I was wondering whether he’d sign this

It’s one of those things stupid enough that it would have him as a signatory:

Why we should democratise work

He did of course.

They entirely miss that the most important freedom, that right of exit, already exists. Oh, also that if democratically controlled firms are better then they’d already be outperforming nonsuch and so the law isn’t necessary.

And in the comments:

You set up company, invest, let the workers say how the company is run. Sound good?

No answer will come, I know.

Richard Murphy says:
May 16 2020 at 11:54 am
I have done it….many times


Ahhh…..but were those companies democratically run?

27 thoughts on “I was wondering whether he’d sign this”

  1. The Meissen Bison

    But this is democratise in the sense in which countries run by their nomenklatura like to have ‘Democratic’ in their name like the GDR and DPRK. Trade unions are tentacles of the government and you would be well advised not to quit the job you’ve been allocated.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying democratise means ‘undemocratise’.

  2. Couks someone challenge him to name a company he has set up where the workers had democratic control…?

  3. The problem with Marxist derived thinking and its twin,market-fundamentalism, is that both are abstractions. The Talibans of each apply historically specific as cosmic verities with predictably clownish results. Why anyone would set up a Company merely to hand control to a democracy of its employees? Good point,I have often made it.
    Why on the other hand turn Nelson’s eye to the freedom to express collective opposition, or tear down the delicate structure of contract and property, by force, if pushed too far. These things are just as real.
    Democratised work is a chimera, but the “Freedom” to be unemployed is a childish idea.

  4. Dennis, Tiresome Denizen of Central Ohio

    And just like Marx, Murphy fails to understand the function of the provider of capital.

    About five years ago one of my clients (a roofing contractor) had a few smart-ass employees who were agitating for a percentage of the company’s profits. So the owner and I sat down and put together a 12 month projection of revenues, expenses and capital outlays. We sat ’em all down one day and went through it, noting that they’d have to agree to invest some of their profits to pay for a couple of new trucks (which they’d also been agitating for), another Gradall, etc. By the time the owner and I got done with the presentation (about a hour), every last one of the those boys decided they were better off staying hourly, even though our projections showed that they could make more money with an ownership position.

    They hadn’t really thought about the fact that when you truly democratize a workplace, you democratize risk as well as reward. Once it became clear that they were going to be obliged to share in the risk of the company – by plunking down their own money to invest in those assets necessary for the company to survive and prosper – they decided that the idea wasn’t quite as good as it first appeared.

    The part Marx never understood was the function of the capitalist was twofold: First, providing the capital and second (the part always missed by Marxists, socialists and commies), taking on the risk associated with providing the capital. It seems Murphy is right there with Marx.

  5. Dennis, A Septic With Woggish Tendencies?

    Evidently Newmania has just scored some really good weed.

  6. I think it’s a great idea. I’d like to be the foreign minister of the company, either that or a defence minister.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    Back in the early days of mobile when the first GSM networks were built someone asked the CEO of what was to become 121 (remember them?) why they didn’t have a profit sharing scheme, the answer was along the lines of because they didn’t have a loss making scheme and their peak capital would have been getting on for £50m in 1990 £s. Apparently the subject wasn’t raised again.

  8. Democratised corprations can work, most of the Whitby shipbuilding companies and fishing fleets operated like that. The founders who put in their own money were also the workers who did the work. It wasn’t possible otherwise as the capital required was more than one person could supply. The employees (owners) would be paid their wages (eg Captain gets 10x, first mate 7x, cabin boy 1x), then the owners (employees) would get a share of the profits (1/64 share, 1/64 profit, 9/64 share, 9/64 profit, etc). Some of my ancestors got more in divvies than they got in wages, especially after retirement.

  9. Any “democratic” company set up by Spud would likely see its first democratic vote be for the removal of Spud from its decision making processes.

  10. Whenever I hear the union folks chant “Workers should own the means of production”, I keep thinking that they have that already: it’s called a ‘sole proprietorship’.

    Just quit your job and … own your means of production.

    What’s that? You need more scale? Got that covered too. It’s called a ‘partnership’.

    Just get a few friends together and go!

    What’s that? MORE SCALE?!? Starting to get greedy. But sure, got that covered too. It’s called a ‘privately held corporation’.

    And you can even reduce your workload as you get on in years (the polite way of saying ‘getting lazy’) by hiring folks. You can also get some specialized skills that way, too!

    What’s that? Those workers now want to own the means of production themselves?

    Let me tell you about something new. It’s called a ‘sole proprietorship’….

  11. @jgh

    yeah, and up to a certain scale that does work.
    It also does fullfill the “risk” requirement… You either put your money where your mouth is, or shut up.. It’s not the “you hired me, now I get a say in what happens” Spud et. al. envision.

    But it doesn’t even take money. I’ve held enough “positions of authority” as a fellow wage-slave to have the odd smart cookie come up with this Democracy on the Workfloor thing at virtually every company I’ve worked for.
    It’s funny how they always back of fast, when you remind them that they will then also have to endure the same Bollocking from Higher Up , because one of the Precious and Valuable co-workers ( usually the ones wanting Democracy…) fucked up to the tune of € [insert here] because they didn’t follow the highly Undemocratic and Oppressive Procedures [insert localised practical variant here]..
    They always want the benefits, but never the burden of responsibility ( assuming that is a concept they’re familiar with at all to begin with..)

  12. This is what I don’t get with these people.

    You can ‘democratize’ your own company if you choose – no one is stopping you. You can run a socialist firm. You can be part of a company that exists specifically to accomplish a purpose other than making a profit. There are even special privileges available for those who choose to do so. No one is stopping you. People even do it for realsies.

    The dearth of employee run companies is not because of some organized conspiracy – its because those companies fall apart once you get past a handful of employees. After that its damn hard to find engaged people to fill needed jobs. Apple couldn’t be ’employee run’ in any meaningful sense.

    What it is, is, IMO, the Left likes taking things that other people have created and then twisting them. They don’t want to do the hard work themselves, only to take the finished product. Its most pronounced in fiction with the modern tendency to take long-established-as-male characters and make them women. And then its done so poorly that the only interesting thing about the character is ‘that dude is now a lady’. Then the IP gets driven into the ground and everyone involved cries ‘racism! sexism!’ and then moves on to the next victim. Same thing would happen to any company that they got ahold of.

  13. Newmania
    May 16, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Why on the other hand turn Nelson’s eye to the freedom to express collective opposition, or tear down the delicate structure of contract and property, by force, if pushed too far. These things are just as real.

    So, you think ‘market fundamentalism’ doesn’t already take that into account? What do you think a market is? You keep whinging on about things you don’t know anything about. You’re anti-free market but you know basically nothing about the underpinning theories of how markets work. Its shown every time you go blabbering on about it. Maybe learn what your ideological opponents actually think and believe rather than whatever tripe you’re getting from Chapo and TYT.

    but the “Freedom” to be unemployed is a childish idea.

    Dude, you think freedom is a childish idea. Because you’d rather have other people enslaved to ensure you have your needs met.

  14. Like those fantastic opportunities in green energy, or the benefits of a massively diverse workforce, how can companies let such an obvious money-spinner like “democratising companies” go begging? I know – they must be evil.

  15. Grikath: that’s often how the fishing industry would work as well. You’d “buy” a share in the fishing fleet using your future earnings as your capital. It was common to see post-death disposals of assets listing things like “£10 share, £4 paid”. The shareholder owned a £10 share but had by that point only paid £4 for it.

    Naturally, a lot of it depended on local trust – your brother’s wife’s sister’s daughter’s son wanted to get into the fleet, so you’d discount him some fleet shares knowing you knew you had a chain of links to him that you could pull in if he took the mick.

  16. Why we should democratise work

    Like Cuba?
    All workers in same union and strikes forbidden

    UK Teachers Union wants closed shop restored and non-joiners sacked – Left: Democracy = Compulsion

    Rule of thumb: If in Guardian, opposite probably best action. As for Ritchie: in years past he’d be in an Asylum with his ‘daughter’ AOC

  17. There are, of course, several workers’ co-operatives in the UK – some of them quite large, the Co-op itself (in its numerous guises: funeral directors and insurance, as well as supermarkets), John Lewis and Waitrose. They’re perfectly capable of being successfully run businesses, but (as Tim has often pointed out) their Achilles heel is difficulty in accessing capital.

  18. Quote of the Day

    After his hospital experience, Boris has had a Damascene conversion and is launching a war on fat…
    The unavoidable truth is that a quarter of all people who have died from Covid-19 are overweight.
    Almost a third of British adults are now clinically obese and some experts believe this helps explain why the death toll here is so high
    – Amanda Platell

    A job at Guardian beckons, can they handle two (or too/200) Amanduhs?

  19. It is now clear that that sack of shite BlueLabour Johnson intends to use borrowed–ie printed–money to keep his spending splurge going in the hope of trying to undo the massive damage HoTurds hysteria has added to the UK economy.

    The Zimbabwe Option–it seems I named the wrong Party as ZaNu.

    The real poilcy is to inflate the debt away and fuck any damage to ordinary folk.

  20. @Mr Ecks

    UK Govt and UK & US left wing media ‘moving goalposts’ on purpose of lockdowns [- bad choice of vids]

    “Questioning the Canada lockdown — Where’s the evidence?” How dare you

    Questioning the Canada lockdown? We know: Wuhan Stasi, CDS & Corana Phobibics scream “you want people, babies, cats to die”

    No, we want freedom and allowed to judge risk vs reward ourselves

    C4 News didn’t seem pleased with this pick for interview
    “Coronavirus risk to young people is tiny says Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter – who chairs the Winton centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge

  21. So 33% of the population is overweight and 25% of deaths were overweight and the conclusion is Overweight is a significant factor…..I was going to suggest someone needs to explain how %’s work to these people, maybe also what a negative sign is as well, but they are beyond hope.

  22. Ummm : it might not be that simple. The figures I have seen suggest that obesity is a major problem if you contract CV19.

    Older people are most at risk, and are most of the fatalities — but then most older people aren’t massively overweight (if only because it would have killed them before they got to 85 etc).

    My understanding is that a significant number of the younger deaths are attributable to the person being obese (not the bullshit BMI “overweight”, but actually fat).

  23. “Oh, also that if democratically controlled firms are better then they’d already be outperforming nonsuch and so the law isn’t necessary.”

    I wonder if the main issue with why the Coop, John Lewis etc are fairly rare exceptions isn’t that that kind of business structure inherently underperforms but that it is unusual to found a business in this way, for incentives reasons but also practical ones about who your business is likely to start with (though the Coop did). Then over the life course of the business, it’s rare for the stars to align in a way that encourages that transition (though John Lewis did).

  24. Agammamon said:
    “the Left likes taking things that other people have created and then twisting them. They don’t want to do the hard work themselves, only to take the finished product.”

    Yup, see that all over. Companies – it’s rarely start-ups that are left-wing and SJW (OK, more now, but very few beyond the micro-business level); generally they wait until the hard work has been done and then use CSR to take over an existing business. Organisations – Willy Hutton and the Work Foundation? Gentlemen’s Clubs were an early target – the women and those who wanted mixed clubs could have set up their own, but they preferred to whinge about the existing men-only ones and demand entry.

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