Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Constituent Principles of Political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY 3: CITIZEN STEWARDSHIP EQUITY

Principles of Trans-Capitalist, Social Equity, #3 of 4Citizen Stewardship Equity [as propounded by the E.A.G., the Equitist Advocacy Group]

CITIZEN STEWARDSHIP EQUITY:  A KEY FEATURE OF THE POLITICAL-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY SOLUTION TO THE INHERENT, DEADLY INEQUITIES OF THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM, AND TO THE PRESENTLY-UNFOLDING GLOBAL CRISIS OF HUMANITY, "GLOBAL GREAT DEPRESSION II".



Dear Readers,

Below is my edited excerpt – edited for greater clarity [again, I hope!] – from a text by the Equitist Advocacy Group [E.A.G.] on their proposed new constitutional principle of Citizen Stewardship Equity.


"CITIZEN STEWARDSHIP EQUITY.

Citizen Stewardship Equity, supersedes the "wage-labor", '''sold labor-power''', or '''alienated labor[-power]''' relation of/that is the core of, [industrial, or real-dominant] capital.

It encompasses -- after the public's enactment of the Equitarian Reform/Revolution -- the constitutional rights of each working adult, to membership in, and to 1-person/1-vote 'economic suffrage' within, the 'producers' councils', or 'stewards' councils', that would then democratically manage the socially-/legally-/constitutionally-favored producer's cooperative enterprises.

It includes the new constitutional right to share in the profits-of-enterprise of any such producers' cooperative in which that citizen works, with partial rights of collective use / disposition over the socially-owned means of social reproduction ceded, in stewardship, but not in local ownership, to these producers' cooperatives / local producers' associations, under the collective/democratic control of their base-elected 'stewards' councils', in continuous negotiation with these enterprises' own 'externality-equities' property-holding 'publics' boards', as part of Equitarian Society's «aufheben»-negation / conservation / elevation of market-based checks-and-balances regarding the pricing and quality of the goods/services supplied to the citizen-consumers by these enterprises, using equitably-allocated, socially-owned means of social reproduction.

This newly-emergent 'Stewardship-Equity social-relation-of-production' is expected and intended to increasingly supplant the likewise «aufheben»-conserved/constrained/elevated '''wage-labor''' / private-capital social-relationship-of-production [cf. the model of "Economic Democracy" comprehensively constructed and defended by David Schweickart in his book Against Capitalism [Cambridge University Press, NY:  1993], as well as in his book After Capitalism [Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., NY: 2002], to which we are indebted, in part, for key aspects of the conceptual derivation of this crucial sub-principle, and 'socio-ontological «species»', or 'social relations of production «species»', of 'generalized equity'].  . . .


MarxJoint-Stock Capital-Equity as the Perfected Form of Capital, Transitional to 'Democratic Communism'.

In the context of this subject-matter, it is profoundly informative to see what Marx actually had to say, in the very core of his written works, about the immanent emergence — from out of the heart of the capital-relation itself — of the core social relation of production of 'democratic communist' society, in the transition from capital-relation-based society to 'democratic communist' society, in volume III. of his «magnum opus», Capital  --

"The general remarks, which the credit system so far elicited from us, were the following: ...

III. Formation of stock companies. Thereby: ...

3) Transformation of the actually functioning capitalist into a mere manager, administrator of other people's capital, and of the owner of capital into a mere owner, a mere money-capitalist.

Even if the dividends which they receive include the interest and the profit of enterprise, i.e., the total profit (for the salary of managers is, or should be, simply the wage of a specific type of skilled labour, whose price is regulated in the labour-market like that of any other labour), this total profit is henceforth received only in the form of interest, i.e., as mere compensation for owning capital that is now entirely divorced from the function in the actual process of reproduction, just as this function in the person of the manager is divorced from ownership of capital. ...

In stock companies the function is divorced from capital ownership, hence also labour is entirely divorced from ownership of means of production and surplus-labour.

This result of the ultimate development of capitalist production is a necessary transitional phase towards the reconversion of capital into the property of producers, although no longer as the private property of the individual producers, but rather as the property of associated producers, as outright social property.

On the other hand, the stock company is a transition toward the conversion of all functions in the reproduction process which still remain linked with capitalist property, into mere functions of the associated producers, into social functions.

This is the abolition [one-sided translation of the German core-"dialectical" word «aufheben» -- M.D.] of the capitalist mode of production within the capitalist mode of production itself, and hence a self-dissolving contradiction, which «prima facie» represents a mere phase of transition to a new form of production.

It manifests itself as such a contradiction in its effects.

It establishes a monopoly in certain spheres and thereby requires state interference.

It reproduces a new financial aristocracy, a new variety of parasites in the shape of promoters, speculators, and simply nominal directors; a whole system of swindling and cheating by means of corporation promoting, stock issuance, and stock speculation.

It is private production without the control of private property. ...

The co-operative factories of the labourers themselves represent within the old form the first sprouts of the new, although they naturally reproduce, and must reproduce, everywhere in their actual organization all the shortcomings of the prevailing system.

But the antithesis between capital and labour is overcome within them, if at first only by way of making the associated labourers into their own capitalist, i.e., by enabling them to use the means of production for the employment of their own labour [the E.A.G. names this transitional form 'workers' capital[ism]' -- M.D.].

They show how a new mode of production naturally grows out of an old one, when the development of the material forces of production and of the corresponding forms of social production have reached a particular stage. Without the factory system arising out of the capitalist mode of production there could have been no co-operative factories.

Nor could these have developed without the credit system arising out of the same mode of production.

The credit system is not only the principal basis for the gradual transformation of capitalist enterprises into capitalist stock companies, but equally offers the means for the gradual extension of co-operative enterprises on a more or less national scale. ...

The capitalist stock companies, as much as the co-operative factories, should be considered transitional forms from the capitalist mode of production to the associated one, with the only distinction that the antagonism is resolved negatively in the one, and positively in the other. ...

The credit system appears as the main lever of over-production and over-speculation in commerce solely because the reproduction process, which is elastic by nature, is here forced to its extreme limits, and is so forced because a large part of the social capital is employed by people who do not own it, and who consequently tackle things quite differently than the owner, who anxiously weighs the limitations of his private capital in so far as he handles it himself.

This simply demonstrates the fact that the self-expansion of capital based on the contradictory nature of capitalist production permits an actual free development only up to a certain point, so that in fact it constitutes an immanent fetter and barrier to production, which is continually broken through by the credit system.

Hence, the credit system accelerates the material development of the productive forces and the establishment of the world-market.

It is the historical mission of the capitalist system of production to raise the material foundations of the new mode of production to a certain degree of perfection.

At the same time credit accelerates the violent eruption of this contradiction — crises — and thereby the elements of disintegration of the old mode of production.

The two characteristics immanent in the credit system are, on the one hand, to develop the incentive of capitalist production, enrichment through the exploitation of the labour of others, to the purest and most colossal form of gambling and swindling, and to reduce more and more the number of the few who exploit the social wealth; on the other hand, to constitute the form of transition to a new mode of production.

It is this ambiguous nature, which endows the principal spokesmen of credit from Law to Isaac Pereire with the pleasant character mixture of swindler and prophet."

[Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy [vol. III], '''The Shapes Taken-On by the Reproductions-Process of/by Capitals Overall''', Chapter XXVII, "The Role of Credit in Capitalist Production", International Publishers Co., Inc. [NY:  1967], pages 435-441]



In a letter to Engels [Marx to Engels; April 2, 1858, in MEW 29, page 312, reproduced in Rubel on Marx: Five Essays, Cambridge University Press [NY: 1981], page 216, emphasis added by M.D.], Marx writes of the planned structure of his critique of the political economy of the system of «kapitals», with even greater explicitude regarding the transitional character of the emergence of the "share capital" «species» of Capital-in-General, i.e. the "capital equity stock" «species» sub-category, of the social relation of [social re-]production «genos» category called "capital" --

"Capital is divided into four sections.

1. Capital en général [in Fr.] (This is the material of the first brochure).

2. Competition or the reciprocal action of the many capitals.

3. Credit, where capital appears as the general element in opposition to the
many capitals.;

4. Share capital as the most perfect form (assuming the character of communism),
together with all its contradictions."



What are we to make of these positings, by Marx, of capital equity stock, and of its '''shareholder democracy''', or '''stockholder democracy''', as a close kin to '''the associated mode of production''', and to "communism"?



An Historical Helix of Human-Social Democratization, Spanning the Epoch of
Capital as Dominant Human-Social Relation of Production.

The incipient political democracy and civil liberty that early, competitive, ascendant-phase capitalism asserted, initially against its feudal and Absolute-Monarchical rivals, can only be restored in a higher form, and preserved from otherwise total destruction by the predictable late, decadent-phase form of that same capitalism, by means of advancing that initially merely political democracy to a politically-and-economically democratized, actualized democratic political-economy.

We hold that the way to achieve this begins with an extension and generalization of "stockholder democracy" into '''stakeholder democracy''', in a "publics" sense; that is, by way of a constitutional institutionalization of Equitarian, externality-equities-based economic democracy; a public and popular economic democracy that was absent as such throughout the capital epoch, seeded only in that democracy among capitalists — among the holders/owners of 'internality-equity' — that is immanent in the principles and practices [however often honored in the breach] of joint-stock company "stockholder democracy"."




SUMMARY OF THE 'STEWARDSHIP EQUITY', ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY RIGHTS OF CITIZENS.

'Citizen Stewardship Equity' is designed to gradually supplant and supersede the capital-relation, by superseding the wagéd-labor and salaried-labor relationships, the latter, forming the core of the capital-relation as predominant social relation of production.

This requires the overcoming of the capital-essential exclusion of the majority of the population, the producing class, from access to, and decision-making regarding the uses of, the means of [social-self-re-]production.

That is, it requires the constitutionally-mandated granting of "stewardship" access to such means of production, as social property, by self-organized collectives of citizens -- who may be non-owners of any capital whatsoever -- under the following precise conditions.

This new «species» of social equity rights entails the constitutional empowerment of each citizen to participate in the co-formation of, and the democratic, 'one steward, one vote' co-conduct of the production and of the democratic self-management of, localized, enterprise-level, associations of producers [i.e., socialized producers' cooperatives] on a 'one citizen, one vote' basis.

This means that each such citizen-producer would be empowered to act as a co-steward of that part of the total social property — in the form of, e.g., production plant and equipment — granted, and '''rented''', to that citizen's qualified producers-association, as collective self-employer, by a local, public, social bank, itself also a 'Citizen Stewardship Equity' co-stewardship association/cooperative, democratically self-managed by its own citizen-producers, also as collective self-employees.

This 'Citizen Stewardship Equity' right would include the right of each such citizen co-steward of such social property in-use to to distinct streams of personla income -- (1) an equal share in the net profits of enterprise generated by that cooperative association of producers, as well as to (2) a — perhaps unequal, perhaps skills-proportional — base-salary in return for the collectively required productive participation in, and contribution to, that association for production, as democratically decided by the assembly of the co-stewards of that cooperative enterprise.

Payment of those profit-shares and base-salaries to themselves by those co-stewards, would depend upon their productive contribution, and also upon their collective success in finding fellow-citizen customers for their product/service output, fellow-citizens/customers willing to pay a price sufficient to fund that salary and that profit-sharing, and for whose patronage they would face competition from other socialized stewardship cooperatives, as well as from remnant capitalist enterprises."

Mis-use of such social property -- of property held not in local collective or individual/personal ownership, but only in stewardship, by such a socialized producers' cooperative -- by the stewards of that stewardship cooperative, in the sense of its use contrary to that stewardship cooperative's business plan, as originally approved -- or as amended, by negotiation, and re-approved -- by the funding social bank, would constitute a misdemeanor against society.

Such would constitute a kind of "embezzlement-in-kind" of social property; a kind of diversion, usurpation, or unconsented-to, unsanctioned, unlawful re-allocation, by a small part of society, of social property, i.e., of property belonging to, and intended to be used so as to benefit, all citizens, and provided, by all citizens, for use by smaller collectives of citizens, only in accord with constitutional and statutory provisions -- such as social bank qualification of, authorization of, and allocation of social property means of production to ["funding" of], qualified producers' collectives business plans, plans, that in the judgement of the social bank collective, will be profitable for, and otherwise beneficial to, the social bank collective, the stewardship cooperative collective, and the rest of society -- provisions designed to insure that social property will be used only in ways net beneficial to society at large; to society as a whole; to all citizens.



For full article, see –

http://www.equitism.org/Equitism/Theory/PoliticalEconomicDemocracy/PoliticalEconomicDemocracy.htm


For more about the detailed workings of 'Citizen Stewardship Equity' Rights, see Section 5 in –

http://www.equitism.org/Equitism/AmendmentXXVIII/AmendmentXXVIII.pdf




Regards,

Miguel


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