act
. together. There seems to be the potential for the business owner to
. become quite rich from such a transfer.

_6.3.a-6.1 Equal price

 The price of the sale is the replacement value of all that is being
 used by the business, divided by how many owners the business will
 have, plus one tenth of the price.

. Reasoning. The starter will receive a compensation plus a profit,
. which is both simply to make the transfer fair, and to attempt to
. make the owner satisfied and therefore well motivated to work in 
. the new arrangement. Anywhere between one tenth to a fifth
. seems reasonable. Because “replacement value” is a relatively
. high value for a good, potentially exchanging an old device for
. a new device, one tenth.

_6.3.a-6.2 Witnissed sale

 At least two witnisses shall be present, to see what is included
 in the sale, and to guarantee a fair price.

. Reasoning. The sale is between two designated parties, and
. therefore lacks free market price discovery. The two witnisses
. are an effort to not immediately involve the Courts at every turn
. which would be a burden on the Justice system, as well as on the
. people involved in the transaction. Since it involves a somewhat
. diffdicult to estimate amount, it seems wise to call in some
. other people to ensure greater fairness and lesser doubts after
. the sale has been completed. The reason to choose two is so that
. each side can call in at least one witness (helper).

_6.3.a-6.3 Equal continuity

 Employee(s) who did not buy an equal ownership will remain employees
 to the owner(s), until they have bought an equal ownership.

. Reasoning. Many people just may not want to be owners, but also
. there is the problem of some types of work being worth much more
. per hour, than other work, in the general labor market. This can
. lead to problems between the group who is worth more and who is
. less. If the people who do work which is worth a lot less are in
. the minority, the others could decide to pay them their general
. market labor value, by a majority vote. How this is to work
. exactly is its own potentially difficult subject. In any case,
. if someone feels they would not get a fair share as being owners,
. they may have no reason to pay the price and become one. They
. might be better off as employees.

_6.3.a-6.4 Open equality

 When the original business starter(s) leave the business, it shall go
 through the provisions laid out in Article _6.3.a Reaching Democracy,
 taking into account the amount which the original starter is still
 owning. [http://www.socialism.nl/law.html#reaching.democracy]

. Reasoning. Obviously this issue has to tie in somehow with the
. article “Reaching Democracy”.
. It seems that in some cases the original starter whose employees
. became owners might have a moral right to a lot, and in others
. not so, depending on the effort put in, how long he ran it
. alone, etc. It might be difficult to make a fair decision.
. It seems unfair to compensate the original owner, now a
. fractional owner, for the total of the business, as is a
. purpose of “Reaching Democracy”, by general rule.

_6.3.a-6.5 Owner removal

 When an owner is removed from working there by the decision of
 the majority of the other owners, he shall be duly compensated.

. Reasoning. It being a democratic form of decision making, 
. this would have to include removing people from the business.
. It makes sense that if someone is removed against their will,
. they get the money back which he or she originally had payed,
. or their current share in that business, or some other reasonable
. amount. Since it is not a market transaction, it may need to be
. defined in law further.
. This money will hopefully make the occurrence be less painful
. for the owner who is being removed, while those doing the
. removal will need a reason good enough equal to the sum to be
. payed.

_6.3.a-6.6 No business stealing

 The original business starter(s) can not be removed as (an) owner(s)
 by the new owner(s).

. Reasoning. It does not seem right that the original starter can
. be removed, especially because the employees have the right
. to just take that ownership share. Even though the business
. starter gets compensated (plus profit) for the employees
. gaining ownership, it seems right to rebalance the right of
. the original starter back somewhat, and give him the right to
. not be removed by a decision of the new owner(s).


All in all, this system causes companies to again be more co-operative
in the system, rather than dictatorial. In terms of ratification and 
implementation, it seems it could be Amendment 27, or a normal law.

It seems wise to ratify/implement after much of the rest has been
ratified/implemented, because it again creates a system in which there
is more talking and listening to people, more doing things together and
less giving / taking orders. The question is if a given people is
capable of doing it. The good side on this matter in above law is that
it is left open for the employees to take the step, or not.

I suspect many will not take the step, but they might like the idea of
being able to threaten with it, even if merely implicit by the law being
there, thus increasing their incomes if these could be higher.

At the point of implementation, this law could suddenly give employees
in many larger established businesses the right to be come owners.
This could lead to some economic problems, although it will probably not
be too bad because the new owners have a need to keep the business
going, and they can decide on their own when or if they want to do it.

It is nice to follow the system in terms of it being a finished proposal
to a degree (in drat form, ofcourse), having reached the point where it
seems better to let others and the population generally work things out
further if they like the proposal so far, and then more or less creating
a law based on someone else their concern.

Some more thinking on this is going to be a good thing, but it looks
like it could be a working system. Incidentally the other party in the
discussion seems to have a different method in mind, but at the moment
at least the above proposal seems better (to me). I think it is stronger
to put this right with the employee, give them that freedom, involve
some witnisses so that people can do all this on their own with a few
others they know. Then we have the will lined up hopefully, social
relations hopefully stay good during the effort, and the business can go

There is another interesting thing with social relations, and that is
that the business owner is going to be able to stave off reaching the
point he needs to live with this new power of employees for a while,
by having employees or subcontractors work less. When he reaches the
point, employees are rather unlikely going to want to be owners if they
cannot get along with the owner, or if the owner is upset about loosing
the business to a group he would be part off, because they cannot remove
that owner, and soured social relations is going to be terrible for a
small company and all involved in it. It will likely die. This gives the
business starter some additional soft powers, which is probably a good
thing, because it is his thing.

Then when the employees grow more numerous, in which case they can at
least outvote the owner in a conflict, these soft powers of the owner
start to reduce in practice. A larger group is more sensible as a
democratic organization (compare a vote between two persons).

It remains an open issue of how profit is to be distributed among the
owners, and in particular if the majority of owners can deny the
original owner to get any profit. For the moment I don’t have an
opinion on it, perhaps I’ll leave it an open question. It seems logical
that the owners can decide what to do with the money in the company,
including on how to distribute it among all. In general the labor market
can and likely will influence how profit is distributed in the company,
because when people start working for a company they could well
negotiate an income and/or share of profit which reflects the value of
their labor in the general labor market.

Perhaps the most elegant way of splitting the business profit, is to
have a part of the income be reflective of the value of that type of
labor in the general labor market, and a part be reflecting the success
of the business, as a share of the profit, which could be computed in
various ways (share of worked hours, share of worked hours times value
of that labor in the market, equal share, etc). The general labor market
value part of income just reflects the value of that labor and keeps the
labor market working correctly, while a profit share in the company can
motivate people to work well and can also be helpful in stabilizing
company finances (having to pay less in bad times).

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