Post number 361

Albatroz, Lisbon - Portugal
Professor, age: 60 - 70 years
  Other ...
7-May-2003 5:51 am

Self-management - Social economy

Save the market

The market is the most efficient way to generate goods and services to satisfy legitimate needs. What is wrong is the capitalist form of ownership of production means. The unemployement which arises from the market mechanism can only be solved by the state developping a social economy sector - public goods that do not attract competitive producers - and employing there all those who cannot find work in the competitive (market) sector.

What stands in the way of an alternative to the present capitalist/liberal society is the insistence in denying the superiority of market mechanisms to deliver adequate goods and services, in the quantity desired, to the consumers. No alternative that denies this superiority will ever be accepted - unless one opts for the police-state solution.

What stinks in the present situation is the dominance by a capitalist minority that controls both the production system and the political institutions, for their exclusive benefit, and the social exclusion that such a system generates affecting a significant minority of the people. To avoid being oppressed by the wealthy few one must destroy their hold on the economy and, therefore, their hold on politics. Self-management, with the workers as owners of the companies or corporations, exercising their powers by means of workers' assemblies, and appointing professional managers to run their companies, would preserve the efficiency of the present system without the oppression. The profits of the venture would be partially reinvested and partially used to improve social benefits for the workers.

The functioning of the market would eventually (periodically) generate unemployement. The unemployed would retain their social rights/benefits, but not their salaries. To solve this problem the state would run a social economy sector with the purpose to supply the population with public goods (environment management, assistance to the elderly and the orphans, educational complements to those less gifted or socially deprived, free-time amenities for the young, etc.) which cannot be offered on a profit basis. All unemployed would be taken by this social economy sector, with their salaries being paid by the state. Once the person would find his or her job back, or a new job in the competitive sector, he or she would leave this social economy occupation.

In this way we could destroy the capitalist system without doing away with the recognized market efficiency. Which seems to me a much better alternative to the utopias periodically offered to us.