Re: [OPE] market socialism

From: Ian Wright (
Date: Tue Jul 01 2008 - 15:30:16 EDT

> 1. by itself  is not my concern here. But, when you combine
> 1 + 2 then you have a system in which the more income you have
> the more role you have in determining what goods are produced and in
> what quantities. This implies an inequality of *decision-making*
> since those with more income have more 'votes' in the marketplace.
> This is not a democratic process at all.  A principle of democracy
> is 1 person, one vote.  The principle of 'dollar votes' is one dollar,
> one vote. So, if your concern is a socialist democracy then you should
> be very wary of market socialism.

Humans are equal but they do not act identically. Members of a firm
should therefore be differentially rewarded because objectively they
differentially contributed to the firm's revenue.

In a democratic worker-owned firm the workers allocate the residual
income to themselves on a democratic, one-member one-vote basis. That's
because they are equal. But they may democratically decide to allocate
more of that income to some members and less to others.

The members of the firm are best placed to make this allocation
decision. They have local knowledge of how members acted and have
theories of how those actions affected the value of the firm's output.

If all members are paid equally, regardless of how they acted, then in
fact all members are paid unequally. It would not reflect the objective
causality of the situation and it would also violate common-sense
notions of fairness. I don't understand the motivation for wanting to
pay everyone the same. It makes no sense to me, although I'm open to

So it seems to me that one challenge is the design of intra-firm
democratic decision-making mechanisms that increase the probability that
members of a firm are correctly differentially rewarded.

I'm assuming these competitive and distributional relations are embedded
within a wider socialist constitution that progressively makes more and
more goods and services free for all.

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