Thursday, November 26, 2015

David Ellerman — PBS Making Sen$e blog: The case for employee-owned companies

I was asked by Paul Solman, the PBS National Economics Correspondent, to write down in non-technical terms the basic argument for the labor theory of property, i.e., the ordinary juridical responsibility principle applied to property rights and liabilities. This is the “justice in production” argument in a nutshell. You can go directly to the PBS Making Sen$e site, or
Click here to download a PDF of the blog entry.
Quite interesting that Paul Solman would make this request of David Ellerman, especially when PBS is going over the cliff in other respects.

This is short.

David Ellerman
PBS Making Sen$e blog: The case for employee-owned companies
David Ellerman | University of California, San Diego, Political Science, Fellow, Center on Global Justice, University of California, Riverside, Philosophy, Visiting Scholar


Random said...

Carlos said...

There are many stakeholders in a productive enterprise.

The employees
The customers
The suppliers
The financiers
The local community
The environment
The founders
The government/ regulators

In a capitalist system, the financiers and/or founders get to keep any surplus and make almost all the key decisions.

In a more advanced system you would think the other stakeholders would have some say.

You all might think I'm a raving leftie, but all my big idea is to remove the primacy of financial capital and have boards.of enterprises represent a wider set of stakeholders.

In a capitalist system the financiers always have the capability to buy out the other stakeholders. Cooperatives always die at the first sign of financial distress.

Calgacus said...

Unfortunate that Ellerman does not see, or does not emphasize the more essential nature of "employee ownership" on a national scale, with a JG - that guarantees employment to the owners of a nation, its citizens, who just need to remember this ownership. The basic problem is the reverse of non-ownership by employees, and is rather more important than employee ownership of smaller units, which would be a consequence. Operating corporations that way would be like having capitalist enterprises in a society still based on or practicing slavery or serfdom. Nice, progressive, but not enough.

Ellerman does not like Hegel, but one of his sayings is very appropriate - roughly from memory - 'it was not so much from slavery that humanity was liberated, but through slavery.' And so it will not be so much from wage-slavery that liberation will come, but through it. For renting human beings is pretty much the same thing as the division of labor, it is inescapable. The MMT analysis goes deeper than Ellerman's valuable work, it has deeper & broader roots and is more realistic. Marx at times got what Hegel was saying there, and Marx said very roughly what I just said, but a tradition of horrible mistranslation of essential terms of philosophical German into English (which Marx himself unfortunately followed at least once) has mostly obscured this. Oddly I happened to be reading Eustace Percy just now too, and I think he elsewhere notes the national character of the problems that Ellerman wrongly fails to emphasize.