Fixing Society 139


Much too little thought is given to fundamental ways of fixing society’s most pressing problem, which is massive inequality of wealth. Banking regulation is an important part of the problem. But to attack the root cause of corporatism, you need to look at the make-up of corporations.

Two simple measures can make a radical improvement. The first is share ownership by workers. This appears to have gone completely out of political discussion.

Whatever the legal basis of a company – private, public limited, partnership etc – a substantial share in it should be given to all those who work in it and actually create the wealth. This share should come with full voting and distribution rights. I would advocate that 40% of the ownership of every company should be given to those who work in it. The distribution of that 40% should be adjusted annually according to the number of man hours put in, on the basis that everyone’s man hours are equal. Retired and ex-employees would retain rights until death, with all hours ever worked in that company included.

Thus if Jane were one of four people working in a start-up and they all worked equal hours, after one year she would own ten percent of the company. If the next year four more staff joined, and they all continued to work the same hours, Jane’s share would fall but she would still own more than those who joined later. If eventually there were thousands of staff, her percentage would become very small, but of a very large company, and she would still own significantly more than people who had put in far less accumulated hours over the years. On retirement, in addition to her pension, she would still own a share in the company, but this would diminish as other people built up their own contribution to the enterprise.

It would make no difference if Jane were the cleaner or the MD, and if she owned or not other kinds of non-worker shares in the company,

The other major difficulty in society’s relationship to remuneration is the ludicrous over-valuation of “management” work. The gulf in salary and remuneration between higher and lower paid employees of a company has grown enormously in the last thirty years. This is an easy fix. There should be a limit on the multiple of total remuneration (including all benefits) between the highest and lowest paid person in a single company or other body, including government department, agency or authority. I should suggest a multiple of six as appropriate. So if the cleaner is on £18,000, the CEO can get no more than £108,000.

This measure would solve the low wage problem overnight, as the CEO’s prime drive becomes increasing the cleaner’s remuneration. Attempts to evade (ie management by separate consultancy company) should be a criminal offence.


139 thoughts on “Fixing Society

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  • Resident Dissident

    “The problem now is that the Beveridge Report and the Labour manifesto of 1945 were both very popular: people understood what was planned and were committed to it, having made sacrifices, they were ready to make more provided that the results were tangible in the medium term. There was a widespread belief in socialism and in democracy. Today, I suspect, there is neither. ”

    Which is of course why there needs to be a practical plan around which democratic support and a consensus has to be built – all these revolution rather than evolution approaches, and commitments to ideological purity will just not work.

  • defo

    What’s missing here is a regard to a future where traditional ‘jobs’ are going to be very hard to come by.
    The exponential rate of technological advancement, AI in particular, is going to see most ‘jobs’ disappear under the current competitive capitalist system.
    The competitive nature of the system guarantees this. e.g. Supermarket self serve check outs.
    Supermarket A eschews installing self serve, but knows Supermarkets B,C ect are rushing ahead with the infernal machines (with the resultant cost ‘saving’ enabling lower prices). Does Supermarket A really have a choice ?

    There is no single magic bullet, but a universal living allowance financed through a radically overhauled taxation system which takes care of the basic needs of all seems an obvious panacea for a ‘job’ free future.
    Encouraging volunteerism to boost ones financial position, in a system where capitalism is held in check through regulation and taxation might encourage a more humane society. We all have something to offer, and with the wolf no longer at the door, I feel most would relish the chance to do their bit. Imagine a world where most enjoy their ‘job’.
    Corporations need to be held in check. TTIP ?
    Don’t like operating in the new system ? Fuck right off then, the void will be filled through the reality of competitive human nature.

    In the not too distant future, wage slavery could be history.

    Almost forgot… on this finite planet, advertising executives who pimp us shit we don’t want/need should be humanely put down.
    Pour encourager les autres. 😉

  • fred

    “#SNPBAD the unionist press attack Scotland’s 56 MP’s on a daily basis hoping to discredit them.”

    That’s because they keep breaking the rules. Another one today. Other MPs have to declare their interests why shouldn’t SNP MPs? Don’t the public and the people who visit the comedy events have a right to know?

  • Bob smith

    Craig, for me the most pressing problem in society is population growth and the way it is growing in populations that cannot sustain it and the way that growth is stagnating in some societies that need growth. I have no idea what the answer is other than education and cultural change. Whatever banking system we have the rich will still get rich and the poor will stay poor but that is a relative statement. The poor in the UK today seem better off than the poor of the 1950’s in terms of material comfort. Not sure how a comparative measurement of happiness would be made, but people are for the most part in better health and living longer.

  • savior_cinco

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]
    —-

    “I would advocate that 40% of the ownership of every company should be given to those who work in it.”

    Increase entitlements and one also increases the incentive to avoid such formal arrangements. Experience has shown, in the construction industry, for example, that the result is workers not being employed directly, but through some sort of shell/agency. Net result, an even greater spur to sub-contracting.

  • Phil the ex frog

    How about fixing the comments section here before anything else. Here’s a simple idea to encourage a wider pool of voices:

    Only one comment per person allowed for the first page.

    Come page 2 the repetitive bickering amongst a handful of regulars may resume.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig,

    I completely agree with you…”share ownership by workers” …but many enlightened companies offered that 30 years ago, and I guess some still do. It has made an enormous difference to me. It wasn’t a case of being given shares – but being offered a sharesave scheme on advantageous terms (because you are an employee) which you can contribute to if you want to.

    It works for multiple different reasons…

    But that was 30 years ago, before almost the entire financial world became totally corrupt.

    The current system is broken, and I don’t think there are any simple solutions to fix it.

    Tony

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Bob Smith

    “The poor in the UK today seem better off than the poor of the 1950’s in terms of material comfort.”

    That simply is not true. In the 1950’s the poor got a far better education, and health service than is available to anyone now.

    No one starved. Everyone either got an apprenticeship, or an opportunity for higher education (again of a much higher quality – than available now) largely paid for by the taxes of the Father – who’s income was sufficient to sustain a family, whilst Mother stayed at home to look after the Children.

    I partially agree with you, re growing populations – in 3rd World Countries…but population growth in Developed Western Societies is seriously negative re the indigenous.

    However, even in agricultural rich states like Kerala in India, population growth slows down and stops.

    One of the reasons why in many societies, people have so many children, is not just for religious and cultural reasons it is because of an exceedingly high death rate in young children – often due to easily preventable diseases such as Malaria.

    I can remember where I was in 1963 (Italy) when I heard that DDT was being banned.

    Societies (even human societies) tend to naturally breed to what is a sustainable level.

    There was a very high birth rate in the UK after WWI because so many young men had been killed.

    We never even felt poor, it was just normal – and compared to how it is now…we were rich.

    “Manchester named child poverty capital of Britain with 25,000 growing up in ‘severe poverty'”

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-named-child-poverty-capital-1220971

    Tony

  • giyane. I may well be a person of interest

    I thought the whole point of Tory policy was that however little the employees were earning, managers’ salaries kept pace with the manufacturing economies of France and Germany, so that we as a national economy could miserably flounder but retain executive parity with real economies of our neighbours.

    In 1979 I thought 4 years old was about right for a secondhand car. I’m now driving a 15 year old one.

    actually I don’t have much problem with the salary differentials but I do have a problem with the arrogant attitudes of managers who get paid a lot. Do they run degrees in dick-waiving and treating people as morons?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Republicofscotland,

    LOL…

    but in my experience there is just one person in any team, who is just so self motivated, and so frustrated with all the tossers supposedly in control telling him what to do – who don’t have a clue…he just breaks all the rules…

    and says to me – try this.

    The Kid saved us – we were about to go bust.

    It worked (brilliantly)

    Tony

  • Why be ordinary?

    Giyane

    Indeed, look at the car industry. Doing very well no we’ve got foreigners in to manage it. Nothing wrong with the workers

  • Tony_0pmoc

    defo

    21 Feb, 2016 – 4:20 pm

    Brilliant post.

    When I was 16 doing “A” Levels in Physics, Maths & Chemistry – well and General Studies – which was mainly as “geeks” about going to some of the Independant Cinemas in Manchester to see such films as Andy Warhol’s Flesh with Girls in the same year – organised by The Film Society – we didn’t know where to look…but we both fell in love with her..how could we not?

    Much too shy…

    But my mate Paul and I did come up with some fantastic original ideas whilst talking together in the library..just looking at her…

    Including the fact that we realised the coming era when we were a bit older – computers, robotics and automation…would result in a society – where most of us…would only have to work…maybe one or two days a week or month…providing there was a fair distribution to Everyone.

    So what happened..almost the total opposite…where at least 7 out of 10 people who actually have a job – are on a hamster wheel – chasing paper – trying to sell shit or just having a wink…

    Can the 7 out of 10 fix anything – or just talk about it amongst themselves – and even when WE are actually fixing the bloody thing – often up to our elbows in shit…they are telling us .. who are doing the work how to do it..??????

    I can do Dirty Looks Too.

    Look – She was just too beautiful….and we both knew if we asked her out for a date…she would blow us away…and then we would have to commit suicide…

    These things have been portrayed exceptionally well in The British TV Series Shameless (Manchester) and Skins (Bristol).

    I mean..I am looking at this …and I think..fck that is so true …that I could have personally written the scripts from experience = 20 – 30 – 40 years before..

    So not that much has changed..We are still much the same.

    Tony

  • Je

    Tony_0pmoc

    From your article:

    “The charity measures severe poverty by assessing the number of families which earn less than 50 per cent of the average income, and miss out on house insurance, saving, and family holidays.”

    I don’t have house insurance, never have a holiday, buy mainly basic or reduced food, don’t have heating on, hand wash, don’t have TV, live on about £22 a week not including rent – and consider myself fantastically wealthy. I scrimp – and I fortunately had everything – clothes, furniture, freezer etc before starting to live on that. But my basic needs are all met.

    There are poor people in this country but that statistical relative measure is a nonsense. Lacking safe, mould-free housing is real poverty. Not having adequate food is. Being forced to do a job you can’t bear probably is. Not having house insurance and family holidays isn’t.

    Generally, people are healthier today than they were in the 50s and the health provision in the UK is much better than then. In the 50s life expectancy was 65. Now its about 80.

  • Ben-Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism

    As long as wealth is equated with free speech the lop-sided economics will continue as well as the beatings until morale improves.

  • K Crosby

    ~~~~~Some forward looking companies tried giving employees in my late father’s company shares in their own company. I remember my father telling me most of them demanded cash instead of the shares and he lamented their blinkered thinking, This was late seventies by the way, before Thatcher.~~~~~

    That’s poverty, that is.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I would say myself that real poverty in this society consists of two major things, although there are many other important matters:

    – not having stable accommodation, always experiencing or in fear of losing one’s home;
    – not having at least one member of the family in stable, regular, secure employment.

    By those measures there are one hell of a lot of poor people in our society, and who in Parliament is taking the slightest interest in the matter?

    Kind regards,

    John

  • Ben-Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism

    Working classes have been warned for decades that their skills need to evolve with the age. But they continued the family tradition of working on a Union assembly line hardly noticing the robotic competition in the next warehouse. Denial is not a river in Egypt. Now that AI is poised to replace human activity we can begin bidding for which zoo we wish to be our new home.

  • Ben-Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism

    I haven’t been fortunate enough to meet many others who remind me of Snowden. Most lack the moral courage to do what is right despite the personal consequences. Many find that if they don’t exercise that model of courage they can live a little longer without self-respect and that’s good enough for them. It’s a diluted form of life yet it suffices for them.

  • Ben-Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism

    Tony; You and I seem fortunate beyond the average bloke. We have precious mates for the long-term. That gives us a leg-up on the less fortunate souls who are many. I just want to leave this mortal shell with some bona fides. I don’t want a ton of admirers, just a few who know and love me for what I am. That is enough for me.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The Goss… is That Turkey are going to Invade Syria in The Morning…

    Personally, I don’t think they have The Balls….

    or Rather..I know Turkish People Really Well

    They do Have The Balls

    What do you Reckon…

    Go on…

    Look at The ‘kin State of This Sad NAZI in Control of You…

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=erdogan+turkey&biw=1536&bih=708&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwih3pHl34nLAhVFVRQKHdigDPMQ_AUIBygC

    Even The Americans and The Israeli’s Can’t Stand Him

    Arrest Him…and Put Him on Trial

    Go on…Us British want You Lovely Turkish People to Show Us The Way

    Tony

  • Chris Rogers

    I was wondering whether or not to post on this issue of inequality and what actually to say, and then after visiting a few blogs I’ve not visited for sometime it dawned upon me, what we actually require is more inequality, actually the more inequality the batter, for as inequality grows and moves up the social ladder with wealth concentration, maybe, just maybe the sheeple will awake.

    Now, I was struck by all the hand wring about inequality at Davos either last year or the year before, regardless of the year inequality keeps growing and will continue to grow until the sheeple begin acting like social animals again.

    But why celebrate inequality, and growing inequality at that?

    Quite simple really, we have reached nearly ‘peak everything’, which means sooner or later we are going to have a severe bout of deflation and our masters don’t like deflation as it brings home how precarious our existence really is, it will also focus attention on moving away from the fixation of ‘perpetual growth’ and move us towards a more sustainable sociopolitical construct that’s more humane than the shit we have today.

    Indeed, Switzerland has already started the wagon rolling with its notion of a basic living allowance for all regardless of employment status – it may well have been voted down on first go, but as inequality grows more extreme something will have to give, and I trust that something will be the abolition of such terms as ‘strivers and shirkers’, which is so dehumanising its unbelievable.

    Given the riches available today, far greater than in any time in human history it is a sad reflection of our society that less than a 1,000 poeple own as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the global population, which, may be fine for those who have it, but is a disaster for those who don’t.

    So why deny the inevitable, revolutionary change must come, and will indeed come. That, or our masters will indulge in either catastrophic warfare or genocide of those deemed unacceptable, namely the vast bulk of the population who have fuck all!

    Although the likes of RD et al will spit their dummies, we really do need to wake up and small the coffee, particularly given the fact we live on a small planet with finite resources, particularly hydrocarbon resources that we have managed to squander in less than three centuries.

    You cannot escape all laws relating to thermodynamics, regardless what your neoliberal economists tell you, which means for now redistribution of what we have got, rather than chat about lowering inequality, which itself does not alter the reality or change the trajectory, as proven by all the hot air and all the talking heads at Davos, for in the proceeding timeline inequality keeps growing and will continue growing in the dysfunctional fascist-capitalist society that is much of the West. Oh, and the bloody EU, as with the USA is smack bang in the middle of it.

    In the meantime heres one Blog that makes many think on these issues – perhaps RD could lend his weight and views on that site as I’m sure Blairites are as welcome as modern Democrats are: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.hk

    PS.

    For the past three years I’ve been living on less than US$20,000 PA in one of the World’s most expensive cities, so know all about cutbacks, living with what i’ve got, but still sinking as rentals increase dramatically for sub-par accommodations, little wonder I get depressed, and still hope prevails!

  • Tony_0pmoc

    In 1999, or it may have been 2000..I had never really done HTML…but I had to write a website…and they sent me on a course…and it was raw HTML…almost (nah a lot easier than doing it in machine code)…

    So I just for a bit – only for an hour or so inserted this little bit of code on a website where I and about 100 or so other people used to write on regularly…

    I just wanted to get a kind of measure between the number of people who wrote and the number of people who never wrote anything..and it wasn’t that hard to register and write…

    I thought it might be about 10 to 1 or maybe 100 to one…

    But my hit counter just went completely mad…and it was over 1000 to 1.

    For every person writing..over 1,000 people were reading what we wrote…and most of the time it was complete shit…but they were reading what we writing.

    What’s The Ratio Now?

    Tony

  • Ben-Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism

    I’m sure the ratio is now to the 10th power, but what does that say? Is there reductio ad absurdum in the mix or is it cut and dried? But you ask ‘read’ vs ‘comprehend’ and that’s where it’s murky. Even murkier when the writers were operating on half the info and twice the confidence. Certainly you’ve seen ‘Idiocracy’.

  • defo

    Thanks Tony (even though that comment has gone into the moderated ether), I do enjoy your less than conventional commenting style. You seem to have your priorities right.

    As to my offering, I really worry for my/our childrens future. Where are all the jobs going to come from/be created ?
    In the not too distant future, Frau Merkels Germany are going to give us a taste of what’s to come under the neo-lib system. How are 1m refugees going to get work?
    Many are well educated, and no doubt the middle class will give up their comfort to hand their jobs away to the needy 😉
    And for the uneducated rump of migrants ?

  • John Macadam

    Didn’t J P Morgan have a similar view, taking no more than 20 times the lowest salary?

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