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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« on: July 26, 2012, 09:03:53 am »
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A BILL

For providing an area of Freedom, Security, Justice, and a single market where competition is free and undistorted, for establishing uniform laws on the subjects of Contracts and Incorporation, for regulating commerce with foreign nations, laying and collecting taxes, and other purposes in keeping with the principles outlined in the Third Constitution of Atlasia’s preamble and the Article VI rights of citizens to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining and to be free of the institution of slavery.

Be it enacted by the Senate of the Republic of Atlasia assembled.


SECTION I - TITLE

This bill may be cited as the "Economic Democratization Act."


SECTION II - DESCRIPTION

An act to establish workplace democracy, discourage authoritarian management of firms, incentivize excellence in labor, and enhance access to livable wages for the people of Atlasia.


SECTION III - PROVISIONS

(a) - All firms with twenty (20) or more employees shall either make decisions pertinent to their operations via a collective process of direct democracy, or hold and abide by the results of a free and fair election at least once every five (5) years so that all business officers are selected by the workers who are to serve under their respective jurisdictions of leadership.

(b) - All firms with nineteen (19) or less employees, with the lone exception of businesses which are sole proprietorships, shall make all decisions pertinent to their operations via a collective process of direct democracy in which every one of its workers shall be eligible to partake.

(c) - Decisions rendered by the democratic institutions of firms shall be considered legally binding contracts so long as they conform to the law and each of the following principles:

  • Employees are guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly, exercise of religion, and the right to peaceably petition their business leaders.

  • The right of an employee to lawfully pursue recourse for harms done upon them in the workplace shall not be infringed, or in any manner obstructed by, the firm.

  • The private property of employees shall not be confiscated by the firm for any purpose.

  • The firm shall not compel any employee to devote more than forty-eight (48) hours of time per week to work-related activities, or deprive employees of their health or dignity.

  • The firm shall not compel any employee to allow another person, or group of persons entry to their private residence(s) for any purpose without the employee's explicit consent.

  • The firm shall not seek to procure or take any action based on information concerning an employee without their consent, unless it is pertinent to his or her productivity.

  • The firm shall not interfere with the right of each employee to choose whether or not to obtain, derive benefits from, or renounce union membership.

  • The firm shall terminate no member’s employment on the basis of nationality, race or ethnicity, sex or gender, creed, age, sexual orientation, condition of health, or political affiliation - whether said affiliation pertains to matters within or outside of the workplace.

(d) - The ownership and limited liability of firms shall be apportioned to their respective employees in equal proportions with the exception of joint-stock companies, in which up to twenty percent (20%) of ownership may be held by external shareholders provided the remaining shares are owned in equal proportions by the workers who are members of said company.

(e) - Business profits shall be redistributed to the workers by each firm in a manner of their choosing via internal democratic institutions, with the total sum of monies awarded to the highest-compensated employee being no more than ten (10) times that awarded to the lowest-compensated employee.

(f) - Foreign firms with branches operating and/or permanent establishments based in the Atlasian republic shall conduct their business and make business-related decisions here in a manner consistent with all applicable stipulations outlined in Section III prior to this subsection, but shall not be compelled to adhere to these standards in their operations outside of Atlasian territorial jurisdiction.

(g) - The Department of Federal Elections shall be responsible for enacting and enforcing all regulations deemed necessary and proper to uphold the contents of this act.


SECTION IV - ENFORCEMENT

The Department of Federal Elections shall coordinate with law-enforcement agencies in the many Regions using monies appropriated in its budget to uphold the contents of this act, the expense of which shall be offset at least in part by a doubling of the corporate tax rate to be paid by, with a twenty percent (20%) minimum for, any firm found to be in violation of Section III, Subjections (a), (b), (d), (e), and/or (f) in a given fiscal year. Such an increase in corporate taxation shall also apply to all firms which fail to satisfactorily rectify violations of Section III, Subsection (c) within one (1) calendar year of receiving a citation for non-compliance. All firms in violation of this act for five (5) or more consecutive years are to pay corporate taxes at a rate three (3) times the regular rate, with a fifty percent (50%) minimum to be paid, until such a time as they have returned to a state of full compliance.


SECTION V - EFFECTIVENESS

This legislation shall take effect on January 1st, 2015.

Sponsor: Redalgo
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 12:43:03 pm by Senator North Carolina Yankee »Logged

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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 09:09:50 am »
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Senator, you have 24 hours to advocate for this bill,



and to explain why everything now has a reddish tint. Does this bill damage one's vision if looked at too long? Grin
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 12:16:40 pm »
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Best to check in with an optometrist on that, Mr. Senator. Wink


*clears his throat and prepares for a moment to monologue*


Ahem...

To the fine gentlemen assembled here on the floor I do propose through this legislation a number of sweeping reforms to the economy of our republic. By the standards in this law making body I understand this bill is somewhat verbose, and so rather than present to you a long-winded, disorganized ramble in its defense today I would kindly prefer to elaborate on my thoughts on a point-by-point basis. Pending debate amendments may be needed to resolve any problems which may arise from my initial plans and/or choice of words in the bill. But I would be very thankful if my esteemed colleagues here would do me the honor of neither tabling this bill, nor defacing it via amendments from the original objectives it was set out to achieve without my consent, which I suppose is a polite way for me to ask that this bill either pass with dignity or go down in a spectacular ball of smoke, flames, and papery debris.

So now, without further ado...


Sections I and II

My perspective in approaching the question of what makes an economy or the firms that operate therein excellent is influenced a handful of solid-core convictions: (1) command economies are markedly less efficient and productive than their market counterparts, (2) unfettered markets reward prior privileges held in the form of capital more so than merit on the part of competing, individual actors or the organizations they band together to use as an adaptation for better coping with and succeeding in the face of rigorous conflicts of interest among the many, mostly self-interested members of society, (3) total equality of outcomes, equality of opportunity, economic autonomy, and the notion of an objectively classless society are impossible, but from among those four people seem to be best off if the interests of equality of opportunity and economic autonomy are wisely balanced, and (4) the distribution of resources in markets cannot be entirely fair or even based on merit.

In response to these considerations, I am inclined to argue that - just as the people have a social contract with the state to mitigate the harmfulness and injustices of political rule - it is both reasonable and proper to apply a similar line of thought to the operation of firms within the greater economy. Firms are like governments in their own right, having in their possession territory, leaders whose authority to make decisions is acknowledged as being legitimate by their subjects, and those leaders (at least within the domain that is the firm’s internal dealings) would possess monopolies over the legitimate usage of certain forms of violence if not for past political intervention to secure the right of workers so that, at least in some instances, they are capable of banding together to resist coercion from the top-down or even go so far as to pressure for changes from the bottom-up. Excellence in the governing of firms and, as a result of the cumulative actions of individual actors and the groups in which they are members, the economy as a whole requires that everyone plays by the same foundational rules of competition, has rights and responsibilities within their respective organizations, and a voice in the institutions calling shots that will effect them.

So just as Atlasians long ago rejected political consent to government via the shareholder (our suffrage was once limited to owners of land - those amongst our number of citizens who arguably had the most private property at stake hanging in the balance, in regards to the outcomes of their fledgling republic’s policymaking process), I propose that Atlasians now reject political consent to the business via shareholder. The firm must represent and serve the interests of its workers - “workers” including management and administration - in their entirety rather than being beholden to the interests of an elite few and/or outside actors who at times couldn’t really care less about whether the pursuit of their returns on investment come at the cost of jeopardizing the organization’s efforts to help advance the qualities of life, pursuits of liberty, and general happiness of each individual, contributing member in its employment - without whom no business may effectively compete (or even exist). Everyone deserves to have a voice in decision-making or selecting representatives.  

The goal of workplace democracy in the context of democratic socialism is not to rob the rich to give to the poor, punish success, or pave the way for future government takeovers of formerly-private industries. Rather, the goal is to spread the privileges, responsibilities, and liabilities (i.e. the costs and benefits) of being an employee at a firm across the whole organization in acknowledgment of the fact that the organization only exists for the sake of competing in the market to deliver goods and services in exchange for money that each member of the group has earned a cut of it proportionate to the socially-constructed value of their contributions to the group. I call this bill the “Economic Democratization Act,” in short, because it aims to take Atlasia from being a limited consumer democracy in which firms tend to take the form of rather poorly-accountable, oftentimes perversely-corrupted aristocracies and monarchies to a real workers’ democracy where employees make decisions in small businesses directly and in large ones delegate power to representatives via regularly-scheduled, free and fair, internal elections. That is what I want us to discuss.


Section III, Subsections (a) and (b)

I decided to draw the cutoff line dividing small and large businesses at twenty people. I reckon a firm with twenty or more workers will have enough specialization and enough division between labor and management for most of the employees to be unqualified to make good decisions that will yield positive results for everyone in the organization, so with that in mind it makes sense to let the firm become a representative democracy. The workers either elect managers and/or administrators from among their own ranks or will decide as a group who to hire to fill empty leadership positions from a pool of applicants outside of the group. There is room left for flexibility here in deciding how the calls will be made and under what structuring of institutions. The “large” businesses are also given the option of sticking to a directly democratic approach if they are willing to take on the risks of doing so and try to make that work out alright for them.

For smaller businesses my concern is that there may not be enough people in the group for competitive elections to be held. Then again, I suppose workers could still choose to decide who to bring in from the outside to manage operations so perhaps, if it would be agreeable to the Senators here in this chamber, we could consider treating the small and large businesses identically in regards to stipulations about how they are to be governed. Having walked away from this bill for several days, I have some new ideas now that I’m rereading its contents again. There ought to be plenty of room for lively discussion here.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 12:28:53 pm by Redalgo »Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 12:18:06 pm »
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Section III, Subsection (c)

Here we have some basic provisions against what I would consider abusive practices of the most basic nature against employees - whether they be brought about via the actions of one person, a group of elected elites who have betrayed their associates, or by what is essentially tyranny of the majority by ignorant and/or self-interested workers. The limits placed on the “law” of firms on groups of principle aims to mitigate the risk of this shift in organize I propose from doing more harm than good for the quality of work environs throughout the land. Any comments, constructive criticism, or proposed alternatives are warmly welcomed.


Section III, Subsection (d)

This provision was hastily put together as an attempt to bar investors from gaining a dangerous measure of influence over the governing institutions of firms. Investment is important but it ought to be the employees of the firm, not those who decide to lend it money, who directly or indirectly determine what its courses of action shall be.


Section III, Subsection (e)

I reckon promoting equality of opportunity to some extent necessitates a reduction in inequality of outcome. Rather than impose a maximum wage or tax the bejeezus out of high-income earners, my pitch is to require firms to pay their employees in such a way as that the top earner of income from the organization cannot be receiving from it more than ten times that which is allocated to the lowest-compensated employees. My perhaps naive stance on this is that it will encourage administrators who want raises to also increase the pays of their least privileged (or most economically disadvantaged) workers, accepting in the process the benefits and fairness of income inequality but also acknowledging that, if it comes in excess, that inequality will jeopardize social mobility and reduce the influence personal merit has on deciding ones own financial fate in life.

The separation from the top and bottom earners remains sizable enough to incentivize hard, ingenious work so one is afforded greater financial security, enhanced leeway to indulge in material comforts, and bring upon oneself an elevated social status as their contributions to the firm (and society at large) increase are more often than not afford to them strategic competitive advantages, as is already the case in our prevailing order. I believe that we as a society should aim for establishing a classless society based upon how individuals perceive and interact with others rather than by how much money and private property they possess. This goal is easier to reach when income inequalities are less than enormous and potential qualities of life for our citizens do not diverge in their extremity from destitute, homeless, and oftentimes hungry all the way up to something just short of what many would consider the closest thing to Heaven attainable on Earth.

In other words, I sincerely feel that financial resources are unhealthy for an individual to have in either excess or deficiency. That is not to say I am envisioning a utopian future in which everyone in comfortably middle class. Rather, it would satisfy me to have a decent social safety net which raises further aloft from rock bottom the richer our most fortunate members of society become. Modest infringements upon our property rights do not strike me as being an intolerable price to pay to achieve and then sustain such a paradigm. By reducing inequalities in the workplace, perhaps we can prevent the state form needing to redistribute quite so many resources after the dust of competition settles. What do you think?


Section III, Subsection (f)

This provision, for its part, aims to prevent firms from moving offshore to evade the stipulations of this law. If the people of a business would like to do business here they are to follow certain rules without exception. If anyone has a more efficient and/or effective method of achieving this please let me know, and we can discuss the possibility of revamping this part of the bill.


Section IV

Hurray for tax incentives that double as a source of funding for enforcement! Then again, please place little or no faith in my ability to make prudent fiscal choices. If you know anything about economics, you will help me save me from myself... and help me save me for yourself, of course.


Section V

The amount of time provided for companies to make the required adjustments is very generous (2015 is what, more than an in-game decade away?) and could perhaps even be shortened. What do you all think about this?


Mind you, like most human beings I am liable to rationalize my ideology and policy stances rather than provide the most rational conceivable defenses for them or yield accordingly to the best information and reasoning available on any given political matter. I will try to be as objective as I can here but fully suspect many Senators, myself included, will adopt stubborn positions on at least of a handful of respectable disagreements sure to arise in the coming hours and days. Without taking up any more of your time, however, I would like at this time to welcome a civil and dignified, at least reasonably intelligent discussion on what to do with this bill I've introduced.

*pauses to catch his breath before sipping on a glass of water*
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 12:23:27 pm by Redalgo »Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 12:48:39 pm »
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I cannot possibly support this bill as it stands, especially with 3(A) and 3(B) in the bill.  Only 3(C) and 3(F) are even remotely acceptable to me.
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 12:58:34 pm »
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What in particular are your objections, if I might ask? Without any knowledge of your concerns I am afforded no opportunity to debate over, offer accommodations concerning, or propose some improvements to the means utilized in this legislation to achieve my intended ends.
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 01:15:36 pm »
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I just cannot see direct democracy working in a business setting.  I believe it will only lead to corruption, and mismanagement; at the same time, the redistribution of shares is also unacceptable in that it eliminates entrepreneurship.  There are simply too many provisions I oppose in this bill.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 01:25:03 pm »
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I'm a bit uncomfortable with this bill.  I support workers' rights, but I think there needs to be a balance between the interests of the workers and of the CEOs.  Simply dividing the decision making might be a good idea for some companies (and there is one like that, as I recall, but its name escapes me), but mandating that every large business simply spread the power like this would demonstrate, to me, as an overreach.

I also have a concern about employment.  If a growing business doesn't want to be democratized, wouldn't they be more likely to turn away would-be employees or lay people off to duck from the minimum employee threshold?
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 02:38:09 pm »
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Senator- I look forward to reading what I'm sure is very eloquent writing on your part but want to be sure I give it the attention its due. In the meantime I would like to commend you for 3b-

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All firms with nineteen (19) or less employees, with the lone exception of businesses which are sole proprietorships

As a sole proprietor for 25 years, I am very pleased to see that the distinction between sole proprietorships and corporations,partnerships, etc is recognized in this bill.

I will have many disagreements with you on this bill but believe it is important that we look at the intent behind it- all of us want to see employees treated fairly and humanely in the workplace and I look forward to working with you to find how best we can do this...I will have a more detailed statement later once I have read the bill and your statement further
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 10:43:18 am »
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First of all, let me begin by apologizing for some of the bad typos in a couple of my earlier posts. Sometimes spell-check goes rogue on me when I'm not paying close enough attention. xD


I just cannot see direct democracy working in a business setting.  I believe it will only lead to corruption, and mismanagement; at the same time, the redistribution of shares is also unacceptable in that it eliminates entrepreneurship.  There are simply too many provisions I oppose in this bill.

Personally, I have a negative perception of direct democracy but figured it would be a nice option to afford the cooperatives if they wish to explore it. Nonetheless, I am fine with amending and merging Section III, Subsections (a) and (b) so as to emphasize the representative democratic approach and leave its direct alternative off the table at least when it comes to this piece of legislation.

My impression was if shares were redistributed (sold - mind you - not forcibly taken from one bloke and given to others without compensation), the workers would also become the main investors at the firms at which they are employed, giving them strong incentives in positive (hard work and innovation may increase both your pay and return on investment) and negative (if the business fails you will be out of the job and may lose quite a bit of the money you had invested in the firm) senses alike. Alternatively, I would be willing to have all the shares of firms be owned in common by their workers without them being cut into equal parts, but then again I don’t know how that could be most effectively arranged.

Individual entrepreneurship could continue since small sole proprietorships are relatively left alone by this legislation, looking for employment at a business would be just as much about making wise investments as it would finding a satisfactory source of income, and it (the bill I mean) does nothing to prevent folks from extending loans - with interest owed - to firms or individuals, which at least to me suggests there would still be ways for folks to make money simply by manipulating capital, which I suppose implies this is technically a mixed economic initiative.

Then again, I of course understand if you’re unwilling to vote in support, and respect that. In the likely event this fails to pass, amending and re-introducing this bill shall become a once-per-term tradition of mine in which I never expect to prevail, so much as reestablish and reaffirm to the public my unwavering devotion to principled, transformative goals. :p


I'm a bit uncomfortable with this bill.  I support workers' rights, but I think there needs to be a balance between the interests of the workers and of the CEOs.  Simply dividing the decision making might be a good idea for some companies (and there is one like that, as I recall, but its name escapes me), but mandating that every large business simply spread the power like this would demonstrate, to me, as an overreach.

I also have a concern about employment.  If a growing business doesn't want to be democratized, wouldn't they be more likely to turn away would-be employees or lay people off to duck from the minimum employee threshold?

In regards to your first point, I feel the CEO an fellow administrators would still be highly influential in the day-to-day operations of firms, especially if I move forward with my intended amendment to ditch the direct democratic provisions. My intent was actually not so much to erode the ability of qualified persons to serve in leadership capacities as to ensure whoever those leaders are have the blessings of their employees, maybe to the end of labor-management relations being more cooperative and diplomatic in practice so that the interests of each are being met via means within the firm rather than orchestrated in a neo-corporatist way by the state, which I consider a relatively authoritarian solution to the problem. That having been said though, are there any relatively moderate alternatives you would be willing to support, or is the entire concept of workplace democracy a bit too far out into left-field for your tastes?

Your second concern has me a little stumped. It touches on a dilemma I had not realized the existence of until just now. Then again, if they were to engage in such behavior there would be more opportunities for new small businesses to be created and competition may well intensify - making me wonder if the outcomes would be more positive than negative. If you have an idea for how to mitigate this dilemma, however, without opening up a big risk to sole proprietors in the form of tyranny of the(ir employed) majority I’d be glad to take it under serious consideration and see if we can improve upon the stipulations of this bill.
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 12:09:59 pm »
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There would have to be a tremendous amount of businesses for jobs to be available to everyone, because I think many of them would simply cap the number of people they hire.  Young and inexperienced workers, in particular, would have an extremely difficult time finding work because most aren't going to simply start their own businesses if no one's hiring them.  I'm not sure what could remedy this problem, and that's part of why I don't think I can vote for this bill.  Your proposal to remove the direct democratic provisions is a good start, but I think it would be more ideal to pass legislation that strengthens the influence of unions, which has been declining for decades.

That brings me to another question- how would unions be impacted by this legislation?  It seems to me that if workers get this much say in how their businesses operate, there would no longer be a need for them.
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 12:19:12 pm »
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One of my concerns with this other than what has been previously mentioned is that by forcing a sell-off of external shareholders the main effect would be to undo diversification of investment portfolios. Many of the largest shareholders in major companies are pension funds and mutual funds, which are set up by a large number of workers to save for retirement. They buy the funds as a way to spread their investment around in case some of the companies they invest in fail. This would result in moving those investments into one company and increasing the risk of people losing their life savings if one company should collapse.
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 04:47:49 pm »
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There would have to be a tremendous amount of businesses for jobs to be available to everyone, because I think many of them would simply cap the number of people they hire.  Young and inexperienced workers, in particular, would have an extremely difficult time finding work because most aren't going to simply start their own businesses if no one's hiring them.  I'm not sure what could remedy this problem, and that's part of why I don't think I can vote for this bill.  Your proposal to remove the direct democratic provisions is a good start, but I think it would be more ideal to pass legislation that strengthens the influence of unions, which has been declining for decades.

That brings me to another question- how would unions be impacted by this legislation?  It seems to me that if workers get this much say in how their businesses operate, there would no longer be a need for them.

Perhaps one way to avoid the first problem elaborated on would be for me to get rid of the loophole for sole proprietorships and scheme up an attached program by which the Department of Internal Affairs could facilitate smooth over the transition for firms and individual workers who need help figuring out what to do as the date of implementation approaches.

In regards to unions, I consider them interest groups. A democratic economy makes them a lot less important and will perhaps make them change some of their objectives, which is okay because they have served their purpose and must adapt just like everyone else to the transition into the new order. Though I often approve of the positions unions take and the acts they perform, I am by no means loyal to them and feel their power must be balanced against that wielded by other factions in our pluralist society.



One of my concerns . . . is that by forcing a sell-off of external shareholders the main effect would be to undo diversification of investment portfolios. Many of the largest shareholders in major companies are pension funds and mutual funds, which are set up by a large number of workers to save for retirement. They buy the funds as a way to spread their investment around in case some of the companies they invest in fail. This would result in moving those investments into one company and increasing the risk of people losing their life savings if one company should collapse.

I would think some, specialized firms would still be able to take money volunteered to them by individual citizens and bring them a return on investment via issuing loans to other people, or firms could set aside money to invest in others to some extent and then the returns could go to retirement savings or pensions. Loss of diversification seems like a thorny problem, but then again if this legislation were to be complemented with a social democratic welfare regime at a later date there would be a strong safety net to catch those whose businesses fail. Another possibility is to simply beef up and reform social security so private savings and investments are unnecessary to cover ones expenses in retirement.

Unfortunately, I am not yet familiar enough with Atlasian law to wholly understand the inner workings, strengths, and weaknesses of this republic’s current welfare regime. To combine reforms to that welfare regime with this legislation would be taking off too big of a bite for me to chew. It is an issue I would like to address at some point though.


You both have provided excellent points and I will do my best to account for them when I set aside time tomorrow evening for drafting an amendment to the bill. Even if neither of you vote for this legislation, I must express my appreciation all the same for all of your thoughtful, constructive, ongoing input.
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2012, 11:00:24 am »
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What about new business formation? How does a company with a new innovation say, attract investors under this formulation? This sounds like a great concept for monopolized industries, but in a competitive market places, especially ones where technology is the driving force, companies rise and fall based on who has the latest invention/innovation that people end up finding they cannot live without. In those industries especially, venture capital is essential and constraining the free flow of capital, as this would lead to in my opinion, would retard those industries significantly.
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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 12:00:02 pm »
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My first impression would be that if somebody has a great pitch for starting a new business or finding practical applications for promising ideas, then either "angel" investors or cooperatives led by elected venture capitalists/socialists/whatever-one-wants-to-call-them with money or other forms of capital at their disposal would think it sensible to lend the founder(s) start-up assistance. Providing such capital would not give one a stake of ownership in the new firm. Rather, employees would need to buy in to the project and through their labors produce enough revenue to both make their and the start-up investors' risk-taking behaviors pay off. Alternatively, if monopolies or even oligopolies start to develop the state may simply intervene to divide them into smaller outfits to promote a competitive economic environment.

One way or another though the risks are sizable. My understanding is roughly nine out of ten new ventures in Atlasia fail, though perhaps this is merely hearsay. If people are not willing to take the risks however, especially in areas of basic research and development, I would be open to increasing the state's role in directly funding and overseeing it in fields of work that are of strategic importance using the taxpayers' money at a later time.

My greatest concern right now is how we can ensure workers will be able to afford their entry into the cooperatives and be able to transfer all of their shares in their old cooperative to the other workers when they quit, retire, are fired, or shift to a new one. I am hoping somebody may be able to explain how in practice that might be facilitated by public policy, or at the least how markets could come up with a solution to such challenges on their own without politicians such as yours truly meddling in its functions any further.

Either way, quality of process is more highly valued by me than quality of results and, to be frank about it, my moral judgments are not grounded in the sort of utilitarianism that encourages us to judge the economic excellence of nations using statistics like GDP per capita (PPP). If all we would be losing from this bill's enactment is a portion of our rate of economic expansion, and some of our vigor in innovative output I would still honestly consider it all to have been worthwhile.  
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 12:23:39 pm by Redalgo »Logged

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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2012, 01:03:59 pm »
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All I can thing of would be some kind of exchange where people would buy in and out of the cooperatives. But that risks people being priced out of them, which is something you probably desire to avoid.

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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2012, 01:15:53 pm »
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As I said, the only way this would work successfully is in a monopolized industry. More competative sectors would price these "co-operatives" out of the market and replace them with smaller entities that aren't covered, or foreign entities, because of the decline in functional and organizational efficiency, the decline in innovation and R&D, and the lack of flexibility regarding the labor pool retained.

The "devolution" from large to small business would cede several industries to foreign producers because it is only the advantages provided by economies of scale that make them economically viable, otherwise the prices for these products would be too high for people to afford them. Think how much it would cost to buy a car produced by a small business without the advanced assembly lines and automation that makes cars available to the mass public. One of the reasons why innovation in productive efficiency driven by the private sector is a positive in spite of the jobs eliminated, is because it democratizes the luxuries previously enjoyed only by the wealthy. Henry Ford didn't invent the car. Cars first appeared in the 1870's and 1880's, but they were often made one a time in a shed and only the wealthy could afford them. It was Ford's innovation of the assembly line and subsequent adoption of that by his competitors that made cars something everyone could enjoy.

Government has incentive to invest only in research that is politically popular. There is far more to technology and innovation then finding a cure for a disease or a specific device. The majority of it is driven by the desire to save money and improve efficiencies, standards that are not in the Government's interests, especially one whose focus is tunnell vision with regards to the welfare of people only. Government could not displace all the R&D that would be lost. Ceding efficiency, means ceding millions of jobs to China and other economies because they could produce stuff that we currently have a comparative advantage in (advantage that this would deprive us of) at a much lower cost and thus offer them at a lower price.

Ironically, it is my view that in pursuing the welfare of the people in this fashion, you will actually end up damaging them far more. You would have to severely restrict foreign trade to make this work and such a restriction would plunge the world into a Global Depression and cause significant economic upheavals for several years while this is introduced. Then when it comes time to recover, the forces that drive recovery (population growth and technology) are constrained by this very program. Population growth domestically is declining and we have seen what a weak economy has done to the massive influx of unskilled illegals into the country. The type of decline this would cause would end immigration to the US. Hence, why I used the phrase "tunnell vision", because the transistion alone could be disastrous for the working and middle classes.

I do think Co-operatives have a place in the economy, but so do investor owned businesses and entities. I also think that labor and management would do well to cooperate then to undermine each other, as well, because well treated workers are more productive and maintaining competiveness provides job security for more workers then the short term gain for long term pain, "get whatever you can get while you can get it out of the management" labor approach that often ends with the factory in Southern China and entire labor force being put on the unemployment line. But I think this is just too massive an alteration in the economy to successfully undertake.
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2012, 07:42:09 pm »
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This is unfortunate, if only because I suspected that after a few years I'd finally figured out a third way of sorts that wasn't a complete cop-out to liberalism - which I continue to regard as inhibiting of individual liberties and self-determination while encouraging amorality in business. Given the number and severity of problems with this bill that I lack the economic savvy to solve via on-the-fly changes, I am left with no choice but to withdraw this legislation. It is for the best I quit now that my three options available are to radically amend - which I lack the know-how, time, energy, staff support, and emotional resolve to be successful in starting over from scratch to formulate a new scheme, triumph but with grave and unintended consequences for the people of Atlasia I strive to serve, or to go down rowdily backing a bad policy at a great personal loss of dignity or reputation.

So, rather than amending as originally intended, if nobody objects I am scrapping this bill entirely.
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2012, 03:35:15 pm »
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This is unfortunate, if only because I suspected that after a few years I'd finally figured out a third way of sorts that wasn't a complete cop-out to liberalism - which I continue to regard as inhibiting of individual liberties and self-determination while encouraging amorality in business. Given the number and severity of problems with this bill that I lack the economic savvy to solve via on-the-fly changes, I am left with no choice but to withdraw this legislation. It is for the best I quit now that my three options available are to radically amend - which I lack the know-how, time, energy, staff support, and emotional resolve to be successful in starting over from scratch to formulate a new scheme, triumph but with grave and unintended consequences for the people of Atlasia I strive to serve, or to go down rowdily backing a bad policy at a great personal loss of dignity or reputation.

So, rather than amending as originally intended, if nobody objects I am scrapping this bill entirely.

Oh come on there are ways to achieve your desired aims. You do have Social Democracy in various parts of the world, with substantial elements of what you seek to achieve successfully implemented and with a great degree of stability and prosperity. My advise would be to study some of them and find a model or a combination of models as a way to advance forward.

Lastly, you shouldn't view a piecemeal approach as a surrender as long as you maintain your long term objective of seeking to advance the welfare of the people. Oftentimes logistics and practicality demand a slow implementation to get to what you want because otherwise destabilization is an unavoidable consequence of a fast and immediate transformation.

Lastly no system is inherently corrupt, it is only the weaknesses of people that make them so and the lack of adequate means to respond or contain such deficiencies.
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2012, 07:43:24 pm »
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Ya. I used to be a fan of the Nordic model but since the 1980s at least the left has failed to put forth to people an inspiring vision for what comes next in the process of gradual reform. There is plenty of time for me to continue studying and experimenting with other ideas, but it is still rather disenchanting and frustrating to fail in efforts to improve upon the flawed prescriptions of previous thinkers and - despite understanding quite well why I tend to disagree with most other people on political matters - lack a viable, detailed alternative to champion.

Aside from that, it's worth bearing in mind my personality is not well-suited for the day-to-day battles of politics. Among other things, I focus on abstractions and the big picture, associate political defeats and lost debates with personal stupidity and incompetence - which is not a standard I project onto others, am perfectionist to the extent of considering outcomes either total successes or defeats without much of anything at all in the way of middle ground, and am goal-oriented to the effect of being lost or even inconsistent on issues when I lack a clear understanding of what, exactly, needs to be achieved and how.

Chances are I'll make a second attempt at introducing legislation in this area of policy during the first month of my second term if I can get reelected. In the meanwhile I need to review a lot of standing Atlasian law before I can make any other meaningful proposals to the Senate. Depending on what happens to my other bills in queue I may opt to resign myself to serving in advisory roles where I'm relatively useful and less prone to making embarrassing mistakes.

Whatever works.
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« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2012, 10:17:26 am »
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Ya. I used to be a fan of the Nordic model but since the 1980s at least the left has failed to put forth to people an inspiring vision for what comes next in the process of gradual reform. There is plenty of time for me to continue studying and experimenting with other ideas, but it is still rather disenchanting and frustrating to fail in efforts to improve upon the flawed prescriptions of previous thinkers and - despite understanding quite well why I tend to disagree with most other people on political matters - lack a viable, detailed alternative to champion.

Aside from that, it's worth bearing in mind my personality is not well-suited for the day-to-day battles of politics. Among other things, I focus on abstractions and the big picture, associate political defeats and lost debates with personal stupidity and incompetence - which is not a standard I project onto others, am perfectionist to the extent of considering outcomes either total successes or defeats without much of anything at all in the way of middle ground, and am goal-oriented to the effect of being lost or even inconsistent on issues when I lack a clear understanding of what, exactly, needs to be achieved and how.

Chances are I'll make a second attempt at introducing legislation in this area of policy during the first month of my second term if I can get reelected. In the meanwhile I need to review a lot of standing Atlasian law before I can make any other meaningful proposals to the Senate. Depending on what happens to my other bills in queue I may opt to resign myself to serving in advisory roles where I'm relatively useful and less prone to making embarrassing mistakes.

Whatever works.

You shouldn't feel embarrassment as a result of this.

Is it is possible that that on some level a society (like the Nordic model for instance) may have reached the "most perfect" arrangement possible and that deficiencies where they exist must be dealt with on an individual basis instead of a systemic overhaul.

Basically, how do you know this "next step" exists or is even a necessary change? What is your criteria for instance? Are there some specific deficiencies in where the left has left off in say Sweden or Norway, that necessitates a next step?
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« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2012, 10:20:40 am »
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Senators have 72 hours to assume sponsorship. If no one assumes sponsorship, the bill is withdrawn.


I really rather dont' care for withdrawal, it is more effective as a process for changing sponsors then getting a bill quickly off the floor.
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2012, 11:49:26 am »
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Still has some time left on that withdrawl period.


Redalgo, I would like a response to my last question if practical.
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2012, 04:07:15 pm »
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My apologies for the late response - I didn't initially see the post where you posed the question.

It is possible that we have reached the "most perfect" arrangement possible, yes, but it is closely-held conviction of mine that the world is in a state of constant change and, likewise, cultures and civilizations are never holding still, either. I believe the state and its policies must adapt to these changes to continue being optimally useful to the public, and it is because of these stances that I look down somewhat on the Left in Western civilization. Many of its goals, principles, and methods almost fully mirror those of people who lived and dreamed over seventy years ago.

Plans need to be reevaluated for effectiveness and recalibrated to suit the environs we all are thrust into together as a people. There is no hope of eternally preserving old ways, or even tweaking the current order in perpetuity so as to cope with other transformations in society. Just as it is a challenge today to get Americans to realize our constitution should be changing with the times rather than preserved and worshiped like some kind of a holy relic, in some other places it is just as much of a challenge to get socialists to realize that nationalization, unionism, neo-corporatism, and top-down expansion of the public sector - given past experiences - may not be the best of ways to go.

Then again, this is all relative to ones tastes in values, goals, and in traits of culture. For me, the overarching goal in politics to is to establish and then defend an order in which people are equally granted unconditional love, compassion, and privileges that will help them determine through their own efforts - to the greatest extent feasibly possible - how their lives will unfold, preferably to the ends of maximizing the number of folk who are generally satisfied with life while minimizing the number who generally feel miserable.

So when I look at the Nordic model, for instance, I wonder how we may enjoy generous economic benefits without those benefits being widely abused at the taxpayers’ expense, or figure out how we can have the labor-business teamwork fostered by neo-corporatism while still managing to institutionalize our vibrant individualism and competitive spirit of ingenuity in the realm of business. Can we have cradle-to-grave welfare sans a sprawling maze of costly, government bureaucracy? Can we discover a set of roles for the state that make the people feel free in their daily lives but still empower government to the ends of helping us as needed (but still simply getting out of our way when it isn’t) along the way?

I think so.

In broader terms, the Left is by its very nature concerned with finding problems with the existing order and wanting to tinker with ideas to make things run a bit better. It is about innovation, taking risks, and learning from mistakes to adjust ones plans and do better in the future. So although in theory there comes a point at which the government has done all that it can, leaving the rest is all up to private interests, in practice what I see is a game of sorts with no established time for an end. There are always more moves to make, more strategies to experiment with, and experiences to gain. An immense, unexplored frontier of “what if” lies in wait out there. Rather than sticking with what feels safe and familiar, folks on the Left (e.g. me) like to rush out there with confidence and a sense of wonder to explore.

The changes sought are not necessary, per se. They are simply desired out of hunger for further development - for cultural evolution toward happier, more fulfilling ways of life. Even if we someday shape public policy to as near a state of perfection as is possible in the context of our people’s values and interests, it would be a real shame if they were to give up on the pursuit of new discoveries. Hypothetically, even if all of my positions in politics were to eventually become codified into law, I would still be disappointed if no adversarial political factions soon emerged to challenge that order, put it to the test, and propose meaningful alternatives. What peeves me in politics more than anything else is when people settle for an old set of ideas and lack courage, vision, and force of will enough to try to make them even better.

So I do not much like it when some bloke opts to laud a past or present system or public figure as having all the answers we as a people will ever need, whether they be on the right, left, or otherwise. I feel our representative democracy should be a process of peaceful, orderly evolution without an end. The Right is at an advantage, all the while, which is fortunate. I shudder at the thought of how disastrous it would be for society to try out every new idea.

. . .

tl;dr version: I don't know that a next step is out there but have enduring hope for a better future


Does that answer your question, or did I end up straying a bit far off topic? xD
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 04:20:17 pm by Redalgo »Logged

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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2012, 07:55:26 pm »
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Redalgo- are you pulling this bill or are we still in a debate...?
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