How does the Tournament function?
The concept of a “free market” does not exist in any discussion of the Work-Standard. This is simply due to the Mode of Production that the Work-Standard has introduced, Production for Dasein. The Intent of economic life has changed from one revolving around Kapital and Schuld to a completely different one around Arbeit and Geld. All the Enterprises of every Industry are going to compete for the “greatest Quality of Arbeit for the least Quality of Geld.” To put another way, the very notion of what constitutes as “competition” and “success” will be subject to changes in order accommodate the newfound dynamics introduced by the Work-Standard. The Enterprise with the best-possible Arbeit in terms of its human potential and mastery of its machines will be the one that leads the rest of the Enterprises in their Industry.
Economic power in the Tournament is not measured by the extent to which an Enterprise has “greater possession” over the Tournament. That was the real issue of Neoliberal economic theory. What the Work-Standard will seek to instill is the idea of successful Enterprises gaining a “higher position” in their respective Industry and Economic Sector within the Tournament. It is a mundane affair that has everything to do with every Enterprise’s Quality of Arbeit (QW) and Quality of Geld (QM).
One of the priorities of the Central Planners under Mission-Type Economic Planning (MTEP) is to rank the QW and QM of each Enterprise for every Industry. A ranking system is to be employed, organizing all of the known Enterprises within an Industry from the higher QW and QM values to the lowest. The one with the highest position in the pecking order will be recognized as being the highest creator of Arbeit and Geld for the Life-Energy Reserve. Letters of commendations and special prizes from the State may be issued to all members of the Enterprise, in addition to medals and promotions to a higher “Social Rank.”
A Social Rank is the formal designation denoting an Individual’s place within the hierarchical command structure of the Socialist Nation. Everyone starts at the lowest Social Rank upon starting secondary school and it is up to each Individual whether they want to–metaphorically speaking–“pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and achieve the next higher Social Rank. Every Profession shares the same Social Ranking System, so if anyone decides to choose more than one Profession as part of their Vocation, their Social Rank will still be the same regardless. An Individual can check their current Social Rank in their personal Service Record, which will also include any letters of commendation and medals awarded from the Council State. There are medals eligible for everyone of all ages, in addition to those within specific Professions.
For Enterprises, the concept of Social Rank becomes an extension of the Tournament concept mentioned earlier. Here, an Enterprise’s Social Rank is correlated to their contributions of Arbeit and generations of Geld to the Life-Energy Reserve. Increasing the amount of Arbeit and Geld to the Life-Energy Reserve will allow the Enterprise to boost its chances of reaching the next higher Social Rank.
Imagine for a moment that there is an Enterprise that is currently positioned at the top 20 highest creators of Arbeit and Geld in their own Industry. Their contributions to the Life-Energy Reserve at a monthly rate of about 30,000 GDM makes them No. 15 in their Industry. The Enterprise at No. 14 makes 32,000 GDM. If the first Enterprise decides to create more Arbeit and Geld than the other Enterprise, creating 32,500 GDM in the next month, its members will be able to take the place of the other Enterprise. Once the Central Planners find out that the first Enterprise is making more than the other one, they will update their Social Ranks to reflect that change. Come next month, the first Enterprise will be at No. 14, the other Enterprise now occupying No. 15.
One important benefit for Enterprises reaching a higher Social Rank is for the members themselves to become eligible for promotions to higher Social Ranks from the Council State. It is possible to expect the Council State to reassign members of more successful Enterprises to work at the less successful ones in order to help them catch up with the others. Exactly who will be reassigned can be anyone: a Civil Servant, and Administrator, one of the Economic Planners, and so forth. Whoever is best-qualified for the reassignment is the one chosen to the upcoming task.
Another benefit for more successful Enterprises concerns them occupying a higher Social Rank in their respective Industry. Enterprises with higher Social Ranks may be eligible to partake in the important role of leading their Industry. That includes setting the priorities of the Industry with the formal blessing of the Central Planners and the State Commissariats. This particular aspect is made possible because of the technical specifications of Mission-Type Economic Planning (MTEP).
What Makes MTEP Different from Conventional Economic Planning?
The best way to comprehend MTEP for those who not read The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) is to imagine a thousand smaller “Four-Year and Five-Year Work-Plans” being carried out in fulfillment of a single Central Plan that provides only the bare minimum. The Central Plan will state that there are important priorities and needs which are of paramount importance to the long-term future of the Socialist Nation. No Central Plan will contain any quantifiable figures or targets to reach. That is where the idea of the Kontor (Financial Office) issuing Work-Plans come in.
A Work-Plan is one of several types of National-Socialized Financial Instruments (NSFIs) that were discussed in The Work-Standard. They can be issued to Individuals and entire Enterprises in Four-Year or Five-Year increments. The basic premise of any Work-Plan is simple. An Individual or Enterprise promises to contribute a set amount of Arbeit within a specific Profession or Industry in exchange for a corresponding set amount of Geld from the Council State. The amounts of Arbeit to be contributed and the subsequent payouts in Geld can be arranged in advance at the Kontor, provided that the investor contributing the Arbeit can meet their goals in the allotted timeframe.
The “Maturity Date” is the determined end of the Four-Year or Five-Year Plan. If the investor manages to achieve their goals two years before the Maturity Date, they will receive a bonus Stipend for going above and beyond what most people are capable of doing. If the investor finishes less than two years prior to Maturity Date, no Stipend will be given. However, for those who fail to achieve their goals past the Maturity Date, they will be asked by the Kontor to recompensate the Council Stae in payments of Schuld.
2 Years or More before the Maturity Date = Stipend + Payout
2 Years or Less before the Maturity Date = Payout
Less than 3 Months Past the Maturity Date = (Payout / 2)
More than 3 Months Past the Maturity Date = (Payout / 2) – Schuld
For those who are concerned, there is no Interest Rate or any hidden fees besides paying the mandatory Service Fee to the Kontor for its financial services. Also, there will be a generous three month window for them to finish the Work-Plan, albeit at half of the original Payout. Anything after that three month window is the Payout split in half plus Schuld.
There is an Explicit Intent as to why MTEP is organized in the manner that it is. Work-Plans not only provide an additional source of Arbeit and Geld, they also delegate the matters of Central Planners and their subordinate Economic Planners and retinue of Accountants to the rest of the VCS Economy. This ensures that the VCS Economy will have greater flexibility in carrying out their usual “Constitutional Obligations” and “Legal Duties” on top of executing the Work-Plans. There are Constitutional Obligations which concern the Council State and the Totality, just as there are Legal Duties for the Self at their workspace. They, along with the Work-Plans themselves, need to be abided without the Central Planners having to micromanage the actions of everyone involved in the Enterprises, Industries, and Sectors of the VCS Economy.
Just like the rest of the VCS Economy, Cooperatives and Small Businesses have their own set of Legal Duties and Constitutional Obligations. They too are also entitled to purchase Work-Plans and receive payment from the Kontore (Financial Offices). However, compared to the Self and the rest of the VCS Economy, Cooperatives and Small Businesses conduct their Work-Plans as part of their superior Guild. This is due to their limited size and clout that deters them from being able to realize the more lucrative Work-Plans done by NSEs, SOEs, and SAEs.
To level the proverbial playing field, the Kontore are allowed by the Council State to issue another NSFI called “Fiefs” to Cooperatives and Small Businesses as part of MTEP. Normally, a Fief is reserved for those whose creation of Arbeit comes from performing tasks and assignments which would have otherwise been considered as Meaningless Work or else automated by the Central Bank’s Mechanization Rate under Production for Dasein. They replace the notion of unskilled, menial workers begging for “tips” from complete strangers as well as issuances of “stocks” by financial markets. Owning a Fief is akin to being entitled to a pre-determined stake in the Drawings of an Enterprise, so it is great for secondary school and university students to “get their foot in the door” before moving on to some real Meaningful Work in another Profession.
Although the Value of a Fief is dependent on the Arbeit being done by someone that they perceive as Meaningless Work, the same cannot be said for Cooperatives and Small Businesses. Basically, Fiefs become the financial instrument that makes Life-Energy Charging (LEC) possible.
- For Cooperatives, Fiefs are how its members get their shares in the Drawings. The Council State may issue them their Paygrade each week, but the Drawings of the Cooperative is just a bit of extra Geld on the side. Cooperative members will then have to redeem the Fief for Geld at their Kontor.
- For Small Businesses, this is the surplus Geld that could have been the “tips” someone would have received under Production for Profit or Production for Utility. The longer somebody works for a Small Business, the higher the Fief’s Value upon redeeming it at the Kontor for Geld.
The issuances of Fiefs are dependent entirely on the continued employment of somebody at the related Enterprise. If somebody is not creating Arbeit for the affected Enterprise listed on the Fief, they will no longer continue receiving Geld. In essence, no new Fiefs will be issued once they decide to find Meaningful Work somewhere else, so keep that in mind. And as with any other transaction at the Kontor, remember that the final payout of a Fief is dependent on the Service Fee. The Kontor expects to receive its Service Fee in exchange for its financial services.
For those concerned about the role of Labor Unions, one should ask why the Author deliberately chose to omit them in The Work-Standard and now The Third Place. The same has to be said for why the Author also believed that industrial actions like Labor Strikes or Lockouts should be made illegal, with the sole exception that such actions should be used against hostile enemy forces in wartime conditions. It is understandable for some to wonder why I chose community-organized Guilds over workforce-organized Labor Unions. A lot of it has to do with the manner in which I went about arguing for ways in which the Totality of a Socialist Nation should be enforcing Council Democracy in the workspace. And in the next three Entries, we will be discussing about three different kinds of ways to implement Council Democracy in the workspace vis-à-vis the Guilds. Those are “Codetermination,” “Worker’s Self-Management,” and “Joint-Ownership.”
Categories: Third Place