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Capitalistslave
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The Contender
Chang29
Con (against)
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Richard Wolff's talk on worker coops

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/4/2017 Category: Economics
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 423 times Debate No: 100558
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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Capitalistslave

Pro

I realize I may be asking for quite a bit of my opponent, but I want to try a different style of debate. I would like to ask my opponent to watch this talk about worker coops by Richard Wolff and we will debate over it.

Here is part 1 of the talk: https://www.youtube.com...
Here is part 2: https://www.youtube.com...
You may want to watch this talk by Harriet Fraad first, but I won't require it, Wolff Just refers to this talk a little bit in the talk but you won't miss much by skipping this: https://www.youtube.com...


I will be taking the pro position, which means I am in favor of what Richard Wolff is talking about: expanding the worker coop sector.

Rules of debate:
1) No ad hominem, insults, personal attacks
2) The total number of rounds minus one should be used for debate since I am not using round 1 for debate and this is to make things even between us.
3) The first round of argument should not be rebuttals. The last round of argument should not have any new arguments. New information and facts can be brought up, but only in rebuttal to your opponent's arguments

Chang29

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
Capitalistslave

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting and we will begin:

Worker coops are democratic.
As Richard Wolff discusses in the video, worker coops are a democratic way of organizing businesses. Now, I would think democracy is supposed to be a held value of most people in Western society. Most western nations have some form of representation for people on the government level. The question becomes: why isn't this representation on the economic level? A large chunk of our time is spent at work after all, and work is what helps us better our lives and be able to feed ourselves at night. So why isn't work organized democratically when it determines such important things such as whether we get to improve our lot in life and can feed ourselves?

Additionally, business owners make decisions that affect the workers all of the time, such as what to do with the profits, the rules of the business, etc. The workers have no say over these things which makes the authority of the business owner dictatorial.

Worker coops are more innovative and productive than traditional firms
As Richard Wolff pointed out, Mondragon Corporation is so technologically advanced that corporations like Microsoft pay them to have their workers work alongside them. You can also see here how Microsoft and Mondragon signed an agreement for technological cooperation centers[1].

Not only can worker coops be as innovative as traditional businesses, but they are more productive as well. Now, Richard Wolff didn’t discuss this, but there are a couple of studies which have found worker coops in the plywood industry are much more productive[2][3], and there are reasons they formulate for why worker coops would be more productive in general. Here are three reasons for this:

1) "A co-op mitigates the agency cost associated with a corporation's division between ownership and control". Since co-ops are owned by the workers, they are much more likely to be informed about the business decisions than if they weren't owners, thus there is no need to spend extra time from business owners to educate them on this matter.[3, pgs 124-125)

2) Worker co-ops eliminate "the separation of interests between workers and owners."[3, pg 125] As one can imagine, there are many instances in which a conventional firm would be presented with opportunities where they can make a decision that more benefits them and harms the workers. The workers would be opposed to this, and normally what happens in a conventional firm, is that bargaining goes on and this takes up precious time that could be devoted to work. In a co-op, this bargaining would not take place, since worker-owners would likely choose what benefits the majority of the workers, whereas in a traditional business, the owner would choose what only benefits themselves.

3) Workers are able to monitor each other better than in traditional businesses where the monitor is a single manager [3, pgs 125-126]. This makes sense as well, since in co-ops, the workers are the ones who make the decisions of the company, and would be involved in hiring and firing other workers. Co-workers are more often among their co-workers than a manager is, so they would be able to monitor their co-workers more effectively than a manager. This provides incentive for each worker to provide their best work and not laze around.

Worker coops have been around a long time and are on the rise, but still mostly unknown
As Richard Wolff stated, Worker coops have been around for centuries, and while they had declined soon after world war 2, as he talked about, they are now on the rise once more. While there are so few worker coops,
“the movement is growing. For example, the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives was founded in 2004;32 smaller such federations and organizations are continually being born in states across the country, for instance the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives in the San Francisco area (founded in 1994), the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives in Massachusetts (founded in 2005), the California Center for Cooperative Development (incorporated in 2007), the Federation of Workplace Democracies in Minnesota (founded in 2004), Green Worker Cooperatives in the Bronx, CooperationWorks! (from the 1990s), the Cooperative Fund of New England (from 1975), the Ohio Employee Ownership Center, the ICA Group in Boston (from 1978), North American Students of Cooperation (from 1968), and many others.” [4, pg 18]

The fact that the worker cooperative movement is growing suggests it is becoming more popular among the people. I would argue one of the reasons why this is the case, is because of what Richard Wolff discussed: worker coops are not taught about in schools, and that is a fault of the education system. After all, we live in a society that favors capitalism, so why would they teach us about a successful alternative? The results of worker coops not being discussed are horrid, 89% of Americans don’t even know what a cooperative is(let along a worker cooperative)[5] This is truly a failure of the education system.

Worker coops are morally superior to traditional businesses
As Richard Wolff pointed out, many Christian societies organized their businesses as worker coops, such as the shakers in the United States and many of the Roman Catholics in Italy. There is a religious basis behind worker coops, and not just an atheistic, socialist basis. Additionally, I would argue worker coops are morally superior because: Traditional businesses have an unnecessary position which takes money away from people who could be earning it instead. The business owner is an unnecessary position and they take a percentage of the profits based on what the workers do. That profit could be distributed amongst the workers if the business owner was not there and the employees owned the business. The fact that cooperatives do exist, show that a business owner is not necessary. While someone could argue that since there are so few cooperatives, this shows that a business owner is necessary in order to have success in a company, this is proven false with the facts I showed about cooperatives above. Essentially, a cooperative gives a level of consent not seen in traditional businesses. A person has to work in order to survive, so the fact that business owners know this mean they can have outrageous demands on the workers, since they may not have any other option. It often takes many applications to jobs to finally get one, so a person is desperate enough to make a living that they will be forced to put up with a tyrannical business owner. However, if all of the businesses were cooperatives, the worker would have a say in business rules, decisions, etc. Similar to how governments that don't give a consent to the governed are immoral, so are traditional businesses for the same reason.

I believe my arguments are sufficient for this round and I will turn this over to my opponent.

Sources:
[1] dragon+microsoft+deal">https://www.google.com...dragon+microsoft+deal (I couldn't directly link to the source because every time I have mondragon corporation in a link, it doesn't post properly on debate.org. The source I am using is the first one from mondragon-corporation.com)
[2] http://www.jstor.org...;(you need a jstor account to read this for free, but Jstor accounts are free if you don’t have one. It’s easy to set up an account)
[3] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu...
[4] http://scholarworks.umb.edu...
[5] www.geo.coop/story/new-survey-reveals-perceptions-and-myths-about-co-ops
Chang29

Con

These two videos by Richard Wolff are highly deceptive, especially using emotional appeals without explaining causation. He uses the term capitalism as a catch all for corporatism, crony-capitalism, and state-capitalism, without separating it from free-market capitalism. His major issue with capitalism appears to be effects of state influence on markets, with a solution of more state influence to correct prior failures. Wolff's overall argument is an attempt to create a form of palatable socialism.

Wolff early in the video talks about historic Shaker co-ops, but leaves out the disaster of collective ownership at Jamestown[1]. Americans are fearful of collective ownership with good reason. Religion based collectives used the power of the state to enforce religious ideals which in many cases included economic rules[2]. Early Americans understood that state power should not be used to enforce religious mandates. Religious freedom led to America being initially built on rugged individualism, a philosophy that promoted individual achievement over religion.

Collective ownership that gives each worker the same equal vote in decision making is doomed for failure. A worker with great experience is treated as an equal to a newbie will a few hours on the job, both in ownership stake and decision voting. This is completely against basic ideas of fairness, justice, and especially property rights.

Wolff ignores the role of entrepreneurship in the success of an enterprise. A key factor driving entrepreneurs is ownership, this rewards success and punishes failure with loss of risked capital. This risk factor is removed from collective owned businesses especially by the newest hires. Entrepreneurs have a complicated task a recognizing a market opportunity then coordinating other factors of production to supply a market offering before another. This combination of risk and reward create a system where consumers are the real winner since entrepreneurs are continually attempting to satisfy wants and needs.

Wolff late point in the second video drives right to Marx, seize the means of production. Wolff does not us those words but is what he means when he states that government should purchase companies and transfer ownership to workers. Government creates nothing and everything it has is seized assets. Therefore, using government money to purchase companies is seizing the means of production through force.

Democrat control of worker ownership is lunacy

Democracy is a favored buzz word of modern socialists, but America is not a democracy. America is a representative republic. America's founders knew that autocracy and democracy can be equal in the amount of tyranny on minorities. So, created a republican government where tyrannical majorities would be constrained.

A business organized as a collective with democracy as the decision making system will have difficult time to attracting top talent. Talented people want to be rewarded for addition effort and in systems of one worker, one vote achievers are treated as nonconformists. In other words, lower end workers view high achievers as Blue Falcons [3]. Thus high achievers will find other companies for employment. New or less skilled workers will have the same voting rights as veterans or high skill workers which ignores ideas of fairness. If a majority of employees have lower skills, decisions will be skewed to favor the less skilled.

Property rights are another huge problem with this co-op idea. Each position has property rights which includes all rights of ownership, including transfer and sale.

This could manifest in a long time with worker, significant human capital, hiring a substitute worker at a much lower wage. While the original worker maintains ownership and voting rights and pursues other opportunities. The original worker has property rights over the original job. Another property rights issue could be where a worker sells voting rights and profit income to an outside person for great quick financial gain to earn a smaller salary from the new position owner. With property rights these situations, plus many others are possible.

Fundamental misunderstanding of entrepreneurship

"The entrepreneur is the driving force of a market economy. It is the entrepreneur who judges that something is missing in the market, and decides to start a new business or develop a new product the entrepreneur uses savings (either personal or borrowed from capitalists) to hire workers, rent land and equipment, and purchase raw materials, electricity, semi-finished goods, and other inputs the entrepreneur then gives instructions to the hired help to use the tools, machinery, and inputs to produce goods and services which in turn are sold to customers."[4]

Entrepreneurs plan and execute projects to product market offerings that require actions by land owners, labor, and resource owners, therefore a form of specialized labor with additional risks and rewards. These individuals that are willing to risk their own capital are the driving force in growing economies. Without risk taking entrepreneurs economies will stagnant and grid to a halt.

Palatable Socialism

This is Wolff's real goal, that is to sell palatable socialism. Most people just hear the word "socialism" and immediately reject the idea, but when defined as "democratic control of the means of production" then people might warm up to this gentle form of socialism. Most people mistakenly think democracy is a good idea that America was built upon. America is a representative republic not a democracy. America's founders understood the tyranny of majority rule therefore created a republic. Socialism has traditionally been defined as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods" and most Americans understanding collective also meaning government. Wolff uses "workers" instead government as "collective". Worker run/owned business appears to be different than government controlled/owned business.

Inequality

A favorite subject of Wolff is inequality which he lumps income and wealth inequality into one moral issue. When he turns this issue into morality, a rational person would ask "what are some sources of moral and immoral income?" Moral income would be from engaging in voluntary exchange. While immoral sources of income would be from theft, coercion, fraud, or special favors from government. Most everyone considers the first three as immoral, but government favors depends on the receiver. Wolff states many times in the video about how the rich get special favors yet never states that the favors should be ended. He wants them expanded to other groups. The best solution is to repeal any law that favors one person or group over another. Thus, separating state and economy much as religion was separated hundreds of years ago.

Sources
1. https://www.cato.org...

2. https://www.loc.gov...

3. http://www.urbandictionary.com...

4 https://mises.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Capitalistslave

Pro

I’m going to first point to another argument made by Wolff, and then address the arguments of my opponent.


If there were more worker coops, there would be more freedom of choice

As it is right now, a vast majority of people have no choice but to purchase things from a capitalist business. In addition, people have no choice but to work for a capitalist business. This is because there are hardly any worker coops in the United States. If there was a worker coop sector of the economy, as Wolff talks about, there would be more choice and more voting power for people. You could vote with your money: if you like capitalist businesses you can shop at those, if you prefer worker coops, you can shop at those. As it is right now, you go to any mall, and everything is a capitalist enterprise. You have basically no choice but to shop at capitalist businesses.


Rebuttals to opponent’s arguments

I'll put quotes by my opponent in italics and respond accordingly


He uses the term capitalism as a catch all for corporatism, crony-capitalism, and state-capitalism, without separating it from free-market capitalism.

Capitalism is a broad term so it would include all of those versions of it. Why should those versions of capitalism be separated from capitalism? They are in fact versions of capitalism. Similarly, I would use socialism to refer to all forms of socialism, not just cooperative individualism. If I wanted to refer to cooperative individualism(or laissez-faire capitalism), I would say so.


His major issue with capitalism appears to be effects of state influence on markets, with a solution of more state influence to correct prior failures.

I don't believe he mentioned anything about state influence on markets or offering a solution of more state influence. I had to look through the video again to double check, and I don't see a single instance where he promoted government intervention, perhaps my opponent can point to the specific time stamp and which video it was. Maybe you're talking about when he referred to the New Deal programs? He didn't exactly say he supported those things, he just talked about how businesses sought a way to roll back those programs. If voters were to watch the video, I'm sure they will see that there is nothing in it that promotes state influence. At most, you might be able to say since he promoted making America aware of the worker coop movement, maybe that would be done by the state through the public education system or something, but he didn't specifically say that either. He didn't offer a specific as to how to make America more aware of it. It could be just as simple as what he is doing in this video: going around the country himself and talking about worker coops. At any rate, this point should be dismissed because he didn't promote these ideas from what I can see.


...but leaves out the disaster of collective ownership at Jamestown

Probably because the collective ownership of jamestown had nothing to do with worker coops. He's talking about worker coops after all, and I don't believe Jamestown had those. Just because one collective failed, doesn't mean all types will(and worker coops are different from what Jamestown had). That would be a fallacy.


As for the rest of this paragraph, you keep talking about state influence, but again, this wasn't promoted by Richard Wolff. There's something called cooperative individualism. It is an economy in which has worker coops as the primary mode of production. Cooperative individualism is a form of individualism. How is a democracy not individualism?


RE: worker coops are doomed for failure

Facts are not on my opponent’s side at all for this. You can talk as theoretically all you want, but in the end, it's facts and evidence that matter. Let's look at the survival rate of worker coops and traditional businesses for the first hard five years of being in business: coops survive at a 80% rate, traditional businesses, at a 41% rate[6, pg 8][7]. If any business model is more doomed for failure, it is the traditional, capitalist model according to these statistics. This point is negated.


RE: Risk and reward

How does cooperative ownership get rid of that system of risk and reward? Is it not a risk for people to come together and put some capital forward for the worker coop, in hopes that they gain more capital from the business(reward)? I would argue risk and reward still exists in worker cooperatives. The risk is just lower because multiple people who are from the class of the majority(the poor and middle classes) are more likely than a single wealthy person to know what people of the middle and poor classes want to purchase. So, a worker coop is more likely to survive likely for this reason. There is still, nonetheless risk in a worker coop. There's a 20% chance of failure in the first 5 years as I discussed, and then the workers would be out of jobs and have lost whatever money they put into the business.


RE: attracting talent

As I pointed out in the previous round, worker coops are more productive than traditional businesses. It seems the one having trouble of putting talent to use is the traditional business. Point negated


RE: property rights

All of what my opponent talks about here is conjecture. If they can show an example of a worker coop running into the problem where someone sells their position for money, then this would be a stronger argument. However, the nature of a worker coop would prevent this from happening. People don’t join a worker coop in order to make other people work for them, they join them in order to be more properly compensated for their own work and to have a say over a business. I don’t see what my opponent is talking about happening, and I don’t believe it has ever happened in the centuries worker coops have been around.


RE: Entrepreneurs

Worker coops don’t get rid of entrepreneurs, it just changes how they work and who they are. An entrepreneur doesn’t need to be a wealthy person or the sole owner of the business. Worker coops can be created by entrepreneurs. It could be created by a group of people who each pitch in for the business. Would you not consider them entrepreneurs, even though they each worked together and contributed a little bit to the business? Additionally, some coops are created by a business owner who realizes it would be a better idea to split ownership of the company with the workers. Some people are selfless like that. Not everyone in the world is selfish and greedy and keep the ownership of the company for themselves.


Re: Palatable socialism

The democratic control of the means of production is literally what socialism is. It’s not some watered-down form of socialism that is supposed to make socialism look better. See the definition here[8]. I think the reason you see it as some palatable form of socialism is because you’ve grown up in a capitalist country that promotes capitalism, and lies about socialism. America had two freaking red scares in our history after all where anyone who was a socialist or communist was considered a foreign spy and were deported, imprisoned, or killed. You can’t possibly say that a country like this would have the right idea and correct promotion/definition of what socialism is. Of course they will paint socialism as some horrible idea and something that it is not. As Wolff said, many people in America think liberalism, socialism, communism, etc are all just the same thing. In reality, however, anarchists, marxists, liberals, etc have all had a violent history with one another and rarely got along with one another. If you learn about revolutionary catalonia, an anarcho-syndicalist society, who had marxists try to overthrow their government, or how the bolsheviks kicked out the anarcho-communists of the free territory of Ukraine, you’d see that the conclusion is that leftist ideas all differ. We’re not all the same.


Re: inequality and moral/immoral means of gaining income

Moral income would be from engaging in voluntary exchange. While immoral sources of income would be from theft, coercion, fraud, or special favors from government.

And what is voluntary about a system of capitalism where you have no other choice but to work for a capitalist business? Capitalism is immoral for this sole purpose. You literally have no other choice but to work under someone who takes a percentage of the profits that are a result of your own work, or be the one who does that to other workers. Additionally, I would argue that the capitalist way of earning income is theft. I argue a person is entitled to the product of their own labor, this seems to be a reasonable idea that you should have what you work for and what results from your work, no? If that is the case, then a business owner regularly steals from the workers. The growth of a company is a direct result from the work a worker puts into it(thus the company in itself, is partially a product of the workers’ labor), yet they don’t receive joint-ownership of the company even though the company wouldn’t be as large as it is without workers. To keep the workers away from joint-ownership of the company is theft, and almost every business owner partakes in this. Again, you could claim this is “voluntary”- the workers chose to work in conditions where the business remains all under control of the business owner, but again: what other choice is there? They don’t have other options.

Additionally, as you said, special favors from the government is an immoral source of income, yet capitalist businesses are bailed out by the government all of the time. It seems for capitalism to exist, some government involvement is necessary. Otherwise you have terrible depressions like that of the great depression, or perhaps a worse crash.

Sources:

[6]www.uk.coop/sites/default/files/uploads/attachments/co-op_economy_2015.pdf

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org...



Chang29

Con

First, a group of people should not be prevented from organizing any enterprise, in any form, and government force should not be used to promote or discourage any voluntary business form.

Rebuttals

1) Worker coops are democratic or better stated "none of us are as dumb as all of us"

There are a few simply industries that democratic decision making can work, for example, an industry that is a near commodity with continual demand, like plywood. In other industries, especially enterprises based on one person's vision, democratic decision making framework will be an undermining force.

Overall, democracy is a terrible method to use for decision making, just look at America's congress. Each one was elected by a democratic process and are far from the best person to represent their districts and states.

Groupthink leads to the least imaginative and safest option to be selected. For competitive enterprises this is the road to failure. History has piles of businesses like A&P and Kodak that chose the safest option only to fail. Groupthink dynamics are not a positive when the labor is in control of decision. This is compounded when the labor has only a job at risk, and little to zero personal assets. The underlying motivations are not to maximize future societal benefit, measured by profit.

Mondragon Corporation is a favored cherry-picked company as an exception. I"igo Uc"n. President of MondragON"s General Council states "MondragON proposes a business model with a difference, based on inter-company co-operation, people playing a leading role and commitment to developing our environment." That is right Mondragon has a president of a general council, that does not sound like a democratically controlled company.

Agency costs, interests of parties, and employee evaluation are all handled by the leadership of a good entrepreneur. Inspiring leadership will always beat a 51% democratic consensus.

2) Worker coops are morally superior to traditional businesses

Religion has a long history of supporting many morally inferior concepts. Therefore, not a good source for business ethics. Business only has a few ideas to follow in order to be moral. These principles are don't lie, don't hurt people, don't take their stuff, and follow agreements. Government should not be involved with business if none of those principles are violated.

A extremely misguided statement, "Traditional businesses have an unnecessary position which takes money away from people who could be earning it instead. The business owner is an unnecessary position and they take a percentage of the profits based on what the workers do." Entrepreneurs and business owners are extremely important, their accumulated capital is at risk, while labor is compensated for their work as they go. If an enterprise fails, the workers leave having already received past wages, but the business owner's personal assets are in danger. High risks will only be taking with the hope of high reward with the ownership as the group that takes the risks thus receiving the greatest benefit.

The labor is compensated through voluntary agreements with very little risk by employees. Some will state that worker mobility is difficult, which I agree with. Government has created conditions that reduce worker's options to change employers. The answer is to reduce government requirements on businesses.

A question:

Just suppose, that a group of people come together make a plan to be competitive. This plan includes, that the group will work for less than minimum wage, longer than legal hours, and in terrible possible dangerous conditions. Everyone in the group is in agreement and willing to execute under this plan. It has 100% support and is voluntary. Would you support this type of worker co-op?

-----------------------------------------

Anarcho-syndicalists appear to not support moving toward anarchy. They support most every form of government including taxation, minimum wage, redistribution, welfare, business regulation, fiat currency, inflation, education, military action, police enforcement of victimless crimes, and many more. For a society to move to anarchy, government must be made smaller. Anarcho-syndicates should partner with anarcho-capitalist to move toward anarchy. Both movements want a leaderless society. Anarcho-syndicalism as well as any other voluntary societies can exist in anarcho-capitalism.
Debate Round No. 3
Capitalistslave

Pro

Defense of my arguments:
Once more, quotes by my opponent will be italicized:

First, a group of people should not be prevented from organizing any enterprise, in any form, and government force should not be used to promote or discourage any voluntary business form.

I do completely agree with the second half of the statement. I don't believe it is the role of the government to prevent people from organizing a tradiitonal business, for example. And I don't believe Richard Wolff promoted this either. I would personally support a group of people choosing to forcefully make a business a worker coop, but I believe this is besides the point since we are discussing what Wolff said, and he didn't promote this idea in his speeches.

1) Worker coops are democratic
...especially enterprises based on one person's vision, democratic decision making framework will be an undermining force.
I think this should be elaborated on and supported with logic and/or evidence, otherwise I don't see why this opinion should be accepted.

...just look at America's congress...
Using Congress as an argument against democracy doesn't exactly work. In our country, certain people have more influence over our government than others. The wealthy elites have the most influence over our politicians' policy decisions, and I do have a source that supports this idea: this scientific study on the matter concluded that the average citizen has little to no influence over politics, while the wealthy elites have the most influence[9] In an actual democracy, everyone would have an equal voice.

Groupthink leads to the least imaginative and safest option to be selected.
This is an unsubstantiated claim. In fact, this statement, along many others in this round, would be ipse dixits[10]

Although you made a claim without providing evidence, I could just leave it at this and point out that it is a weak argument since it is a logical fallacy, but instead, I will also provide evidence to the contrary of what you suggested here. In this peer-reviewed article by Ramon J. Aldag and Sally Riggs Fuller, their evaluation "...indicates that research does not provide convincing support for the validity of the groupthink phenomenon or for the suggestion that groupthink characteristics lead to negative outcomes".[11]

RE: Mondragon having a president makes it undemocratic
Actually, if you were to go to the mondragon website(I can't link it here because I always have trouble linking any source with the word mondragon in it) and go to Cooperative experience, then FAQ's, it explains under the question "what is the basic structure of the Mondragon corporation?" that they have a congress. What business has a congress? This congress represents each of the cooperatives they have and the workers that work there. The CEO is elected by the congress. So, yes, modragon corporation doesn't have a direct democratic control of their business, but it is still democratic. If you look up the definition of democracy on wikipedia, it states that democracy is "a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament."[12] By this definition, this would make mondragon corporation a democracy, and thus a worker coop still. There is a difference between direct democracy and democracy in general.

2) Worker coops are morally superior to traditional businesses
Business only has a few ideas to follow in order to be moral. These principles are don't lie, don't hurt people, don't take their stuff, and follow agreements. (emphasis added)
And, as I would argue, workers are entitled to the product of their labor. A product of their labor is the growth of the business. Thus a portion of the business is rightfully theirs. A business owner "takes the workers' stuff" by not allowing the workers to share in ownership of the

Re: Business owners are important because of the risk factor
I'm not sure if you're quite getting it. Maybe if I clarify a little better, you'll know what I mean: there is no reason to have a sole business owner. In a worker coop, the business owners are the workers, and thus the people who are putting money at risk are the workers themselves. There is nothing that a sole business owner does that the workers themselves can't do. That's what makes the position of a sole business owner unnecessary.

I do also agree with removing government regulations and requirements on businesses, by the way.

Just suppose, that a group of people come together make a plan to be competitive. This plan includes, that the group will work for less than minimum wage, longer than legal hours, and in terrible possible dangerous conditions. Everyone in the group is in agreement and willing to execute under this plan. It has 100% support and is voluntary. Would you support this type of worker co-op?
Yes, I would support that type of worker coop, I am personally opposed to minimum wage laws, maximum work hour laws, and business regulations. That is something many people may find odd about me since I'm a socialist. I'm just a socialist who opposes government involvement. That's what makes me a libertarian socialist: opposed to government, but supportive of democratic economics such as cooperative individualism. I also wouldn't mind a form of syndicalism, provided there is little to no government involved. At any rate, I would like to point out that I don't think it's possible to limit the workers down to below minimum wage(assuming there is a minimum wage, again, I would personally prefer not to have one). Again, with a worker coop, you don't have a single business owner at the top taking a percentage of the profits, so that would be split among the workers. Their wages would naturally be higher than normal businesses. The only way they would have a wage below minimum wage is if they employed many more workers than they need and thus the amount of profits each worker gets is so divided up and low, and/or if they way overpaid any managers they decided to have. Worker coops can still have managers, though they would be voted in by the workers or representatives of the workers. It just seems unlikely that they would have low wages. I suppose it's possible though, and I see nothing wrong with it if the workers choose to have that low of a wage. I only see problems when wages are low when it's someone other than the workers forcing their wages to be low.

Sources:
[9] https://scholar.princeton.edu...
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[11] http://s3.amazonaws.com...
[12] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Chang29

Con

Final Rebuttals
"Why should those versions of capitalism be separated from capitalism? They are in fact versions of capitalism." Very important distinction, when the state screws up capitalism, but the state is not blamed. The major problem with capitalism is the state.

Time stamps where Wolff identifies a problem caused by government influence:
Video 2 has the most examples:
0:23 Collapse of capitalist system, which both 1929 and 2008 were caused by government. [1][2][3]
2:00 - 5:07 Inequality, which the immoral source of income is from government special programs and Cantillon effects of currency inflation. [5][6]
12:15 Lack of mass political commitment

Then video 2 at 19:00, Wolff clearly states "the government... ought to be bankrolling worker co-ops on a massive scale". That is a call for government intervention. Government intervention (initiation of force) is against the principles of "libertarian" anything including socialism.

Jamestown is an important lesson about the failures of collective ownership.
From CATO "The problem was the lack of private property. As Tom Bethell writes in his book The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages, 'The colonists were indolent because most of them were indentured servants, expected to toil for seven years and contribute the fruits of their labor to the common store.' Understandably, men who don"t benefit from their hard work tend not to work very hard.Over the first two years, more colonists arrived from England, including women. By 1609, there were 500 settlers. And within six months fewer than 100 were still alive. People were desperate. They ate dogs and cats, then rats and mice. They apparently ate their deceased neighbors. And some said that one man murdered and ate his pregnant wife." Common ownership is a recipe for disaster, with the solution being private property.

RE: worker coops are doomed for failure
The post source from U.K. Coops miss quotes it's source of Office of National Statistics. The original source does not list co-op survival rate. The 80% number is most likely pulled from the sky. Point valid.

RE: Risk and reward
"How does cooperative ownership get rid of that system of risk and reward?"
Employees are not supplying enough capital to be in fear of loosing it. The worker only has a job at stake, while those that supply capital have much more at stake. Point valid.

RE: attracting talent
Not about productivity, this is about attracting the best possible talent to grow a business. Point Valid

RE: property rights
The conjecture is valid, if worker co-ops became mandatory. Here is an example at a normal company from 2013 "When the company commissioned a network-security audit, they belatedly discovered that 'Bob' had outsourced his own job to a Chinese software company for a fifth of his pay. Relieved of his workload, Bob would spend his entire office day on the internet, flicking from eBay to Facebook to cat videos, before writing a progress-report email for his bosses and knocking off at 5pm."[4] Currently, the most creative people are not attracted to worker co-ops. Point valid.

RE: Entrepreneurs
The entrepreneur is not just another employee, and not a role that anyone can occupy. Point Valid

Re: Palatable socialism
Agreement, Wolff is attempting to make socialism acceptable in American. Socialism might start as voluntary, but no form can last without becoming a forceful association. Wolff's call for government funding demonstrates this.

Re: inequality and moral/immoral means of gaining income
"And what is voluntary about a system of capitalism where you have no other choice but to work for a capitalist business? Capitalism is immoral for this sole purpose...I would argue that the capitalist way of earning income is theft." An employee is compensated by the terms of a voluntary contract, nearly immediately for services rendered. There are many other payment option that are less popular, like profit sharing, stock options, and commissions which are only chosen by the best workers in an industry.

"What other choice is there? They don"t have other options." People's options are limited by governments. I live in an area where local people can engage in unlicensed small time commerce, thus allow them to attempt new products with lower capital requirements or just allow them to put food on the table.

Special favors from government
Agreement that firms should not be bailed out. That would be immoral.

Then a completely wrong statement "It seems for capitalism to exist, some government involvement is necessary. Otherwise you have terrible depressions like that of the great depression, or perhaps a worse crash". Recessions and depressions are caused not prevented by government actions.[1][2][3]

A reason why are there not more worker co-ops is government. Governments have an interest in keeping people in an income earning job for the tax or on benefits for votes. The harder it is for people to start new businesses or earn income in non-tradition methods it is better for government. New entrepreneurs are the most critical of government created barriers to entry, and considered a threat to political power. Government funded worker co-ops would be a jackpot for control of businesses purchased in that method. Since, public money is used then workers must follow government rules.

In conclusion, workers and entrepreneurs should be able to enter any agreement that both parties enter without coercion. Yet, Wolff clearly calls for government funding to increase the number of worker co-ops, which government funding will mean government control. Free-market capitalism is the fairest not violence system ever accidentally created.

1. http://www.riosmauricio.com...
2. https://mises.org...
3. https://mises.org...
4. https://www.theguardian.com...
5. http://www.incrementum.li...
6. http://www.zerohedge.com...
7. https://www.cato.org...
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Capitalistslave 10 months ago
Capitalistslave
Dang, it still messed up the google link. Every link I post that has mon<x>dragon in it, it messed up the link for some reason. Just go to google, type in "Mon<x>dragon microsoft deal" and it's the first source.

I feel like this is an attempt to prevent mon<x>dragon from being known to the world or something lol. Why does every single link that has mon<x>dragon in it not work?
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