Well this one is mind numbing for me, because it goes both ways in my mind. The basic idea behind having corporations, by itself, is rather fair. It allows a group of people or just one or two to form a company that doesn't completely destroy the individual owners should it fail. As the son of a small business owner I see this fair because the risks of trying to start are extremely hazardous to your health, credit rating, name, and otherwise life. I mean did you know if the business is not incorporated the owners personal finances and the businesses are the same? I don't know about you but I don't think it's possible to sleep at night if your business goes over 20 employees in that situation. Basically it reads like you personally responsible for 20 families. You still are even incorporated, but at least you don't have to be publicly.
That said when they get to big, I understand your problem. I hate GE and Time-Warner with a passion I can not begin to explain.
If you or anyone has a solution for a happy medium I would be overjoyed to hear it. Please consider putting this one in The Thinkers group.
in this economic rame-work, makgin the workers part of it, like radio-schizo outlined, is that happy medium (if i understood the term happy medium) - people being share-holders of what holds a share of their life. and preferrably, only them. not some anonymous interest group that recklessly and ignorantly executes pressure to force short-sighted efficiency. apart from short-term profits, that only generates stress for the involved staff and the corporation itself, risking the health of both.
a positive example that shows how much can be achieved, how much creativity and productivity this generates is how the original amiga company was structured when they developed their prototype.
You're from the Thinkers Group? Well that explains why you debate intelligently.
The day I snapped this pic I was staying overnight at Zuccotti Park (I wasn't camping, btw, since I live only 20 minutes from Wall St., I stayed up all night talking to people), but anyways I was talking to a friend of mine about corporations, and we both agreed on a few points on what makes for a good corporation.
I believe that yes, it is fair to bring in some investors, shareholders, and others in when a business gets large enough to help manage and share some responsibility. But keep the greed under control.
Corporations can benefit people greatly if they actually make their workers part of it, instead of keeping them as worker drones. Let me explain: If a corporation were to take the inflated salaries of CEO's and other higher-ups, and instead share it amongst workers, it would make it not only more solid, but it would actually help the economy. Say a corporation does extremely well and makes millions a year, use that money to increase worker benefits, salaries for everyone. Employees would actually want to work harder to increase profits because they would all directly benefit from it. Their efficiency and loyalty would skyrocket. Kinda like a collective. Make it more than a corporation, make it a social institution where profit goes to better people's lives in a certain area. It doesn't have to be that much, just enough to share some of the wealth and give outstanding employees a little extra for their effort. CEO's and owners would naturally get a larger salary, why not? They keep the machine well-oiled and running. But not so much that they're taking a bite out of everyone else's slice.
But instead you have these CEO's, Presidents, Managers, etc, making astronomical amounts that no human would ever be able to spend in a lifetime, while they keep their employees at minimum wage, the only reward being a coffee mug and a chance at not getting fired when they start lining people up for the chopping block. Thats when a corporation stops being a human institution and starts being a plantation, paying everyone just enough to barely afford food and shelter. In other words, slavery.
I have seen what you are talking about in reality. There was a sign company I toured that had open books to the employees. All the high moral that you are talking about is there. The only catch was in order to get hired you had to have a college degree and become a shareholder which is a grand idea. Generally people with a higher education understand what being a shareholder is about. But what about the custodians and other positions you would not need a degree in? Well those ended up being contracted from a cleaning service.
So what am I getting at? Simple: This type of motivation does not work with everyone.
Let's say I owned a meat packing company that basically required cheap labor to cut cost enough to make it where Wal-Mart would buy my stuff and not the other guy's. If I opened the books to individuals that make $7.25, and lets say they were not the smartest cookies in the box (drank on weekends, beat their wife, kick there dog), I would find it very hard to explain any difference in salary at all. Then there is the whole privacy issue.
What if the company took a major loss and I had to pay salaries on a credit card one month (that happens all the time in the small business world and we don't ask for bailouts, we just get out of it). These hell-raiser type of people would not know how to respond constructively. As an owner I could have a major mess. Instead of calming down long enough to let me figure out a solution, I could have the financials yelled out down the street causing public worry; riots being started in the plant; and the worst possibility: People quitting by the dozen. Without employees there is no product: no product, no business; no business, no company; no company, no jobs.
You folks have to remember what ever new laws you make for the big guys affects the small ones as well.
Yes! Damn straight. When employees get paid only a set wage (a none too generous set wage) while every cent of profits immediately get siphoned off by the CEOs etc, well, they have a way of losing motivation.