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I recall a quote from John Stuart Mill to the effect that competitive, for profit enterprises had clearly been shown to be the most efficient means of generating wealth, but that fact said nothing about how that wealth could or should be distributed.  This is perhaps a starting point for a hybrid alternative.

One of the most fundamental agenda items for the 1960s Students for a Democratic Society was social justice in the workplace.  While the political formalisms of the United States of America are that of a federal republic that has developed a degree of representative democracy, autocratic rule has remained the norm in private enterprises, and, in a structured and constrained way, has remained the rule in most corporations.  In the context of existing laws and social organizations, the only legitimate challenge to autocratic rule is on the grounds of efficiency.

With small, closely held companies I have seen, to my sorrow, the extent to which owners will sacrifice their own profit in the name of retaining complete control.  Some different corporate cultures have developed in the last half century or so and there were dissenters during the 19th century in England, France and the United States.  Owen and Fourier leap to mind.

I believe that what we perceive as reality is in fact a social construct that we assimilated unconsciously during our youth.  That reality is powerfully reinforced by social attitudes and by religious and educational institutions.  These factors make it very difficult for most to conceive of alternatives, and it makes it even less likely that alternatives that are conceived will be embraced by others in significant numbers.

It is up to us to devise social and economic institutions that better serve our needs and that prove to be more efficient and pro-survival for the society as a whole.  I believe that this goal is best accomplished by means that maximize personal creativity and personal development and that this can only be accomplished by systems based on cooperation, not coercion.  The current system in the United States is only a couple of amendments away from one that embraced slave based capitalism.  The similarities to the prior system are more significant than the differences.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:05:11 PM EST

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