Post-capitalistic Free Market Society, How Can US Be Rescued (Part V) – Economy, Work and Retirement

By admin ~ September 26th, 2009 @ 5:59 am

Here is how a technological democratic society operates. We will be looking into the application of equality of opportunity in four areas of capital, labor, state and technology. This is the heart of democracy, because, there cannot be any kind of real democracy without having economic democracy.

A. Capital

To democratize the ownership of capital, the principle of equality of opportunity prohibits unjust enrichment. It simply means that no person receives property without giving in return a comparable compensation. This is known as the principle of unjust enrichment. Its application establishes the property ownership and relationship in a democratic society with the following consequences:

1. Inheritance. Inheritance is the highest cause of inequality of opportunity. It leads to class stratification. It is the first factor in creating an unjust society. Since anything received through inheritance is free and without comparable compensation, it amounts to an unjust enrichment. If it elevates the opportunity of the beneficiaries to the extent that it creates unequal opportunities, it cannot be allowed under the principle of equality of opportunity. The proceeds from inheritance go into the Public Consumption Fund, a public organization, to be spent in providing vital services to society such as education and health care. The result is that as the rich individuals die, their wealth, to the extent allowed by the principle of equality of opportunity, is transferred to this organization and used for public good. Gradually wealthy families, which enjoyed a very high opportunity under capitalism, disappear while their riches are used to enrich and enlighten the masses as a whole. In a span of a few decades, society ceases to have any super rich. The ruling capitalist elite dies and with it disappears its dominating economic and political powers.

Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution embodies the concept of equality of opportunity. It only needs to be specified to apply to economic and social aspects of life. The process of transition will be peaceful. It requires Congress to propose a proper amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying the application of equality of opportunity to economic, political an social aspects of life. Since the amendment, if ratified, would prohibit inheritance, for the stage of transition, Congress should specify a figure for maximum inheritance such as $5 million. This will insure the ratification of the amendment since only 0.7percent of population has wealth in excess of this amount. The result will be equalization of the wealth within the limit of $5 million. Decades later when minimum national inheritance level will increase disparity will be negligible or may be readjusted then to guarantee full equality of opportunity. [1]

2. Profits. As presented before, as globalization progresses, free trade market economy causes the kind of keen competition that continually cuts down the profit margin leading to its virtual elimination.[2] The profit motive remains still there but rarely materialized. At this stage, estimated to materialize in four to five decades, the society’s levers of power- the multinational corporations, the military and their politician and bureaucrat supporters and collaborators- are eliminated from power status. By the coordinated efforts of local groups all over the country, equality of opportunity prevails, the economy and social structure are reconstructed for efficiency and justice. The production in a cooperative way focuses primarily on people’s primary needs. Every able person participates whether in neighborhoods, communities or work places. People work for a few hours a day having ample time free for leisure, art, music and other creative work and enjoyment.

3. Labor. Regarding labor and workforce, there is a very basic distinction between capitalism and technological democracy. Under capitalism, the capitalist controls land, capital and technology, and employs labor from the market. Under technodemocratic economy, the workers own and control the capital and all other means of production. The principle of equality of opportunity controls the process of ownership of capital and prescribes its democratization. It materializes the total private ownership of the means of production and distribution to the extent never achieved before. It prescribes that the ownership of capital be gradually and systematically transferred from the capitalist to the workers. For clarification, it must be noted that the term worker in this concept embodies any person working for the capitalist from top management and professionals down to the unskilled workers. Under this concept, while each worker receives a regular wage, he is also given a certain specified amount of shares of the firm where he works. Thus from the time he receives his first pay, he starts to become a part owner of the firm. As the years pass, the worker continues to accumulate capital and increase his share of ownership. As the big capitalists die, their share of stocks revert to the Public Consumption Fund and from there is placed in the stock market for sale. These shares are purchased by different institutions, public institutions in particular, and gradually transferred to the workers including public employees along with their monthly pay. Some is also purchased by individual. [3]

After four or five decades, the capitalist class as we know today, disappears and the ownership as well as control of capital and production firms become wholly transferred to a new capitalist class the same as the working class. From there on as the retired workers die, their share of stocks go to the Public Consumption Fund and placed in stock market and finally purchased by different institutions and gradually transferred to the new generation of workers along with their pay. For the shares that each worker owns, he receives dividend which continues to increase as he continues to accumulate more and more stocks. Each worker is entitled to full benefit of ownership of his stocks except that they are not transferable to others but can be exchanged with other non-transferable stocks of other institutions on the stock market for the purpose of diversification of their ownership. This non-transferability of the stocks is prescribed by the principle of equality of opportunity and, as it will be presented later on, income from these stocks takes the place of social security and old age benefits for the owner during the retirement period since under technological democracy there are no public welfare programs such as social security, medicare or food-stamps or else. Health care and education are the only programs available free for all, funded by the Public Consumption Fund and not the government.

4. Position Classification. Position classification is a technology developed for organizing, classification and equalization of similar positions. It describes the responsibilities of each position and corresponding financial compensation range. Under this technology, positions are classified vertically as well as horizontally. This system is applied nationally and universally to all available positions. Horizontal positions are those requiring similar levels of skills to carry out job requirements. However, these positions may not be similar in the kind of functions and skills they require. For example, medical doctors, lawyers, and top administrators all require a high level of professional skill, while functionally they are quite different from one another. They may be placed horizontally in one category and entitled to the same range of compensation. The same applies to clerical or other class of worker. Vertical positions are classified from the lowest to the highest.

Technology of position classification was created primarily for the purpose of increasing and controlling productivity as well as providing equitable pay systems, similar pays for similar jobs. This technology is not new; it has been used in every industrialized society by its public sector and by all major, medium size and some small private institutions. However, each institution has its own independent position classification and corresponding pay system. The national government, each state government, major city governments and giant corporations each has a position classification of its own. There is no uniformity among these systems and there are injustices. Furthermore, a great variety of small businesses do not have a classification system yet these are the institutions employing the majority of the working class people who are not subject to any standard of pay and are generally exploited. Under technological democracy all these systems are brought under one umbrella with the same standards of positions and corresponding pay system. However, such a monumental classification is not done in detail by a central office. This would be an impossible task. The national government through the Position Classification and Pay Commission, a branch of the National Economic Council, establishes a general classification of positions, a system somehow similar to the present national classification. Then it requires each institution , private or public, large or small, to establish its own position classification and pay system within the framework established by the national classification and pay system. A copy of this classification by each firm is entered in Technodem website available to everyone including every employee in the institution. The Technodem will check this classification against the national system and will inform the institution about discrepancies for correction, if any. This classification is put into operation by the corresponding institution until it is objected by the Technodem or the regional classification council.[4]

The systems are reviewed each year by each institution as new technologies develop, certain positions are abandoned, new positions are created or functions of some positions are modified or changed. Position classification under one national model system has several benefits.

1. It harmonizes and standardizes all available positions, private or public.

2. It equalizes the pay system, similar pay for similar jobs, regardless of race, color, sex or whether a worker is a union member,

3. It eliminates the union bargaining and thus eliminate unionization for economic purposes.

4. It simplifies position and pay classification at the institutional level following a standardized and updated national model.

5. It democratizes the work system by providing equality of opportunity in similar positions with similar pay.

6. It allows regional agencies, through Technodem technology, to supervise the proper and uniform application of national standards.

7. It allows discretion in each institution to proceed with its own position and pay classification.

8. It gives each employee an opportunity to evaluate his position requirement and pay level in comparison with the national standards and, in the case of discrepancy, petition first his institution and then file his petition with the Technodem which will examine the complaint instantaneously and respond to it. If the institution did not resolve the issue according to the Technodem advice, he then can petition the regional classification council which will usually go along with the Technodem finding. By this way position classification in each institution is scrutinized by its employees and brought to the level prescribed by the national standards.

5. Shared Opportunity and Full Employment. This is a very important principle of democratic employment opportunity. The application of the principle of equality of opportunity requires that those having a higher level of employment opportunity share it with those lacking such opportunity at the same position level. This refers in particular to unemployed workers seeking employment. Of course, at every skill level, those employed have a higher opportunity than those unemployed. The principle of shared opportunity is employed to equalize the situation. It requires that those who have employment, in order to provide for equality of opportunity, forgo a small part of their employment opportunity by giving up a small part of their work, say one hour per week, and thus provide employment opportunity for their unemployed fellows.

For example, if there is a 100 million work force and each worker gives up one hour of his weekly work, nationwide 100 million work-hours amounting to 2.5 million full time positions will become available to those unemployed or new comers. [5] It needs to be noticed that unemployment in technological democracy has a different character. Everyone starts working part-time when he reaches 15 years of age and completes his professional or technical education while working. So work under technological democracy has a transitory character and is an individual right. Sharing opportunities provides for continuous employment, causing stability in the market and thus eliminates a major cause of recession by providing job security for working years. The inflationary process will also be prevented since there will be no monopoly firms, no price increase to maximize profits. Giant corporations will automatically divided into many smaller firms, and competition in the market will be tense, more realistic and free. This decentralization and dispersal will take place because once workers receive controlling shares of a giant firm they will tend to eliminate the superstructure of the corporate bureaucracy which did not produce anything and had also lost its unproductive use. Then, workers’ desire to have voice in the production process will tend toward dismantling the giant corporation into smaller entities in which the policy-makers will be directly attached to the operation of production and each worker can feel his voice and power over his institution. The same will happen to the branches or affiliated firms abroad. They would want to be independent especially when the superstructure in domestic country becomes abolished. Thus the era of giant multinational corporations will become history as a stage of transition from monopolistic international capitalism to competitive technodemocratic economy. The old motto that “small is beautiful, controllable, more democratic,” will become materialized.

6. Old Age Benefits: Unlike the welfare programs instituted under the existing capitalistic and socialistic systems, there will be no retirement or general welfare programs under the technological democracy. First, each individual will start part time work at the age of fifteen. His income from the work will be sufficient to pay for his living expenditures, since he will have no education expenses because it will be free for everyone at all levels. By the age 21 he will finish his college education (exceeding in value over an M.A. degree at the present) and will be employed full time. Each individual will be required to work for at least 30 years in order to provide a sustained and sufficient income for his old age period. It is estimated that if each worker receive the company stock equal to 25% of his pay, after 30 years, when he retires at the age 52, he will accumulate enough capital from the stocks and their accumulated returns to receive an income of around $30,000 to live modestly but comfortably considering that health care and education will be free and individual taxes will be very small. Most of taxes will be collected from production firms. However, while the individual retires from the official workforce, he does not retire personally. Being only 52 years old he has many years of active life to contribute and be productive in social, political and economic fields. These could be either voluntary or income producing. This retirement after 30 years of service is mandatory in order to maintain equality of opportunity in workplace, and in no way deprives individuals from pursuing productive activities of their liking. It has also several important benefits: first, it provides vacancies to new workers entering the market, second, provides the retired workers with many years enjoyable and intellectually productive life; third, provides for participation in the political process where required qualifications for election is high and the service is temporary. At retirement, each individual would possess knowledge in humanities and social sciences far above the present Ph.D. level as a result of over thirty years of continuous graduate education, making him highly qualified to hold public or elective offices. Beside this, every person has also over Ph.D. level knowledge in his technical or professional field.[6]

Thus this required retirement is technical rather than real. The individual who is highly educated and experienced at this stage of life, may get engaged in many different kinds of work such as art, music, creative writing, counseling, political or economic activities individually or in partnership with other retired persons. Since top policy making positions in regional and national government are temporary with four to six year terms, it will be an excellent opportunity for the post-retirement life. Under technological democracy the individual worker is made responsible to hold and take care of his own retirement stocks. That is why the stocks he receives monthly from his firm are non-transferable, while he can exercise all other benefits of ownership including annual returns from them during his lifetime. Particularly, that working people would be hesitant to run for political offices since this would interrupt their working process and financially have negative effect on their future promotions as well as their retirement benefits.
.

References:

1.Reza Rezazadeh, Technological Democracy: A Humanistic philosophy of the Future Society, 1990, pp. 192-194

2. —————-, “Globalization and the End of Capitalism,” http://www.democracywhere.com also in http://www.ezinearticles.com

3.—————-, Technological Democracy, opp. cited, pp.194-198

4.—————-, Technodemocratic Economic Theory: From Capitalism and Socialism to Democracy, 1991, pp. 184-186. http://www.democracywhere.com

5.Ibid., pp.186-188, 205, 235.

6. Ibid., pp. 188-190, 219.

Dr. Reza Rezazadeh

1080 Eastman Street, Platteville, WI 53818

Phone: (608)348-7064

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