Manifesto of Creator Society Movement
- 1. Dialectics of economic development
- 1.1. Thesis
- 1.2. Antithesis
- 1.3. Struggle of opposites
- 1.4. Institutional foundation for synthesis
- 1.5. Synthesis
- 2. Creator society
- 2.1. Criticism of consumer society
- 2.2. Creativity is the vocation of the human being
- 2.3. Creator economy
- 2.4. Human being and machine
- 2.5. Creator society is posteconomic society
- 3. Other factors of transition to cooperative model
- 3.1. Progress of freedom is economic democracy
- 3.2. Overcoming exploitation of one human being by the other one
- 3.3. Property and entrepreneurship spirit
- 4. Consequences of transition to cooperative economic model
1. Dialectics of economic development
The era of perfect competition stipulates that there are highest possible numbers of producers in some field and that’s why their actual number should be equal to number of experts in this field where everyone works for himself.Historically, this type of manufacturer is similar to the term "craftsman", although it can exist today when some new field of economics appears. Each manufacturer is both an employee and owner of own business. However, he can hardly be called "capitalist" because he receives income from his own labor only and not from capital. The whole capital which this manufacturer has he uses to work on it only by himself. Therefore, he has work income only.
Under conditions of perfect competition "property" hasn’t got cast that it will have then. Individual employees-owners, in fact, were not familiar with such phenomenon as capital and all that it could bring to their lives as they did not have any need for hired labor. Therefore, in economic substance their property was still vessel unfilled with content which would be filled with it only when the first employee was hired. We are likely not to be mistaken to deem an individual employee-owner of the era of perfect competition as just an employee in its economic substance. Of course, this situation is idealized but it’s easier to understand logic of events using this example. This state is initial for any new field at the beginning of its origin.
Over time it turns out that some manufacturers work better than others. They get more incomes and push out less skilled ones from market. To satisfy demand left they have to expand their production and they hire former competitors.At this stage of hiring employees successful individual manufacturers turn into capitalist owners who get incomes not from their own labor but from capital employees work on. Thus, each capitalist historically had to be an employee at very beginning (unless he inherited some property by inheritance, but in this case the one who initiated the capitalist dynasty at first had to be an employee). One cannot become a capitalist owner without being an employee at first. This is apparent in almost all corporations from Ford to Microsoft.So the first issue and thesis are an employee and antithesis is a capitalist and owner of means of production. Moreover, in our case antithesis was thesis in the past and could not appear without it and from anything else.It is exactly the stage where the word "owner" starts being associated with capital. An individual employee owner divides into an individual owner and collective employee working within the same institutional formation: some company. But now a former employee whose work contributed to possibility of hiring others and he found out what benefits his ownership on means of production would promise him: he gets all the income he receives that is all employees actually work on his income only. And he solely determines what part of that income to give employees. It’s a tempting situation, isn’t it? Especially paying attention to the below-mentioned circumstances.
The era of perfect competition naturally grows into oligopoly. There’s some small group of key enterprises concentrating significant part of means of production left on market of some particular field and it makes difficult and sometimes even impossible introduction of new players into market. For a capitalist it is a new opportunity to press an employee because the latter hardly has any choice left on labor market: several oligopolist companies usually offer the same labor conditions. This Hobson’s choice is based on formula “c'est a prendreou a laisser” [take it or leave it - Fr.].This scheme is also simplified for better understanding of the essence itself. Of course, several persons or minority shareholders can be owners but they do not change anything in the overall picture. Ownership entitles to manage and use profit by limited number of people only and in some rare case just by one person and, by the way, it can be often seen in practice.
1.3 Struggle of opposites
At this stage real struggle between thesis and antithesis – an employee and capitalist begins. Employees set up trade unions and go on strike and write newspaper articles and everything to improve their own employment conditions. They understand that they are exploited and therefore every attempt to improve productivity of labor is deemed as desire to strengthen exploitation.Work turns into a theater of operations where production itself is put aside. Obviously, this situation will negatively affect quality of work itself.Productivity under these conditions is not so high as it could be since an employee’s incentives to work are minimized as he understands that he is cheated and works because of hopelessness only to feed himself and his family. Work for him turns into inevitable burden which is required to do and forget it. A capitalist, sometimes inherited, becomes too spoiled and cannot see any reason to give anything up to employees. It wouldn’t beright to think that victory of one of the parties is triumph of requirements set by this party and we want to emphasize that any party can change situation.
In case of complete victory of capitalists separation of population will increase to the greatest extent and conditions and salaries in the view of cost cutting will deteriorate to a critical point and accordingly quality of life of employees will decrease. However, motivation of work will critically drop saying nothing of an ordinary employee motivation to offer innovative changes of production. Although it’s exactly an employee who usually knows all details of production and issues which can be improved. Having these conditions creative energy of enormous masses of people remains idle and it is hardly rational. Saying nothing of unfairness and nonsense of this phenomenon of separation of population.If trade unions win, employees will have such desired "freebie". Surely, it’s not a secret for anybody that today and before the main purpose of trade unions around the world has been to work less and earn more. This principle is entirely based on class struggle: to annoy capitalist exploiters employees feel their moral duty to achieve any "privileges" in every convenient occasion and it ultimately leads to "exhaustion" of money from capitalists as revenge for exploitation years.
Full social package (sometimes extremely full), early retirement and other benefits have made an employee a person being afraid to overwork extra 5 minutes and it makes a company owner put facilities in other regions such as China where the local population has more modest appetite. Following this logic activity and offers of trade unions become of destructive nature and what it can result in exactly example of Detroit in 2013 can eloquently show recognized as a bankrupt city including due to efforts of trade unions as well.
1.4 Institutional foundation for synthesis
To get nature of need and not of chance capitalist system and economy as business of a human being on the whole should have internal reasons independent of external factors that would lead to transition from capitalism to another model of economic relations. This transition should be put in a scenario of economic development at its very beginning and external influences and following this logic they can only speed up or slow down this scenario. In other words, to let our theory function capitalism must inevitably create institutional foundations for its own "death". And as we’ll try to show it below this is true.
Marx believed that driving force of transition to socialism would be proletariat which "will have nothing to lose but their chains" and poverty and low standard of living will push it to change economic structure. We believe that the opposite is true: no failure and poverty but namely success of capitalism and increase in standards living approach its end as in due time J. Schumpeter noticed it.Capitalism, to its credit, makes quite a high level of satisfaction with material benefits by broad masses and standard of living of the latter significantly increased in the past centuries. Conditions to satisfy needs for food, housing, clothes as well comprehensive development of a human being as he is are made. We’ll mark the following among the main achievements:
1. Increase in availability of education. Secondary education in most developed countries is compulsory for everybody and higher education, when setting this goal, can be obtained even by a native from a family not being so wealthy.This clearly correlates with development of capitalism and technological progress which it creates because at least basic secondary education is required nearly for any work today and a significant list of professions already requires higher education and this share continuously grows. That’s why it is exactly capitalism being a "consumer" of this number of educated people and it is a customer of their education.
2. Increase in availability of information. Making computers and Internet and television, radio and telegraph before and distribution of appropriate network for use of said appliances worldwide gives every ordinary citizen access to any desired information being previously hard to reach. Internet today becomes a convenient means of self-education for many people and capitalism is the creator of said conveniences.
3. Development of communication. Capitalism, on the one hand, making faster and more convenient means of transport from a car to plane and, on the other hand, devices enabling people to communicate at a distance provide new opportunities for communication and cultural development of identity.Communication between people significantly broadens mind and helps to understand that people living in different parts of the world have more things in common than different and therefore it increases cultural level and self-consciousness of a human being. Small town context gradually changes for global and world-wide and degree of solidarity between people of different races and nationalities grows accordingly.These mentioned achievements are results of the fifth technological structure and post-industrial society where value of knowledge a highly educated human being is a bearer of as well as value of information itself increase.
So-called "creative class" forms which is a new social institution undermining foundations of capitalism to the extent of its expansion.
Creative class is part of post-industrial society as its intellectual and cultural level formed on the basis of success of capitalism in the fields of education, information technologies and communications, but it can not fully succeed in capitalist system due to lack of motivation of higher level: ability to satisfy needs of belonging, respect and creativity within capitalist corporations.
Thanks to capitalism creative class has the first two needs of Maslow’s pyramid as satisfied: physiological and safety. The third need is partially satisfied in belonging to a social group. In private life it can be satisfied but at work it can’t be fully done since an employee where he is employed does not consider this corporation to be his own and does not associate success of this corporation with his own success. Corporation is not his because it does not belong to him.Satisfaction of needs in respect and especially creativity in capitalist corporations is nearly excluded, and first of all because of lack of motivation to show initiative as an employee is not a co-owner and does not have any share in profits. And management itself in most cases is not interested in opinions of "office plankton" this way expressing negligence for their skills. And "office plankton" feels this disrespect and loses motivation to work. Need for creativity under these conditions is not satisfied all the more, especially taking into consideration mostly mechanical nature of work of most employees.It must be admitted that a human being man at the peak of development of capitalism in his personal development overgrows capitalism itself. The thing which capitalism can offer seems too limited to him. Routine mechanical work and absence of voting right in matters of a company business limit a many-faceted human being with higher education which capitalism has established.
He wants to create himself as well as propose new ideas and implement them on his workplace and participate in discussion on equal terms with top managers whom he considers not too smart compared to him (and in most cases it’s true) and wants to feel be heard and to direct his creative energy into a useful way instead of writing endless reports and spending life at mindless paperwork.Representatives of creative class feel they can do more than they are asked to. Actually original name of this class is eloquent: a human being is willing to create, not push papers.An average employee today is ready for his new challenges. He does want both rights and obligations and responsibilities – just give it to him and he will structure his potential seeing his goal ahead and feeling that he serves for it. Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset once wrote that a key difference between aristocracy and plebeians is in internal sense of duty which makes the first voluntarily serve for a noble business. This is exactly the thing creative class misses today. Work for "not his own" corporation doesn’t surely seem this kind of business.
The effective system of relations "owner - employee" is demotivating. And the most motivating factor is, oddly to say, not even detachment from profits. As researches of companies using programs of employee participation in profits such as ESOP and others results are notable only when together with participation in profits voting rights mentioned above are added, namely real right to participate in a company business.Voting right gives a sense of involvement in mutual success. An employee feels that something depends on him since his opinion is taken interest of and moreover because his vote can be decisive when solving some particular problem. Yes, it is a kind of democracy at work. And performance of companies applying this democracy is much higher compared to others.In Western practice this motivation growth is called creation of "culture of property" when an employee begins to think like a real owner of a company taking into account full responsibility for it and that’s why whenever possible unlike an ordinary indifferent employee will not miss an opportunity to improve business.Obviously, achievements of true culture can be only in society of owners. And any programs of employees participation in profits and management cannot be compared with effectiveness when an employee is a true co-owner of some company.
Thus, capitalism naturally comes closer and creates institutional and social foundation for transition to new system of relations that takes into account level of human being development and opens door for full use of his potential for benefits of economy and humankind on the whole.
In capitalist dualism - "owner - employee" – each party completes the other party and they are inseparable and in its present form they cannot exist without each other.This is an owner who forms this type of employee – demotivated and offended and this is an employee who forms this type of owner who on the one hand spends huge money on regulatory authorities and formation of team spirit (it sometimes looks like just ridiculous) and on the other hand he doesn’t care about all this and moves production to Asia, where in a couple of decades he’ll be expected the same thing and sooner or later it’ll be nowhere to escape from new social conditions.Is it possible to achieve maximum economic development keeping this type of owner and employee? We think that figures of capitalists and employees have to pass into the past as they slow down progress having war between them. It’s possible to cut this Gordian knot using a new figure on the economic scene who would be synthesis of the previous ones. This is an employee owner of a cooperative.An employee owner chooses his management by a collective resolution and he can propose himself as a candidate. Management is controlled by employees and where appropriate as set by charter (a sort of the constitution of a company) they can change it. In most cooperatives Board of Directors is available elected by employees and on their behalf top management is appointed and controlled. In this case top management is like government and Board of Directors is like parliament in a parliamentary republic mentioned below.
Each employee has his share in ownership of some cooperative and therefore he has a guaranteed share in profits (as well as losses) and this way motivation connection between action and result is restored. Class war stops because there is nobody to fight with anymore. New intellectual and moral human capabilities of period of formed capitalism finally find their application at work that becomes having character of creativity.
2. Creator society
2.1 Criticism of consumer society
Today developed countries are able to boast with high level of freedom. This is considered to be great achievement and freedom is nearly considered the most precious value. But what kind of freedom is it? Positive freedom, "freedom for" exists: for creativity and self-fulfillment which provides responsibility of a creator, both positive and negative, for some result. Throughout history it was considered most noble to strive for this kind of freedom throwing off oppression of censorship by authorities to be able to write books, draw pictures, explore certain areas of science (actually that is also creative process) and in one word to create in a way there’s sympathy for. Creativity does not tolerate any dictatorship. But there is one more kind of freedom, "freedom from": from external enforcement in any field. If this freedom is not combined with freedom for creativity, it can grow into freedom to enjoy without any moral norms. This "empty" freedom and it relaxes a human being, reduces his internal discipline and tone enjoying is not aimed at some certain result to be responsible for. Process itself is important. If there’s no goal and move towards it, a human being loses his integrity. Actually, the word "integrity" comes from the word goal. One who has his goal is an integral personality. Excess of such "freedom from" causes degradation of a human being in unlimited enjoying.In fact today we see it in consumer society where all freedom is oriented at selection of chips or some computer game in a supermarket. This is an absolutely senseless and stupid life. A human being cannot fulfill himself as a personality.Some people say that it’s art too to know how to spend money or entertain. Indeed, it is self-deception. Art always gives something to the world and to consume that is to take something from the world without giving him anything in return is both the world abuse and one’s own creative energy abuse that does not get a way out.Moreover, permanent consumption never brings true pleasure but boredom only. And the more one immerses into this world of consumption, the more he feels that he cannot fully enjoy and starts getting bored and desire to try something extraordinary arises. So thoughts of things forbidden either by law or moral arise as it does not matter because everything else is bored already and something "new" is wanted to try. Boredom becomes driving force for many perversions and crimes in consumer society. People cannot just get enough. For someone it gets not enough to take part in variety of orgies and they do want to walk along central streets of a city to let everybody see that they are "of this kind". It’s not clear what other people should see it for.Then it seems not enough to them and they go even further attempting to legitimize their perversions after being entitled to adopt children and bring them up in this perverse environment and certainly under the flag of freedom, equality and democracy. It is obvious that they’re not get confused that nature deprived them of their right to deliver independently. In Ukraine it is called "have nothing better to do."
"That all is because of boredom, because of boredom…" – said a character of Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky."In life all is evil and I think it happens because of idleness, boredom, emptiness of soul ..." - Chekhov echoes to him with words of a hero of My Life.Only something "new" that is a regular novelty whatever it may be can meet abyss of need for consumption for some short time. Each novelty gets quickly boring. It gets boring because consumption is not the thing a human being needs and not because it is bad.A human being is willing to create. Holy fire burns in his soul and this fire wants to go outside and embody in work of art to leave some imprint of personality of its creator. And exceeding consumption rapes all this divine put in a human being by God.Pigs eat the same way as people do but people can create. If people do not create, they turn into pigs. And it's painful to watch it.
2.2 Creativity is the vocation of the human being
The Bible says: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." This can be understood as a call to be morally perfect but this view is only one facet of the possible. Moral perfection only is not interesting itself as individuality and greatness of a human being as image and likeness of the Creator do not express in it.Morality concerns what not to do than what to do more. That’s why, if there is nobody who needs help nearby, the meaning of life as it looks like is lost.It’s clear that something much more than just morality has to be which sometimes turns into dullness and pain in the neck and nothing more. In fact, morality itself keeps on existence of good and evil that always cast a shadow on it. If there’s no evil, there won’t be any morality. In due time Nikolai Berdyaev wrote about it.
The phrase mentioned from the Bible can be understood in a different way as well, given that God is the Creator of the world and human being and all the living things in general. From this point of view a human being must be like God in creativity and create by himself and permanently succeed in creative skills. This approach goes beyond framework of good and evil and it has no place for judgment of ones by others.It’s indicative that it’s exactly creativity that tops famous Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The psychologist believed that possibility to meet any need of a human being motivates him to act. When one need is met, another more quality need is required otherwise motivation decreases. If you have everything what can make you be interested. Maslow’s answer is creativity, namely possibility to fulfill one’s talent.
In our opinion it is exactly creativity that is a true human vocation in the world and to be a master is the greatest achievement. Master sounds proud! Though there are no limits of perfection, because Creator’s perfection itself is infinite.Confirmation of this can be always met. Any human taking a brush wants to draw something at once. His imagination activates that maybe hasn’t been demanded and waited for its appropriate time before.When working a creator abstracts from routine problems and transforms into format of supersubstantial existence as the object of his efforts only becomes important for him and he is completely absorbed and interested in it. At the same time consumption is put aside and creation of benefits and values become important first of all.Human nature reaches maximum intention in creative act. A scene from "One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Oleksandr Solzhenitsyn may be an example of this. Prisoner Shukhov was so involved in building the wall that everything lost its meaning - Soviet regime and the camp and cold and his mental and emotional state and chronically empty stomach as he and the wall existed only. He felt it as his duty to finish it professionally and in a quality way doing his best.It looks like he heard this duty somewhere in depths of his "ego" as a metaphysical duty of a master before some thing and when taking it in a wider framework before all the material world waiting for its transformation by a human being.
Probably most people know this feeling when they are involved in work being interesting and enjoyable for them.
Oppositely, when a human being doesn’t fulfill himself at work everything starts annoying him. Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography: "When people are busy working, they are in a better mood. Those days when our people worked and they were good-natured and cheerful. They spent nights in a joyful way realizing that they worked well during the day. But during the days of forced idleness they were irritable and quarrelsome and they looked for flaws in pork, bread, etc. and were permanently in a bad mood".
"There is hardly any higher pleasure than pleasure to create" - Mykola Hohol once wrote and in our opinion he was right.
From the point of consumer society a material thing isn’t a goal and from the point of a human being creator is a tool and goal is creative transformation and improvement of the world.
That is why creativity has more truth before God and eternity since any material thing is temporal and it is not worth putting it as the absolute goal. And in creative urge a human being joins something higher at least for a while.
We believe that the next stage after consumer society is creator society being creative and constructive society focused on not how to get but give own energy to an object of creation.But firstly one needs to change economic model so that it will open opportunity for everyone’s creativity.
2.3 Creator economy
In order to adapt economy to peculiarities of creative process it is necessary first of all to see what creativity is. We are not interested in its theoretical definition what can be discussed for a long time but so to speak mechanism of creative process that we have to bring into economic framework.A creator being either an artist, writer or anyone else embodies his creative idea into a particular work of art using materials and tools.For a sculptor material is stone and tool is a hammer and for an artist material is paints and canvas and a tool is a brush. And so on. It’s the easiest for writers at all as it is enough just a pen and sheet of paper for him.
Translating it into economic terminology a brush in hands of an artist is his means of production. Some plant or factory together with all the equipment there is the same means of production for an employee.
Accordingly, if we want to provide creativity in economy, we have to give an employee material and means of production he will create by using them. However, to dispose of them under total freedom. Creativity is impossible without freedom and talent then again does not tolerate any kind of dictatorship (or censorship which in this case is the same). Works of art won’t do under pressure.Perhaps for majority the thesis about total freedom for an employee leading to chaos at workplace has seemed adventurous however, when freedom is not balanced with responsibility only. Then flight of inspiration is balanced with cold calculation of potential losses and an employee begins to think more realistically.
So here we should remember that our economic system has to offer an employee maximum freedom to dispose of means of production as well as maximum responsibility for this.
One more important point is that employees don’t work independently in economy as opposed to artists and writers. It’s more effective work together in large enterprises and provide additional synergic effect of scale.
What does it change? It changes the way that we get a collective creative unit, workforce of an enterprise. And this workforce has to act as a single organism and it has to have single view on company development strategy and final product (which should be a real work of art) and assignment of responsibilities.
Work of this workforce being a kind of creative association should be based as mentioned above on the basis of maximum freedom and responsibility for each employee.
What does this mean in practice?
Freedom is an opportunity to participate in discussion of any matters, especially regarding selection of company's strategy, product, target market, etc. and as it’s most important have voting right voice that can be decisive. In one word it is democracy. However, democracy is not bringing up for discussion all issues. Then it won’t be time to work. It’s discussion and voting on company’s key issues only. Management whom powers to manage current work are delegated must be elected for current purposes. In our opinion this approach is quite good.
Responsibility is distribution of incomes and losses of a company by each employee on equal terms with other members of staff. And after that only an employee begins to feel it in his own wallet and common success depends on his work.Of course, it does not necessarily foresee equalization as each employee’s contribution can differ. Finally, employees themselves have to agree how to distribute profits. Nobody should interfere in this case nor enforce them the only right "fair" approach (this concerns, above all, a state that likes to interfere in private affairs with its "fairness").It is this exactly the model that, in our opinion, would include mentioned properties able to adjust creativity process to business practice, namely economy, in the closest way.
After examining the existing organizational and legal models we concluded that the cooperative matched the above considered one in the most appropriate way. And practice of its operation in the world confirms our conclusion in general.
In cooperatives means of production belong to workforce and everybody is a co-owner. Right of ownership, in its turn, stipulates responsibility for success or failure of a company and it means that it authorizes on share of profit or loss. Cooperative members elect management delegating them powers of current management for a certain period. Democracy in action.
The most important thing is that in cooperative economy right of ownership on means of production becomes affordable for an average citizen. Today anyone can buy products of consumption in a shop but the key industries are concentrated in hands of tycoons. And opportunity to buy one or two shares of these companies on a stock exchange can hardly change anything in terms of influence on them.
If property is available for consumption only, it can become an end in itself. In fact, we can see this thing in the world today. Cooperative form of ownership opens to broad masses the way to ownership on means of production – for each workforce in its company where every employee is a co-owner.
Of course, such mechanism can function under high quality of elements only, namely employees. This way any technical system is arranged and social systems do. It’s the same like a computer with old hardware will not "get" some new operating system and this way ordinary labor staff of an average company indifferent to whatever is unlikely to "get" some new advanced organizational structure.
Employees must first be "upgraded" and in our case it means to learn. It takes time but as usual results are worthy as executive directors speak about it (see Lary Goode - Creation of culture of ownership).
Thus, we examined one field of our life, economy, from the point of view of its adapting to requirements of creativity. And it should be known that economy is the basis for all other fields and anyway it comes into them and leaves its mark there. So we think that after adapting economy to requirements of creativity other fields will be automatically reformatted but gradually for a new mode of functioning.
It gives reasons to think that this "creator economy" can become the basis for a brand new type of society, creator society, where deeper and spiritual aspirations instead of endless consumption and hedonism will be the meaning of its existence while in the other part of the globe children die of famine.
Creator economy isan economic system based on ownership of employees on means of production and results of work where principle of economic democracy is available: one man - one vote providing this way higher level of freedom, motivation and creative self-fulfillment compared to capitalist model.
This specified economic model stipulates free market, noninterference in market self-regulation by a state, private entrepreneurship initiative as the main factor of economic development and cooperative form of ownership on means of production as a factor of fair distribution of company's profits and overcoming detachment of an employee from means and results of labor.
Creator economy takes into account advantages of free market and rejects disadvantages of socialism and fair criticism of capitalism by socialism.
2.4. Human being and machine
It is worth mentioning the fact that scientific and technological progress contributes to forming creator economy. Machines which have often been showed as competitors to employees in fact free them from boring mechanical work to have more intellectual and creative one.
This trend can be generally described as intellectualization of labor due to scientific and technological progress. More work is carried out without hands, namely by head, as it confirms expansion of service business in the structure of the economies of developed countries and automation of production in real sector.
Existence of machines themselves is a phenomenon already confirming human intention to create. Creating a machine by a human being is expression of internal disagreement that a human being has to perform mechanical work. This is a request for something more. It expresses a subconscious desire to shift thoughtless alternate movements on something similarly thoughtless not capable for flight of imagination and leave something interesting.
Therefore when seeing automated production everybody feels satisfaction with rationality and beauty of this state of things inside: power of human mind freed a human being from punishment "to earn bread by the sweat of one’s brow."
However, full freedom from this punishment can happen only if completely returned to God and transition to truly Christian economic relations both in terms of providing opportunities for creativity and in terms of Christian treatment between human beings as mentioned below.
Mechanical work, at last, may be performed by machines as God and the human being are capable to create only.
2.5. Creator society is posteconomic society
Today capitalist economic model restrains application of creative energy accumulated in humankind. As title on means of production gives title on income their concentration in hands of oligarchy automatically makes the rest of population poor. If not overcome poverty, we cannot think of whatever creativity worldwide. To create when someone has run short of bread is blasphemy.
Economy is a kind of logic puzzle for humankind. Hundreds of economists do try hard to find out how it works. Different scientific schools like Marxists, liberals, Keynesians are established but there’s no single approach at the moment. This search has been going on for ages due to impossibility to check the theory in experimental conditions.
The USSR set up an experiment on itself and proved experimentally that Marxism was a mistake. Capitalist countries also show that capitalism even being better is not so good.
As long as a country does not show a right option and solution to this dilemma in practice called "economy", all others will "go on wandering in darkness."
As soon as economic model assuring high level of material well-being, motivation of labor, social responsibility and respect for nature is showed in some single country, other countries will join. We are convinced that this model exists otherwise our life won’t make any sense. In fact, the very model has been above mentioned and its advantages will be listed below.
Economy is just one "level" being not the most difficult and the most interesting. After resolving general well-being issues humankind passes to the next level in the game of knowing the world, itself and Wisdom of God appearing in everything. And on this highest level it’s possible not just to learn but dare to create new reality.
Hedonism and waste of life in entertainments and consumption is not the thing a human being should do, as we think. In addition, own consumption in new environment should be reduced because volume of consumption by humankind depends on how much it can produce. And means of production are concentrated in workforces which should treat extraction of natural resources and effective use products of consumption more respectfully as they know their cost.
Civilizations where cult of consumption flourished degraded fast. And why repeat this way if broad masses get means of production available and, consequently, creativity in the broad sense of the word.
Humankind will create. But cooperatives have to cooperate with each other to let representatives of different nationalities feel entire and become as "one nation".
Cooperation between cooperatives is one of the principles of cooperative movement set in program documents of International Cooperative Alliance. And in our opinion quite a long time should pass before people reject small-town patriotism and begin to think in the framework of all humankind.
Before it it’s worth stopping for a while and think who the human being is and who created the human being and what the human being lives for. Sufficient material benefits for everyone will finally allow to think about it.
Under these conditions economy is put aside. This society can be surely called posteconomic.
Knowledge of oneself and the world and God having created both the world and human being becomes the most important thing here. It is about spiritual development and scientific study of nature and space and, finally, search for the lost unity with God and restoration of this unity. These are finer and more pleasant topics than economy.
In unity with Creator the human being can and must find courage to dare to create by himself - create a new type of the human being, new harmony with nature continuing universe started by Creator going on the level of the noosphere academician Vernadsky wrote about.
To create eventually new forms of beauty that will inspire those who contemplate them to have their own achievements. As contemplation of beauty is essential, and it should be minded, very pleasant element of life of a human being-creator.
The only criterion here will be beauty and no money. And there’re no limits for its diversity and perfection because there are no limits for diversity and perfection of God.
This is a new challenge before humankind being much more widespread than contemporary economic problems. And much more interesting. Economy gets lost near it in its insignificance.
We’d like to believe that we’ll be able to pass to this level of existence! Words of Vasyl Symonenko are the best to start with:
- Hey, new Columbuses and Magellans,
- Fill sails of our dreams!
- Oceans call us to travel,
- And surf licks bay of calm.
Creator society is a posteconomic society where production and consumption of goods are just servicing and auxiliary tools of a human being to know God, self-knowledge and scientific progress and, moreover, dare to create new unity with God and harmony with the world through creation of noosphere.
3. Other factors of transition to cooperative model
3.1 Progress of freedom is economic democracy
German philosopher Georg Hegel believed that history was "progress in awareness of freedom." Freedom is realized need according to the philosopher. In other words, a human being throughout history goes through certain stages where a human being realizes his need for expansion of own freedom and then changes conditions of life in accordance with new requirements. This is irresistible logic of history.
Democracy around the world has replaced monarchy. It seems natural and looking back, somebody hardly has any doubts that it could happen another way. The system where one person has unlimited power has been replaced for the system where one person has one vote equally with others and everyone can come to office as the head of a state. Thus, freedom covered everyone. It was unlikely to happen if this "freedom for all" would not be really more efficient and therefore rational than despotism and its "freedom for favorites."
However, without economic freedom the right to vote in democratic election is little to do with. We can agree with Marx that economy in this case is the basis for politics and tycoons gaining economic power easily influence on political process.
Such distortion of democracy in politics resulted in disbelief of many people in democracy at all.
But return back to monarchy is unlikely to be a way out. We think it’s necessary to go forward and expand freedom on economy to ensure completeness of both political and economic democracy in society.
If a monarch was not appointed by people and transferred power as inheritance, a contemporary tycoon - owner of a factory isn’t similarly appointed nor controlled by workforce and he transfers his factory together with his employees to his children as inheritance.
The alternative system is the cooperative where each employee has one vote for appointment of management and participation in choosing business development directions. However, other person irrespective whether this person works or does not work in a cooperative cannot transfer or sell this voice. This kind of democracy.
In addition, the most common thing is so-called Board of Directors of a cooperative elected by employees and top management elected and controlled by the very Board of Directors. It is very similar to a parliamentary republic where Board of Directors is parliament, and top management is government. Just agree this analogy makes think.
Given that it is parliamentary republic that is the most spread in the world (obviously not after all the others due to its effectiveness) progress from capitalist to cooperative economic system, as we suppose, should be the next landmark of expansion of human freedom.
Summing democracy topic we think that its development is generally directed at performance of one single fundamental right of a free human being which, in our opinion, was brilliantly formulated by Vadym Bilotserkivskyi in his book "Continuation of the hystory: Synthesis of socialism and capitalism": the human casting vote right in all matters relating to him and in all structures where this human being is a member: from employment area to a state.
The only one structure where "members" mustn’t have the right to vote is prison. Capitalism equates employees to prisoners and deprives opportunity to influence on economic processes in a state by most of population. Cooperation corrects this unfairness providing economic democracy in society.
Mentioned casting vote right equally with right to labor results sharing ideas of Vadym Bilotserkivskyi should form the basis of Constitution of every democratic country.
We think that economic development encourages to distinguish a separate chapter in Constitution - "Human economic rights and freedoms" which will be peculiar Economic Constitution and protect the basic integral human rights in this field of life.
3.2 Overcoming exploitation of one human being by another one
One of the main claims to capitalism has always been that it makes conditions for exploitation one human being by another one. The human being in capitalism is not a goal. The goal is money and profit the owner of a company wants to get using equipment and raw materials and workforce. It means an employee is equaled to equipment. Equipment needs depreciation expenses and an employee needs expenses of the owner of a company to recover his physical condition.
In this system of an employee-small screw relations an employee is not an independent entity but and dependent object, a means but not a goal. Means to get some profit. And an employee himself doesn’t have any share in this profit. An owner (if wanted) can give an employee some certain part as well as fail to do it.
Christianity teaches to love your neighbor as yourself. Love to your neighbor is exactly approval of a neighbor as a goal. Happen what may your neighbor shouldn’t be just an intermediate link to achieve some goal – a chain must end on a neighbor as this neighbor must be the goal. The person you love is the goal of all your actions.
Regarding capitalism an employee is an intermediate link between the owner of a company and profit. And an intermediate link can be a means only. That’s why, it is possible surely to say that capitalism is based on principles being contrary to Christian ones.
Immanuel Kant in his categorical imperative confirmed that a human being should be a goal for other human being only based on view of mind and not heart.
Accordingly, if this thesis is right, then economic relationships it is based on should be more efficient than capitalist ones. Otherwise, what is the meaning of good if evil is more efficient? As Volodymyr Solovyov noted good was benefit. Welfare and material welfare are meant as well. Therefore, any industry operating on principles of good should be more efficient in comparison with the situation as if it operated on contrary principles.
The foregoing concerns the question of economic efficiency based on Christian love. It is often heard that this model is unlikely to be more efficient than capitalist one but even from the point of view of pure logic it would be nonsense and in this case it could be safely said that Kant, whose logical reasons could be hardly denied, was among persons being mistaken (if even the Bible is no authority for someone and only mind reasons are).
That’s why economic system that has to replace capitalism and in particular because it’s more efficient compared to capitalism is a system that should be based on Christian principle of love to a neighbor (or Kant’s categorical imperative that is the same).
But what does love to a neighbor mean in economy in practice? It means that an employee cannot be an intermediate link in getting profit. The chain must end on an employee. Consequently, if an enterprise replenishment cycle finishes with getting profit, then an employee must be available on the last stage meaning that this employee should get profit as well. And nowadays this employee fails to do it.
In capitalism an employee has no legal right to share in profits, because it is not an owner of means of production. An owner of these means of production, namely a shareholder this company belongs to, has right to some profit. What should be accordingly done to make our economic conditions Christian? An employee should be made a co-owner of a company. And persons not being employees should be prohibited to be shareholders since in this case employees become a means for them once again (even if these employees have some share too).
The cooperative is exactly an organizational form where each employee is a co-owner and profits are distributed among all employees without exception.
And the most important thing is that new employees are not hired in a cooperative but made equal partners and co-owners of this cooperative. Therefore, principle of employment where one person works for the other one and the latter gives this person a kind of sop in form of work when one is an employer and other one is "a work beneficiary" is excluded here.
Each member of a cooperative is interested in the other one and there is interdependence between them. Everyone understands that a team will stop functioning as a whole without just one member, so everyone is an equal partner. And this is exactly Christian organization of economic relations.
3.3 Property and entrepreneurship spirit
"Capitalist process replacing factory walls and equipment with just a pile of shares dilutes the very idea of ownership" - wrote Joseph Schumpeter in his essential work "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy" (1942). He was the first to introduce factor of innovations as driving force of progress in consideration of market economy and at the same time drew attention to institutional changes in formed capitalism that could level that spirit of entrepreneurship of early capitalism era stimulating business to take risks and implement innovations or at least treat own business responsibly .
"This disappearance of what can be called as material substance of property, its visible and tangible reality, does not only affect its owners treatment but treatment of employees and society as a whole. Property being dematerialized and deprived of their functions doesn’t impress nor inspire sense of loyalty as it did during the period of its prosperity. Within some time nobody will be left who would really care about its future both in large corporations or out of them."
As a result, those who are employed in corporations don’t own these corporations and those who own them on paper do not feel any emotions to businesses owned.
We suppose that responsibility, commitment to some undertaking and entrepreneurial spirit which, sharing Schumpeter’s opinion, are based on "material substance of property" should not pass into history together with sense of ownership and on the contrary they should be spread from several favorites to broad masses on the basis of the principle of freedom progress. This property spreading in fact will mean progress of positive freedom, freedom to create which is impossible without ownership of means of production whether it’s a brush or machine.
At a company level an employee-owner starts experiencing both all benefits of ownership, namely participation in profits and democratic management and responsibility for company’s state of things and risks related to its business. It helps bring up sense of responsibility, internal discipline and greater inclination to initiative and openness to changes.
An employee-owner starts understanding that enterprise’s future depends on his activity, so he needs to constantly implement innovations and become their initiator by himself. An employee becomes an entrepreneur in Schumpeter’s understanding, an innovator who thinks in the framework of innovative development and he should learn and develop by himself.
Property itself ceases to be merely "a pack of shares" and "material substance property" again finds its true owner and this time it’s a collective employee-owner who combines thesis and antithesis of the past structure – an entrepreneur and employee becoming as a whole.
This society of innovators who are not afraid of changes but on the contrary constantly seek and implement them in their workplace, may build a state which will be avant-garde among countries in economic and social development and an example of modernity in thinking and mobility as to implementation of new ideas. Finally, this principle deserves to be spread around the world, because every human being is worth being an innovator and creator and the world has been waiting for this human being for ages.
4. Consequences of transition to cooperative economic model
1. Reducing of population stratification. Elimination of the oligarchy and strengthening the middle class.
Only ownership gives the right to participate in profits, so in a capitalist system, all profits go to the owners pocket, who only then decides how much to pay for the salary of the workers. That is how creates a population stratification, because it all depends on the goodwill of the oligarch-owner, and he usually leaves himself most of the profits, and workers get only leftovers.
In a cooperative worker collective is the owner of the enterprise itself, and each of its members is a co-owner, so the profit is distributed more or less evenly between all the workers-owners. Thus, the formation of the oligarchy becomes impossible at the stage of profit sharing at the micro (firm) level. There is no just that one person who takes all. Everyone gets a share of the profits.
Ownership gives workers a stable source of income, which is the basis for the formation of a strong middle class. The middle class, which has a source of income in the ownership of the company where he works, is more self-sufficient and independent than that middle class, which consists of employees, since oligarch could dismiss the employees at any moment, so, in fact, they are on the oligarch hook. In the cooperative model, middle class is a boss for itself.
2. Restoring reputation of democracy as political system.
Politics in the absence of oligarchy will not depend on some separate influential persons but enterprises controlled by employees so there’re more chances that politicians will be governed exactly by interests of broad masses. Politics funding will be carried out in a more diversified way and indeed wider involvement of middle class will become the only way out due to absence of tycoons. Even if politicians are funded by large cooperative corporations, corporations management are anyway controlled by workforce and some politician must take it into account.
3. Unemployment rate reduction.
Unfair distribution of profits between an owner and workforce provides that an owner receives a share in profits exceeding the amount necessary to meet his needs.
As a result, a business owner gets surplus that can be used in expansion of production and creation of jobs or investment in less risky fields like works of art, precious metals and stones, a deposit account in a bank (in that case money will be returned to economy but with interest load).
Psychological addiction to save makes a business owner not take any risks. He chooses the second option and actually removes money from economy. As a result, shortage of means of production which could meet demand for work by population forms. Consequently unemployment rate increases.
But workforce is more interested in reinvesting profits in production, because level of meeting its needs is much lower and it expects to raise it by its future profits. In addition, an employee has a direct creative interest in work through which he can fulfill himself and that’s why he will invest money in development of an enterprise.
4. Work productivity increase.
Due to new work motivation as participation in management and profits work productivity increases. Working in a cooperative provides democracy experience at the primary level, teaches to agree and unite. Work in this framework allows to feel as part of something larger and single, large common undertaking. And unlike abandonment of capitalism here a human being feels to be required and so this human being will work with more insistence.
5. Reduction of government regulation of economy. Disappearance of the category of "dependents".
Due to population separation in capitalism one is tempted to experience public redistribution at the expense of budget. Some sort of middle class can be really created by this redistribution. However, quality of this middle class is very doubtful. The question is how, from whom and doing what a human being earns money. Human dignity is fulfilled only when a human being earns his living rather than waiting to be "given" by somebody.
The phrase "give salary" jars on ear as something humiliating and disgraceful which a priori stipulates dependence of one human being on other human being’s will. Moreover, if it is not salary but social aid and the state represented by a bureaucrat turns into a nurse. In fact, it humiliates both parties since it awakens bad feelings among the both: servility and pridefulness. In a fair society, in our opinion, charity will not take place.
Scandinavian or "redistributive" socialism is not effective precisely because it makes society of dependents who like small children wait for being given regular portion from budget and if failed they start being naughty and protest. Children and disabled persons must be supported only and all others have to earn themselves.
Cooperative system resolves this matter as an employee-owner earns by himself and doesn’t wait for any gifts from anybody including a state. Therefore, government regulation of economy becomes needless.
6. Speed up of scientific and technological progress.
The organizational structure of modern corporations is not inclined to risk and innovations. Well-known economist Schumpeter warned about this at the beginning of the 20-th century. A manager is not inclined to risk of innovations if not being an owner of future profits. In a cooperative this motivation is restored.
7. Failure in overseas expansion of national economy.
Different locations of an owner and workforce make abroad economic expansion possible when companies are owned by foreigners. The same location of an owner and workforce being the same person makes foreign expansion impossible.
8. Improvement of ecology.
Different locations of an owner and production make it unnecessary to follow environmental standards or prevention from forced extraction of resources, because this owner does not live there and feels no consequences of these actions. All is opposite in a cooperative.
9. Avoidance of exploitation of own consumers by corporations.
Today, it’s caused a split personality of a producer and consumer. Dominating big corporations can not be identified with an average consumer on the market since their owners are natural persons or top managers forming company’s policy and they represent only a small part of society and have incomes being much more than average ones.
This situation distorts the market environment making a superstructure in the form of market of goods of prestigious consumption for owners and top managers of corporations.
On the one hand they are not consumers of mass consumer goods and on the other hand they are not responsible for development, implementation of innovations, safety and quality of goods. Taking into account oligopolization of many industries risk of exploitation of consumers by corporations by the way of manipulating with safety, quality and goods cost.
The situation when a car company does not recall unsafe cars because repair will cost more than litigation after deaths of drivers is excluded in cooperatives: those who make decisions use these cars by themselves.
10. Independence of mass media. Strengthening of information security. Promotion of cultural values.
Mass media in the absence of tycoons and consequently owners being able to influence editorial policy in their own interests can be funded either directly cooperatives providing workforce with access to objective information or through by contributions of its audience through electronic payment systems. The latter option means complete independence of mass media and assures jobs for journalists if they will do their job professionally. Public should appreciate it with its material support.
No influence of tycoon clans on mass media in mercenary purposes including to influence political processes will prevent from articulation of false information threatening to information security of a state as well as information making population stupid to divert from social and political problems by mass media. Mass media will represent society and work for it increasing its cultural and intellectual level.
Roman Skliarov, Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, December 01, 2013