Building an Equitable System

I ran a website for years called Equitable Principles.

2013 to 2017.jpg

Here's a glimpse at the old site from the Wayback Machine.

And here's a screen capture to an old story I ran, "The Real Story: A socialist enterprise just bought a capitalist enterprise!" Yeah, I used to think there was hope. LOL.
old story.jpeg

But to go back even further, when I worked in lighting for film, theater, and conventions, making $15/hr the company I worked for would hire me out at $45/hr when corporations came to Boston to have meetings. People would say, "Well, that's 15 for you, and 15 for the company, and 15 for the office, and the trucks, and such."

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When I went to law school a torts professor said, "To get paid $100,000 a year from a firm the rule of thumb is you will have to bill $300,000 a year ..."

The point is the rule of thumb is that 33.3% goes to the corporate owner, whether I'm a gaffer or a lawyer. And Americans just accept that. I don't. That profit, that 33.3% should be split between the capitalist owners and the HUMAN worker. I shout human because the American capitalist philosophy is that an employee ceases to be human, and forfeits their inalienable human rights. Inalienable means you can't forfeit those rights. You can't sell yourself into slavery.

There's a website called AbolishHumanRentals based on the writings of David Ellerman, who argues that capitalism is immoral, unethical, and unconstitutional, and for corporations to gift themselves that 50% of the human workers share of the profit, (approximately 16.16% of the earnings in the earlier anecdotal examples,) is basically theft, or conversion in legal terms.

That 16.16% compounded over 100's of years would end in ... oh, well, the extreme wealth inequality that you witness in the United States of America in the year 2018.

So this isn't even theoretical, this is the end result of 200 years of corporate conversion of human workers' earned profits. This pisses me off. But what pisses me off more is that it doesn't piss most other Americans off. They happily go to work and forfeit their share of the profit to the likes of Warren Buffet, and then they bitch about taxes!! And if I point this out they are just like, "I make more working for Boeing, or Lockheed Martin, than the fool working at Applebees, or the 7-11 Convenience Store!"

So that's it, the corporations, the capitalists, have brainwashed the subservient workers of America to just hate their fellow workers, and the government, and not the corporations that are converting -- stealing -- 16.16% of their earnings every day, and have been for hundreds of years.

That is the point of all authoritarian corporations, to baffle the workers with bullshit. From Fox News to NBC to Boeing to the local grocery store ... don't let the free-range slaves realize they have a human right to their 50% of the profits.

Back in law school that same torts professor was going over a case and paused as the court mentioned "master" and "servant." "Those are just the legal terms for employer and employee ... I wish we could do away with those terms ..." But underneath I could sense that she was uncomfortable admitting to herself that she was a servant who was the one creating the profit for the for-profit law school ... there was shame under there, and I knew that deep down she knew that 16.16% of her labor was converted, stolen, before she even got to see her paycheck.

Now-a-days I'm in teaching. I had studied John Dewey, an educational reformer from 100 years ago, who had argued for democracy in schools, and cooperative learning, and much more. But by the end of his life, he was resigned to the fact that to change the schools you would have to first change the administrations. But the administrators were brought up and learned to get in line and do what they're told. So they just wanted to re-create training people to get in line and do what the corporations told employees to do -- that there is no democracy and we have no rights.

More recently, John Gatto, a former teacher, has published books and videos decrying that schools are mainly designed to create subservient workers.

Now I see Big Al talking about arguing with a relative about taxes, and I see Bernie Sanders tweeting about worker-owned businesses, and the ignorant responses of right-wing tweeters ... (I don't even want to recreate those responses here.)

And I see the work of the long time economics Professor Richard Wolff and his organization Democracy at Work and his recent interview with Chris Hedges on the unsustainable (and undemocratic) US economic system.

So let me end on this point, authoritarian schools have indoctrinated people to accept an authoritarian workplace, and an authoritarian society, and an authoritarian Internet, and an authoritarian government. And I don't know, should we reform our schools to be democratic as John Dewey advocated, or should we reform our workplaces to be democratic as Prof. Wolff advocates, or should we democratize the Internet and media to be democratic as I advocate? Or maybe we should democratize everything. Here I'd love to talk about Rojava, the spunky Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, but I ain't got time or space.

We need a lot of fucking help, a lot of fucking reforms. But it's beyond doubt that shifting a few percentage points of taxes here and there ain't the solution. I say power to the people. Power in the form of their share of the profits they create. Democracy isn't something you do obediently once every four years, democracy has to be ingrained into everyday life to become a habit.

Germany has written into their constitution that half the board of directors must be workers, it's called co-determination. Because the workers have a voice in the workplaces in Germany many are down to 28 hour work weeks, rather than spending their entire lives working for shareholders.

Democracy, it's a hell of a drug.

Wink
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Comments

GreyWolf's picture

because somebody came and posted a 5,000 word SPAM comment so I unpublished and re-published ... the Internet is a cesspool ... Sad

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12 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

Except that they are immortal.
People are not.
How 'bout all corporations must die at 76.3 years?
Thanks for the tboughts, Grey Wolf

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14 users have voted.
detroitmechworks's picture

I jokingly used the word "Funner" which I'm well aware is not considered good english.

She immediately informed me that it wasn't a word.

I asked who was the authority she was citing on that.

She claimed every dictionary.

I claimed that those same dictionaries also used to claim that ain't weren't a word.

There's no real point to the anecdote... other than pointing out that sometimes it just is a nice idea to remind ourselves how much we accept authority over things as mundane as speech.

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9 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

GreyWolf's picture

@detroitmechworks ... to maintain the alliteration it should be sucker.

.

George Carlin - Euphemisms

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studentofearth's picture

a small group of us were able to leverage the ability to generate income to create jobs for ourselves and others.

People would say, "Well, that's 15 for you, and 15 for the company, and 15 for the office, and the trucks, and such."

The irony we were never able to expand the sharing beyond the core group. When adding new employees the option of partial risk with potential vs guaranteed income everyone wanted the known. If we had known more about work cooperative and the different models maybe could have had more success are sharing the long term gain.

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8 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.

GreyWolf's picture

@studentofearth that I am proposing the 15 for the owners should actually be 7.50 (capital) for the owners and 7.50 for the worker (labor).

A wage is merely like a whip to the slave, it is the coercion to make the slave work.
The wage/whip doesn't equitably reward the labor.
To me this is as obvious as "the emperor has no clothes."

If Bezo's made $50 million a year (rather than $100 mil) and $50 mil was disbursed to labor, would Bezo's go hungry? Obviously no.

I should have also added in that Nucor Steel has it written into their corporate charter that 10% of profits go to labor, but usually more, and recently they paid 65% to the workers (yet Nucor is still a very profitable company traded on the NYSE.)

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Hawkfish's picture

@studentofearth

The big problem is how do you allow newcomers to buy into the accumulated equity of the founders. One solution used in Mondragon was to take the equity out annually and turn it into pensions invested with the coop bank.

See We Build the Road as We Travel for a history of Mondragon.

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We may find that we’re all alone
In the dream of the proud.
- Pink Floyd, On the Turning Away

GreyWolf's picture

@Hawkfish

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and helpful essay. Please keep writing about this subject because it is a key to survival and peace. Thanks for linking to Richard Wolff. He's wonderful.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Linda Wood I had been expressing my sadness to JtC that I had also unpublished your thoughtful comment when I had unpublished/republished this essay. So thanks for stopping by again Wink

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Linda Wood

...in your comment list and republish it here, if you are of a mind to.

I look forward to reading whatever you have to say.

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4 users have voted.
Pluto's Republic's picture

Thank you for publishing this. Much to build on here.

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10 users have voted.
GreyWolf's picture

@Pluto's Republic I respect your opinion, so a little praise from you goes a long ways. Thanks again for the encouragement.

(Oh, and that recent comment by Linda was pretty much a recreation of her first comment on the earlier diary.)

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7 users have voted.

Your view is from a slightly different angle, and it illuminates more because of it. Sometimes I agree with something, but it becomes so familiar my mind glazes over, and you need something to make it alive again.

Another big thing is that this thing called "Democracy" is really the handmaiden of Capitalist America, always willing to work to accommodate the corporations.

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LeChienHarry's picture

Interesting that a military man came up with this plan to prevent future fascists from occupying society. I haven't read on this for awhile, so I don't know if this applied to any other WWII countries.

It obviously didn't apply to the US. The right to strike; put the boss in the conference room for a week while occupying the company; firing for cause has to be part of the employment agreement; open books of the business, available to all employees; and more.

1948

Wiki

DeGaulle refused but under his regime implemented many of the same workplace guarantees, now being dismantled by France's Reagan, Macron.

Lots to review on this and very interesting stuff.

Thanks for this essay.

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You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again you did not know. ~ William Wiberforce

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Mark from Queens's picture

I think a lot about our education system, with respect to its place as one of the main conditioners of American Exceptionalism, getting us to chase after the purposely elusive dangling carrot of the American Dream and then onto the treadmill of consumerism. Consumerism has replaced civics, nationalism has replaced empathy.

And through the dumbed-down rote testing and not encouraging free thought and discussion as part of the curriculum we enshrine the obedience necessary, as George Carlin said, to make people "smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it."

I have grave misgivings about putting my babies into such a system.

Thanks for mentioning John Dewey and John Gatto. I'd like to read more about their philosophies.

And as far as co-ops and dear Richard Wolff, Hedges, Gar Alperovitz and Michael Hudson et al talking about how transformative they could be to society, I find myself dreaming of that reality coming to all of our local neighborhoods. First step is to get people to stop supporting the vicious monopoly franchises. Which is so difficult. Even as much as I do to the best of my ability and someone who's very aware of what's going on, it is still difficult at this stage to manage not occasionally patronizing them. Their pervasiveness is insidious.

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(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut