Skip to content

Workplace Issues

Workplace issues in co-operative socialism

In capitalism work is simply a demand upon the lives of people to provide the capitalist a maximum return in the shortest possible time.

This creates immense inequality which means that everyone (the managers, the capitalists, the workers, the unemployed, the retired, children, infants, babies, teenagers, students) everyone suffers.

So in, co-operative socialism every workplace is reassigned to a co-operative structure as one of four possibilities:

In 'the social economy', where a market using money still exists (for as long as money is used by people), two co-operative workplace forms seem to be possibilities: where a natural monopoly is an obvious trading possibility, they will be organised as community co-operatives. But where a diversity of provision seems most sensible, market-based social economy enterprises seem most appropriate, they should best be organised as individual worker co-operatives.

The common Bond to all of this, constitute the 'Co-operative Values and Principles' that are contained in 'The Statement on the Co-operative Identity' published by The International Co-operative Alliance (which co-operators, worldwide, refresh every 30 or so years: just as they are doing at the present time).

(Note that this is a new statement on the Co-operative identity, not statement of the Co-operative identity.)

One way in which workplace co-operatives can ensure that they remain true and faithful to the Co-operative Values and Principles is for them to carry out, internally and annually, 'Annual Co-operative Audits', so that they review each year's work: and, then, decide if there are values and principles which they didn't pay attention to during the last year and try and so in the year to come.

So, in parallel with those two types of market-based, surplus income-generating co-operatives (ie, community co-operatives in the Monopoly sector and worker co-operatives in the diversity of provision market sector) there are two forms of co-operatives, in what may be termed 'the solidarity economy'.

Again, where these form a natural Monopoly they will need to be community co-operatives: which will require funding as long as they are still of benefit to The Common Good, so that they can function.

In the 'diversity of provision' aspect of the solidarity economy, those co-operatives will, again, operate best as worker co-operatives: each one of which will require some form of subsidy by the community in order to carry out their work, 'For The Common Good'.

For example, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution forms a natural Monopoly in a particular area, and, so, could receive (as it does at the moment) community support in terms, both, of finance and of individual support (in terms of activities as lifesavers).

Those lifesavers will not need to be paid to do this work. They will probably volunteer as they do at the moment, but since they will be receiving a guaranteed, not means-tested (or mean tested!) 'Living Income for Everyone', they could decide that this is their contribution to society, and they don't need to add to that through paid work in the social economy sector.

Which brings are to the questions of incomes and will deal with that in the next section.

.... Income Issues