‘Political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY’ Series,
Episode 4, Draft Script -- ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’.
Episode 4: Pillar III -- ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’.
[Introduction] In this, 4th, episode, we introduce the 3rd pillar of ‘Generalized Equity’ and of ‘Political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY’, which we have named ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’.
[video accompaniment: minimize face-time; use footage of producer co-ops in operation, e.g., Mondragon, Bi-Mart; use images of “Rust Belt” abandoned and derelict factories, etc.]
[Episode 4 Main Text: ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’ Overview.] This “Pillar” calls for a kind of ‘Public Venture Capital’. It would enable capital-lacking workers to self-organize as ‘Citizens Stewardship Collectives’.
Such a ‘Citizens Collective’ would, if underwritten by a ‘Social Bank’, receive the funds required to procure the means of production, etc., called for in that Collective’s Business Plan, and would thereby become a ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity Socialized Producer’s Cooperative’.
A good example of an existing institution that approximates this “Pillar” of ‘Generalized Equity’ is the Mondragon cooperative -- a worker-owned, international, highly-diversified producers’ cooperative.
Each ‘Social Bank’ would itself also be a particular kind of -- democratically self-managed -- ‘Citizen Stewardship Equity Cooperative’, chartered by the Office of the popularly-elected National Custodian of Social Property.
Such a ‘Social Bank’ would fund a Citizen Collective’s Business Plan if that bank so decided, by majority vote of its own member-owners. The ‘Social Bank’ member-owners would tend to so vote if they found that the Collective’s Business Plan and By-Laws met constitutional and statutory requirements. These would include requirements for internal democracy, including ‘recallability’ of elected managers. The ‘Social Bank’ member-owners majority would also tend to vote to fund a Citizen Collective’s Business Plan if they also found that this Business Plan, and the resumes of its would-be ‘Citizen Stewards’ -- the member-owners of that Citizen Collective -- convinced them to risk their Social Bank’s own solvency by underwriting that Business Plan. Thus underwritten, a ‘Citizen Stewardship Collective’ would become a ‘Citizen Stewardship Cooperative’.
Each Steward member-owner of that Cooperative would enjoy two streams of monthly income -- an equal share in the net operating surplus of their Cooperative, and compensation for their time worked therein, in proportion to the value of their skills. That value would be determined by market competition for citizens bearing such skills.
This competition for workers would ensue among ‘Stewardship Cooperatives’, among remaining capitalist enterprises, and between ‘Stewardship Cooperatives’ and remaining capitalist enterprises. This competition would help to place a floor beneath the capitalist “race to the bottom” in terms of the treatment and compensation of majority-class wage and salaried workers. It might even promote a kind of “race to the top”, or at least a ‘race to hire/higher’. In part, because the remaining capitalist firms would have to compete for workers with ‘Citizen Cooperatives’ in which the workers themselves democratically decide how they are to be treated.
A Citizen Stewardship Cooperative would also compete, with remaining capitalist firms, and with other ‘Stewardship Cooperatives’, in its chosen product and/or service market or markets.
If the Stewards in a given Cooperative were too easy on themselves, and/or not good enough to their customers, their Cooperative would likely fail, become insolvent, and be dissolved.
Each ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity Producers’ Cooperative’ would hold its means of production, not in local ownership, but in Stewardship, as an in-kind loan or rental to them from and by their society. Each ‘Stewardship Cooperative’ would therefore pay a monthly ‘Social Rent’ on those means of production. This would incentivize economy in the use of means of production. It would also help to finance the ‘Citizens Birthright Equity’ trust funds. A fixed share of that ‘Social Rent’ would also form the main income of the Citizen Stewardship Cooperative’s underwriting ‘Social Bank(s)’.
The human right of ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’ also constitutes a new constitutional property right. It is a right of each citizen to “individual property” in the form of that citizen’s ownership of that citizen’s membership in the ‘Citizens Stewardship Collective’ which that citizen co-founded, or into the membership of which that citizen was later inducted, by super-majority vote of the then-existing members.
When that ‘Citizens Stewardship Collective’ becomes a ‘Citizens Stewardship Cooperative’, that citizen’s right of membership entails the right to an equal share in the monthly net operating surplus of that Cooperative, and the right to work in and for that Cooperative, with fair compensation for that work.
This “individual property right” in such membership would not be revocable, except by constitutionally-stipulated due process of law, including trial by a jury of peers.
Each ‘Citizen Stewardship Cooperative’, if found to produce externalities beyond the constitutional and statutory limits would also -- no less and no more than remaining capitalist enterprises found to produce externalities beyond those limits -- be required to determine its ‘annual externalities budget’ in negotiations with its internalized ‘Citizens Externality Equity Public Board of Directors’, as an aspect of the ‘Citizens Externality Equity’ constitutional human right/property right of all citizens.
That Public Board would be elected by the citizen-public residing in the area of impact of the externalities produced by that ‘Citizen Stewardship Cooperative’.
As with remaining capitalist firms, if those negotiations deadlocked, they would escalate for adjudication to the “nearest” ‘Tribunal for Externality Equity’ having jurisdiction for that area of impact. That Tribunal would consist of elected, term-limited, and recallable justices, chosen by the electorate of their geographical area of jurisdiction. The losing party would be required to pay all of the costs of the litigation, to discourage frivolous litigation.
[Announcer] Detailed exposition of these proposed three new constitutional human rights, new property rights, and new enabling social institutions, designed to support these “Three Pillars”, is the purpose of this series. Future episodes will focus, in turn, on each of these “Pillars”, in more detail, as well as to their interactions and to their unity as a new socio-political-economic system.
SOME EXPECTED QUESTIONS, AND OUR RESPONSES.
We have stated, and responded to, key ‘FAQs’ we anticipate listeners and viewers will want answered. We encourage you to send your actual questions, if not covered by these FAQs, incivilities excluded.
Expected Question: With regard to ‘Citizen Stewardship Equity’; suppose that a member of a ‘Stewardship Cooperative’ became totally uncooperative and/or disruptive within that Cooperative -- how would that problem be addressed?
Response: The right of each Steward of a ‘Stewardship Cooperative’ to membership in the undergirding ‘Stewardship Collective’ would be an ‘Individual Property’ right, one that would not be revocable except by due process of law. If a majority of the members of a given ‘Stewardship Collective’ voted to revoke a given membership, then that member’s ‘Individual Property’ in that membership would be revoked, but subject to appeal by the revoked member. That revoked member could opt to appeal revocation to the ‘Tribunal for Stewardship Equity’ with jurisdiction for the principal locale of operation of that Cooperative. The Justices of that Tribunal would be popularly elected by the Citizens of their jurisdiction, and would also be mandated, term-limited, and recallable by their electorate. The losing party in the appeal would be required pay all of the court costs of that appeal. If the revoked member disagreed with the Tribunal’s decision, appeal for a trial by a jury of peers would be an option. Also, the Tribunal would not be limited to a “yes-or-no” decision on the revocation of membership. If the majority of the Justices held that the revoked member and the rest of the membership were both partly at fault for the conflict(s) that led to the revocation, then the Tribunal could order the ‘Stewardship Collective’ to pay a fraction of that revoked member’s former share in the monthly net operating surplus of that ‘Stewardship Cooperative’ to that revoked member, while that Cooperative continued in operation, to the extent of that ex-member’s longevity.
The fraction ordered would reflect the Tribunal’s view of the proportion of culpability of the former member versus of the rest of the members for the conflict(s) that led to that membership revocation.
Expected Question: How might we implement some of these reforms on a smaller geographical scale, say at the scale of a single city, county, or state, so that they would be tested and perhaps thereby improved in detail for a scaling up ultimately to the national scale and beyond?
Response: ‘Stewardship Equity’ might be scaled down as a ‘Public Venture Capital’ fund, administered by municipal officials popularly elected for that task. If this implementation developed a city-level critical mass of cooperative enterprises, then a similarly scaled-down version of ‘Citizens Externality Equity’ might also be implemented, with cooperative enterprises filling-in the gaps left by the expected flight of private and corporate capital in response to that local ‘Citizens Externality Equity’ implementation. Without the support of new constitutional amendment and new federal statute law, such local implementations of ‘Citizens Externality Equity’ would likely come under attack by State Supreme Courts, and, ultimately, by SCOTUS. Effective defenses against such attacks would be needed.
For more information regarding the
Seldonian insights, please see --
For partially pictographical, ‘poster-ized’ visualizations of many of these Seldonian insights -- specimens of ‘dialectical art’ -- see:
Voting Member, Foundation Encyclopedia Dialectica [F.E.D.];
Elected Member, F.E.D. General Council;
Participant, F.E.D. Special Council for Public Liaison;
Officer, F.E.D. Office of Public Liaison.
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