We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A bigger pie doesn’t mean you are getting a slice

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder. 

Dolack once again aids working people in understanding how the capitalist system works for the capitalist class as a whole and against working people. However, the focus of the article is on disputes within the capitalist class, a fight over their "big slices of the pie". He does this by way of illustration provided by a major multi-national corporation--The Coca-Cola Company.

Under the rules of capitalism capitalists "own" the fruits (or the "pie") produced by working people and thus have major influence over how the wealth (the "pie") created by working people is divvied up. These people can be separated into two sub-classes that make up the capitalist class: 1) people who have purchased and thereby "own" some portion of a company (referred to as "financiers" in the article); and 2) top company managers whose income is derived in part from the work they perform, but in substantial part in share ownership (stocks) of the company along with bonuses. The pure capitalists in the first class long ago realized the importance of co-opting top company managers and highly skilled technical people into their system by giving them a significant "slice of the ownership pie". (Of course, this arrangement leaves only a small piece for those who actually make and bake the pie.)

I think this latter development was brought about most substantially by the publication of James Burnham's classic 1941 book The Managerial Revolution which foresaw the probability of top managers displacing pure capitalists as a ruling class. This creative response by pure capitalists provides another illustration of their ability to respond to any threats to their capitalist system, the goose that lays for them so many golden eggs in the forms of wealth, and-- what has become even more important--power.