Over 87% of the GDP of the U.S. is generated by the private sector. Contributions to this economic activity include: transportation and warehousing; construction; arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services; information; retail trade; wholesale trade; non-governmental education services, health care, and social assistance; manufacturing; professional business services; finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.
These endeavors are almost universally conducted by exclusively top-down, hierarchical institutions, the majority of them corporations.
As has been the mantra of Professor Richard D. Wolff over the course of his illustrious 53-year career as a Neo-Marxist economist, the single most effective method for completely transforming the U.S. economy would be democratizing the workplace. This would put the scores of individuals who actually do the work and create value for products and services, in charge of making the crucial decisions for the institutions producing those products and services. The ubiquitous hierarchical model now in place, especially embodied in the scaffolding of corporations, now empowers only a handful of individuals to make those decisions, an anti-democratic paradigm which produces ravenous pursuit of profit at the expense of communities, certainly the workers themselves, sometimes whole nations, and increasingly the planet, as we see rampant abuse of the eco-system which supports life on Earth by enterprises accountable to no one but their stockholders and Boards of Directors.
Putting all decisions related to the functioning of the majority of businesses democratically into the hands of their workers would at the level of the fundamental building blocks of our economy completely reconfigure that economy and create a replacement for capitalism as we know it. It's not entirely certain what it would be called but the moniker is a trivial question vis-a-vis the transformation that would take place.
Italy has a significant number of worker-owned-and-run companies. Italy's federal government has establish incentives for the creation of such enterprises.
It is no surprise, then, that Il Manifesto based in Italy would take the lead in promoting this revolutionary concept internationally.
The program they describe consists of three interdependent components:
- Democratizing the workplace.
- Decommodifying work.
- Environmental remediation.
The actual organization behind this effort is, not surprisingly, called Democratizing Work. You can read the entire text of their proposal HERE. It has received enormous support across the globe, particularly in academia, from experts in economics, labor relations, political systems, and related social sciences, but the fledgling organization hopes to enlist parallel endorsements and activist involvement from people like us here at OEN.
You can join Democratizing Work in their noble effort HERE.
For years, even decades, many of us have said something has to change. Well ... it's changing, whether we're ready or not. Either we shape the change or the change will shape us. I guess we still have that much of a choice as to our collective fate. Maybe?
Doing the right thing doesn't guarantee the right outcome. But as Chris Hedges regularly reminds us: Whatever happens, it's still the right thing to do.