The Third Place: Council Democracy at the Workspace (Pt. I of III)

In this first installment of a three-Part Entry, we will be exploring the three different types of ways in which Council Democracy can be applied to the workspaces of every Enterprise within the VCS Economy. Each of the three methods have their own inherent advantages and disadvantages. It is important recognize them and to understand that certain types of Enterprises are suitable for specific applications of Council Democracy than others. Part I focuses on the role of “Codetermination,” Part II for “Worker’s Self-Management,” and Part III on “Joint-Ownership.” All three Parts will discuss how each one compliments MTEP and the Tournament.  

The simplest way to comprehend Codetermination is to have a large Enterprise, like an SAE, an SOE and certain NSEs, and allow its rank-and-file Civil Servants choose a “Delegate,” somebody will speak on behalf of their interests at the uppermost chain of command. At the top, there is the Administrator and the executive leadership, the Economic Planner and their retinue of Accountants, a Superintendent or subordinate State Commissar from the State Commissariats of Wages and Prices. This is how Codetermination looks in Production for Dasein. By contrast, Codetermination in Production for Profit or Production for Utility will have the corporate boardroom members and the investing shareholders. With the obvious exception of the corporate boardroom members, the presence of the shareholders is made possible by their ability to use their Kapital at the financial markets to gain leverage over the economic activities of most large Enterprises.

Due to the intervention of the financial markets, the shareholders and the rank-and-file employees of large Enterprises do not see eye-to-eye with each other. In fact, there is potential for both to become absolute enemies whose ‘Incentive’ is to walk away with the most Kapital and let the other have the most Schuld from the negotiations. Thanks to the Kontore and the distinct characteristics of the Fief and Work-Plan as financial instruments, the “shareholder” and the “employee” are the same people who will be choosing somebody to delegate for them at the boardroom. The Intent here is for the Civil Servants to address the concerns of the Arbeit being made and the Geld that comes from their economic activities.

Due to the fact that the Paygrades issued to everyone is controlled by the Council State, whoever is going to be chosen by the rank-and-file members will be at the boardroom to negotiate for higher wages as they would in Production for Profit or Production for Utility. Instead, the Delegate will have a set of priorities that are related to the specifications of Council Democracy and its interactions with MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning) and the Tournament. I have identified at least three Legal Duties associated with the Delegates of Codetermination.

  • The Delegate acts as the conduit between the leadership and the rank-and-file. They will be ones to negotiate with the leadership on the direction of the Enterprise on matters related to its Quality of Arbeit (QW) and its Quality of Geld (QM). The general concerns of the workspace, suggestions on what else may be created, and the current goals of the Enterprise fall under this category.
  • The Delegate also acts as the basis by which the Enterprise regulates its own Attrition/Inaction Rate, enforces the Central Bank’s Mechanization Rate, and the issuances of Fiefs and Work-Plans to the rank-and-file members at the workspace. Going back to the Reciprocal Theory of Value (RTV) and the Work Theory of Money (WTM), the Attrition/Inaction Rate affects the extent to which the Prices of goods and services rise and fall relative to the Quality of Arbeit. An Enterprise seeking to control its Attrition/Inaction Rate without having to reduce its overall Work-Productivity (WP) throughout the workweek could consider automating aspects of its production process, and that will need to be discussed beforehand.
  • And the Delegate will be asked to serve at the councils of their local, regional, or central governments. Since it is more common to expect Codetermination to become practical within larger Enterprises, the Delegate will be sitting inside one of the Chambers of the central government’s State Council or else an equivalent Chamber at the Council of a regional government. With regard to the delegative model of political governance, we can refer to this variant of Council Democracy as a form of “Direct Delegation.”     

If any of these Legal Duties of the Delegate seem familiar to anyone, that is because Codetermination also happens to be one of the ways in which a “Transvaluation of All Arbeit,” a decision to devalue or revalue Actual Arbeit relative to Actual Geld, can be executed. The idea was covered in an Entry of the same name from The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.). Should the people at the workspace find themselves suffering from an instance of Meaningless Work and have nevertheless found their Vocation at said Enterprise, they are going to need to somebody who can vouch for them on the issue of a Transvaluation of All Arbeit.  

A Transvaluation of All Arbeit is a rare and serious matter that should be given serious contemplation beforehand. The rank-and-file members must realize that. Since this is a procedure only undertaken by the State Commissariat of Wages and Prices, the Delegate bears the Command Responsibility of what happens after the QW and QM values are artificially altered. There are two ways in which a Transvaluation of All Arbeit will yield: “raise QW and lower QM” or “lower QW and raise QM.”

  • Raise QW and Lower QM: To revalue Arbeit is to increase the QW value relative to the QM value. With more valuable Actual Arbeit, the subsequent conversion within the LER Process is tantamount to gaining a larger return of Actual Geld.
  • Lower QW and Raise QM: To devalue Arbeit is to decrease the QW value relative to the QM value. In the case of the opposite, less valuable Actual Arbeit will yield a smaller return of Actual Geld upon conversion within the LER Process.

The question that the Administrator and executive leadership and the Economic Planner and Accountants should be asking is whether the people behind the Delegate, the rank-and-file members of the Enterprise, deserve such changes. The rank-and-file members must reassure the rest of the boardroom members that they are willing to make serious changes to the economic activities to reflect the results of a Transvaluation of All Arbeit. If they decided to raise QW, then they must work together to improve the Enterprise’s Quality of Arbeit. Conversely, if they decided to lower QW, they also have to work together to decrease the Enterprise’s Quality of Arbeit.

A week-long “Probation Period” will be imposed on everyone at the Enterprise by the State Commissariat in the wake of a Transvaluation of All Arbeit. The Probation Period begins approximately within one workweek after the Transvaluation of All Arbeit has been executed. During this period, everyone in the entire Enterprise will be monitored by the State Commissariat to demonstrate their willingness to make serious changes to the Quality of Arbeit. If everyone succeeds by the end of the workweek, then the changes become official by the following workweek. But if everyone fails, then the changes will be reverted back to what they were before the Transvaluation had occurred.

Note that the rank-and-file members of the Enterprise cannot arbitrarily request for a Transvaluation of All Arbeit whenever they wish. This is done to prevent any Enterprise from unfairly gaining higher Social Ranks over the rest of their Industry within the Tournament. After every Probation Period, no Enterprise will be allowed to request another Transvaluation for the next three months. The only override that the State Commissariat will accept is from the Central Planners themselves, who request that such Transvaluations be done outside the normal parameters. But this will only be done during wartime conditions or in a “State of Exception,” a formally declared state of national emergency from the Council State itself.   

The stakes and rewards of Codetermination are a lot lower compared to the other two methods of Council Democracy at the workspace, Worker’s Self-Management and Joint-Ownership. That includes the ability to impose a Transvaluation of All Arbeit. It is easier for the rank-and-file members of an Enterprise to convince the State Commissariat that they are serious about the decision to artificially change their Enterprise’s QW and QM. This is because somebody else besides the Economic Planner has to be able to play the devil’s advocate insofar as the Delegate is the one playing saint’s advocate. The Administrator and their executive leadership can fulfill that role themselves and can be the ones to act as a counterweight to the rank-and-file members.  

A similar argument can be made regarding the method of choosing Delegates to the central government’s State Council or the subordinate councils of their regional and local governments. If Codetermination allows for Direct Delegation, then Worker’s Self-Management represents an “Indirect Delegation” and Joint-Ownership a “Subordinate Delegation.” For Enterprises interested in choosing the other two methods, they need to know how to balance the disadvantages in order to get the most out of their inherent advantages.         

Categories: Third Place

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