Re: extropians-digest V5 #291

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Oct 22 2000 - 22:24:48 MDT

"James J. Hughes" wrote:

> Also in the economic sphere, social democracies have generally not pursued
> the level of worker ownership and control that I favor. Left social
> democrats in Sweden have been pressing unsuccessfully for decades a set of
> reforms that would basically give all workers stock options as a part of
> their compensation. The stock options would be non-fungible, and be
> controlled through local councils with elected or appointed representatives
> from the community and the unions in the industry. The goal would be to
> slowly transfer stock to the councils so that they would hold the majority
> of shares after about fifty years. (BTW we would have that here if pension
> fund managers and the managers of Social Security ever decided to invest our
> pension funds and Social Security funds in the stock market - "pension fund
> socialism.")

How does transferring control of all companies to the government help
anyone? Everywhere it has been tried it has led to gross inefficiencies
and seriously outmoded industrial base. How does having a government
committee run anything make it run better? Especially how does any
central committee managed to get and act intelligently on distributed
information and manage its many unforeseen consequences? The more
complex the world becomes the less likely such an approach is to work.

If you want to enrich the worker and distribute wealth more equitably
then leave the stock with the workers rather than in the hands of the
bureaucrats. I think that as automation replaces more and more workers
we ultimately may need to give stock in the corporations and ownership
of the machines to all citizens in order to have a decent standard of
living on our way to Singularity.

> Somebody else wrote:
> > Of course, liberals like Hughes have always maintained that
> > Sweden is the most
> > advanced nation on earth...
> Again with the inaccurate name-calling? I'm not a "liberal" in either the
> classical European usage or the fuzzy, but nonetheless delimitable, American
> usage. I'm a radical democrat, an internationalist, a democratic socialist
> with libertarian leanings, a Viridian techno-optimist Green, a queer
> feminist Buddho-revolutionary who wants to live forever and go to the stars.
> But not a liberal.

<huge grin> Alright! But I don't really grok how democratic socialist
can be mixed with libertarian. The rest of it makes some sense.

- samantha

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