Wed 26 Oct 2016

First Workplace Democracy, then Resource Based Economy

Kelly Howe Public Seen by 386

I'm working on a fantasy solution where even the public sector is Workplace Democracy.

It is my opinion that Wolff and the RBE Fresco/Joseph movements are on the same path of economic and social evolution.


Nikhil Kulkarni Wed 26 Oct 2016

My opinion too. Worker co-ops is one of the practical steps to transform the economic system rather than mere talk that most movements do.

Describing the vision, educating people about it, etc are good, but "what is a practical TRANSITION path?", is the question most these movements couldn't answer. I believe worker coops is definitely a part of the answer.


Kelly Howe Wed 26 Oct 2016

I can propose a full detailed path where this public sector Workplace Democracy occurs. For fun, seeking criticism, I did a Facebook group called CA AU Worker Merger. Maybe you will find it.

A while back I did a group called Workers Rule, proposing a method to convert large existing employers into WSDEs.


David Brinovec Wed 26 Oct 2016

Ah The Zeitgeist Movement. Yeah, I agree there are parallels between that and Wolff's work. I actually had a very serious interest in TZM for a time. Was actually very close to joining. Never did pull the trigger though. Had the application mostly filled out. They structured it such that you really need to read their materials. You have to answer questions in a fair amount of detail in order to complete it. I stopped when I got to the bit about handing ultimate decision making authority over to an artificial intelligence...

All that aside. I like the idea of workplace democracy in the public sector. I wonder what that would look like. That doesn't sound like fantasy to me.


Kelly Howe Wed 26 Oct 2016

It was never part of RBE to hand power or authority to a non-human but it is a common belief. The automated system is easily explained but could easily become something no one imagined yet (like a computer to a cave man).


John Rhoads Thu 27 Oct 2016

I'm glad we havd TZM people here. I myself am one in a big way. It was PJ through his films that stitched together all the things I had already been considering since the 70's. It brought it all full circle for me and hit every point perfectly. I understand the concerns people have about TZM/Venus project. It really is a leap for sure. I do agree that d@w is a logical step toward a RBE.


Matt Grantham Thu 27 Oct 2016

Hi Folks I really appreciate the discussion. It seems like folks are still feeling their way here though I saw the one post that we stay focused on cooperatives and not drift to far from that focus. Personally I am pretty involved in an effort to form a website that provides an outline on how a community, Napa California in my case, can engage in a local food and holistic health movement I am not devoted to those ideas and certainly am flexible in what the groups aims are, but I did want to at least put it out there. Additionally i wanted to at least mention the idea of open source information and perhaps Richard Stallman's ideas, as well as the steady state economy and Howard Daly, The gift economy and SSE seem unavoidably connected, but perhaps others have a different take. In terms of money, Thomas Greco was influential for me in terms of seeing money as something like a floating signifier rather than anything clearly tangible Look forward to trying to contribute since groups like this are very rare in my experience Thanks


Joel Gingery Thu 27 Oct 2016

Matt, re: engagement in Napa's local food and holistic health movement, web site. I recently became aware of Ezio Manzini's work in social innovation. Local food and holistic health are two of his primary interests/examples; his work might be helpful/germaine to your interests.


Nikhil Kulkarni Thu 27 Oct 2016

Unity in diversity.

Coming from diverse backgrounds, different viewpoints, we all have become a part of this group. Everyone has their own plans (in addition to agreeing with Worker coops). Even I have a plan :P - The TRANSITION Plan (Shameless plug).

D@W, TZM, TVM, Ubuntu Contributionism, Giftivism / gift economy, kindness movements .. all have a common goal just like different rivers ending up in the ocean. Our paths maybe different but what we are fighting against is the same.

Loomio is to make decisions and act on it. Lets discuss ideas that can be acted upon immediately instead of just explaining visions / models. Getting people to agree with your "Path / plan" is important when they are not treading any path, but we here, all agree, that our path is to transform the economic system from within by building, growing & supporting worker coops over private profit making companies. So lets act on it.

There are a lots of things we can propose and make decisions on:
- Shall we start a crowdfunding platform only for worker co-ops ?
- Lets launch an e-commerce portal that only sells worker coop products.
- Lets make a database of skills we all have first and see what we can do ?
etc.. How about some action, get some decisions rolling ... haan ?


Joel Gingery Thu 27 Oct 2016

Perhaps if we all explicate what we are fighting against it would help if only to confirm that we are fighting against the same thing. On second thought might it be better to talk about what we are fighting for? This has several advantages: A sense of progress towards ideals gives life meaning and makes choice significant. The effort to get rid of what we don't want is reactive. The effort to obtain what we want is proactive. Proactive planning consists of designing a desirable future and finding ways of moving toward it as effectively as possible.


Nikhil Kulkarni Thu 27 Oct 2016

Ok, I shall try first.

What is our fight against ?

  • 45.8 million enslaved worldwide. Highest in India - 18.45 million. - 2016 Global slavery index report.
  • Synthetic milk, GM foods,etc Poison on our plates
  • Rot in our medical sector: Fake surgeries, sink tests
  • 62 people own same as half world. - Oxfam report.
  • Sponsored stupid scientific researches - Watch on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
  • 21,000 hungry people die every day, mostly children.
  • Wars in the middle east killing & enslaving innocent people.
  • Global warming & environmental damage. The list just doesn’t end.

What is the one common thread that runs through all these pressing problems of our age? Greed for money, more & more Profits. World needs glitter in beauty products ? Use children in Jharkhand as slaves to mine Mica and make more profits. Need more profits for hospitals? - Conduct more useless tests & surgeries. Need more milk? - Make synthetic milk & mix it or give hormone injections to cows to get more profit. Need to sell a product to increase profits? - Sponsor a fake research & prove it good. Country needs resources & weapon industry needs profits? - Secretly encourage Wars.

It is no surprise that all these are happening, because we created a powerful idea/object called money. The internal reaction to the external centralized powerful object (the all powerful money) is "Greed, lust for money and hence profit making".

What are we fighting for ?

Here two answers are necessary. 1) Many people do not believe we can do away with money and its alright. Your fight is our fight too. We too, just like you all, eagerly wait for Prof.Wolff's updates & anaylsis'. And we all agree that Worker coops is a solution that keeps in check immoral ways of making profit because lot of people are involved in decision process.

2) For believers of a Moneyless world -

We are clear about the root cause and can envision a future without money, but that shouldn't keep us away from practical actionable solutions. We shouldn't just focus on the spreading vision & converting people. We have to collaborate and strengthen each others movements that have common causes.


Kelly Howe Fri 28 Oct 2016

Me, I'm fighting for things today and for things 100 years from now. I'm attacking it from all directions, from the community level to merging nations.
The first thing we should do is pool some resources monthly, and call it our "bank" (not an official bank of course... for now). We call it "I can't believe it's not Mondragon", or whatever we owners choose to call it. Just grow it as fast as possible, then start investing in ourselves.

I'm in a group with land and our team has an experienced hempcrete microhome builder, and a mushroom grower using shipping containers and already selling to a few local restaurants, and more plans. We are not an official thing yet, just having monthly and weekly meetings so far, but we're converging on a plan.

The idea is Last Capitalist, and all workers of all nodes own it. We have three different classes of nodes with class-specific rules. All Business Class Nodes have the same rules, slightly different than nodes of the Social Class and nodes of the Community Class. All workers of all Last Capitalist nodes have one vote on these class rules.

For example, Last Capitalist owners might have determined that Business Nodes should pay 10% to the bank while Social Nodes pay 95% to the bank, and Community Nodes pay 50%. These are expected to fluctuate depending on how the people feel about it.

What determines a node's class? Think of things we as individuals need ubiquitously, including transportation. These nodes may or may not not be profitable but it makes sense financially for us to keep investing in them. These are Social Class Nodes. These are nodes that we strive to fully automate or to achieve some kind of near-zero marginal cost in.

If you want more discussion on Last Capitalist, let's do it anytime. There are many nodes to learn about.

This is all part of a long path. It includes three editions of a software application suite called Advanced Workplace Democracy. It has Enterprise Edition, Public Sector Edition, and Governance Edition, to be rolled out in that order over time. Then I found Loomio, which is as open source as I was going to make mine and almost exactly the same idea. I started using it right away and finding the features came very naturally - it's like someone found my old plans on a Occupy or TZM forum. Anyway, someone built most of the first edition for me and I couldn't be more pleased. And I have DoA to thank for bringing it to light!

So on a national level, we change things up with a different social system that streamlines merging of nations. Departments have no borders. It's kind of a long story with a long thought-out plan to achieve it, but from this stage, RBE is no longer a long shot.

I very much would like to talk to Wolff about RBE, or see him and Fresco talk while he's still around. He just turned 100 a few months ago! Wolff and Peter Joseph talking about making the public sector into workplace democracy for now, then spring-boarding into RBE in say 30 years, would be a dream come true. If the workers of the world owned the economy and the departments of governance, they would easily come to understand RBE and choose it sooner than expected. We have this basically conceptualized. I dare ya to seek a weakness in the concept or strategy to achieve it.

What we do not want is means of production owned by pricks. Workers need to own the robots as soon as possible, while they're still only doing less than 15% of what they're already capable of.


Kelly Howe Fri 28 Oct 2016

One of the strategies is a campaign focused on anyone and all organizations associated with unions. Why? Because, you fool, they wouldn't need a union! But they are so short-sighted, they can't see past their union and fear losing it, and will continue begging for shit from a master who can't stand their voice, until something with great velocity smashes some sense into them.

Workers Rule is actually Workers' Rule. It's a transition strategy for enterprises as big as Walmart. That would be a fun discussion here too.


Joel Gingery Fri 28 Oct 2016

I want the opportunity to create the life for myself that I value. Everyone else does, too. To create these conditions means, to me, creating democratic processes for governance wherever possible or practical. Democratic coops are an example. In my experience people tend to organize themselvesfor specific goals; they are reluctant to join other movements, but unless there are many people, progress is unlikely. Recently I met a member of Italy's 5 Star Movement. They are now the second largest party in Italy. He recommended we consider forming a political movement and I can see the advantages and the necessity of being able to change the rules to suit our values.


Kelly Howe Fri 28 Oct 2016

Politics has no value in my opinion. If I joined a political party, it would be the RBE one, but they already know I'm not interested. I'm also glad they're doing it because anything that promotes RBE hastens its arrival to some extent.


Kelly Howe Fri 28 Oct 2016

You're right about this - people don't join stuff typically unless the rest of the herd is moving that way.


Joel Gingery Fri 28 Oct 2016

We may want to check outProject Innovation; Social Innovation Tool Kit ( http://www.socialinnovationtoolkit.com/home.html ), a web site dedicated to facilitating facilitators social innovation. It may give us an idea(s) of how to proceed(?).


Joe Fri 28 Oct 2016

This discussion is great. Love that more people are participating now.

We each have our own ideas for best paths forward. Now how do we come together as one more powerful collaboration?

Right this second our world is 99% capitalistic and 1% other paths forward. The very first thing to consider is coexisting with capitalism for a period of time before a shift occurs away from it.

The world is theirs and not ours. We have to play mostly by their rules (law), use their money (new $ being created exponentially), their infrastructure, and deal with all the many problems they have created for us. They have created a very complex world with tons of problems partly to deter us all from changing their game. There's a secret battle going on masked by all the other fighting. Everything bad is good for them. They are selfish and care not that they are ruining our planet and consuming the resources of our kids and grandkids.

We MUST become smarter than they are.

I believe governance is the key first attack point. Not until we have a tool that brings us together and holds us together will we have any chance of shifting anything.

Loomio is a great first step forward tool. But it does not in of itself get everyone on one page together. It does not include tool that automatically establishes the agreement within our disagreement.

I want to show you a crude version of a tool that I created that finds the Agreement in Disagreement (AiD.)


Sorry it's UI/UX is so crude, but I taught myself just enough to be able to create this proff of concept.

This is just one demo listing of some important issues that might be used to identify who you are relative to others in the world. (Don't get too hung up on this particular list.) Create an account and create your own priority listing. See what happens to the one group "the ref" list. The ref is what the group looks like as one being.

Everyone has equal power and equal say in what "the ref" voices to the world. There's no leader within the ranks.

Lists like this can be built by any group doing any work. Anyone can change the ordering of existing items or can add new items at any moment and it can in time alter "the ref." The dynamic nature of the tool makes it perfect for our ever-changing world and ever-changing unique individuals occupying this world.

With this type of tool we can come together, think differently, but still become more powerful.

This type of tool means we no longer need elected (selfish) representatives. Everyone can rep themselves now. Every list creates a clear listing of priorities with which to move 'work' forward with. No one is ever unsure about what the groups priorities are at any moment in time. Everyone in the group is always on the same page together - thinking much the same.

The world (we today) has limited resources and limited time to resolve problems. WE CANNOT HAVE EVERYTHING! We will all die in short order and new generations will move forward from where we left off. Shouldn't we leave the world in a better place for them?

I hope you see the value in focusing on this type of tool (communication tool) for the people attempting to collaborate to bring about positive change in the world, so that one day real soon 'we' can have more power than the oligarchs of capitalism.

I can duplicate this demo site and we can create a list for this specific group to establish our unique priorities for moving the d@w work forward and growing the group. I fear, until we have a tool like this in place, we will in short order separate following our own paths we believe are best for trying to bring about great positive improvement in the world.

Collaboration (people) will never agree on everything. But there's a simple way of finding the agreement within our disagreement and then staying together (working together) to really bring about positive improvement.


Kelly Howe Fri 28 Oct 2016

I like the logic of your app. Consider Tags as Departments of Governance. Workers in that public sector department own that department. They play a key role as the departmental constituency, determining their departmental leadership through an evaluation process rather than voting... that's a big conversation right there, but Departments do not stop at borders much like rivers. If you really care about an injustice, it doesn't matter to you where is occurs, and should be able to influence the situation democratically. This is the key that can merge nations.

Let's focus on starting from the ground up, using the tools of capitalism against the capitalists. Create a conglomerate, dominate every market, create new nodes and acquire/convert existing enterprises. Let's create an abundance, leverage so pervasive that we don't need insurance companies, banks or government social assistance. So pervasive that our nodes are financing our own teams of lobbyists.

Then we can more easily talk about and implement public sector workplace democracy. And relatively soon after that, we can more easily choose RBE.

I still think Workplace Democracy, even when the entire nation's departments of governance are converted to workplace democracy and all businesses are too, it's still fully capitalism - just a much more responsible variation. Only when money is no longer used on a global level (RBE) will we escape capitalism, in my opinion.