What do corporations resemble?

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 12:  (L-R) John Krenick...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I am not the most experienced person but I have a bit of it in working in small & big national or multinational companies. In any company I’ve worked for, I’ve noticed a very distinct authoritarian way of doing things but I never got around to thinking exactly what is is. Fortunately, my recent post regarding proprietary software companies led me to an insight on this.

A corporation works in a very distinct way.

  • Non-Management workers in it, have no political rights, as in, they have no say in the direction the company takes and in the choice of the people who rule them. Indeed, the people who rule them, are selected by each other with small or no oversight.
  • The workers of a company are always assumed to be working for the best of the company. Those who are not or who do not fully align themselves with the wishes of management, are ejected.
  • The workers of a company do not receive the full result of their work. There must always be some profit which is the difference from what the company makes and what it has to pay on workers, maintenance and raw materials. Thus, one can consider that the profit, divided equally among the workers, is the “tax” they have to pay in order for the whole company to prosper.
  • Workers can be discarded or moved around at any point. Without them having any say in it.
  • Barring external factors (as in, a larger state), workers have no rights. One cannot demand a bigger pay or less hours, or a pension. They will only receive what bonuses the company deems right in regards to what is best for the company. In short, they will only grudgingly give a bonus if they are cornered.
  • The Management has all the power in their hands in hierarchical order. The owner answers to no-one. The owner alone has the last word on “what is best” for the company.

There is one political system that very closely resembles this type of setup. “Socialist” Dictatorships, of which the purest form is Stalinism (But Fascism, Nazism, Maoism etc are all very similar)

In Stalinism, which unfortunately is what most people think of when they think of “Socialism”, the state is simply the ultimate Capitalist. All the conditions I described above apply to Stalinism but in the place of Company, we simply put “Country” or “The Party”.

We can easily agree that such political systems are bankrypt. I know very few people who would wish to live in a Socialist Dictatorship and there are quite a few people, especially US Americans who love to call their opponents “Socialists”, who find the perceived antonym to be the best possibility: Capitalist Democracy.

But my question is this: Do you really have a Democracy when your society’s basic group for production is organised like a Dictatorship? Doesn’t this fact undermine your whole concept of democracy?

Indeed, this is true. Democracy has become a farce of hypocricy under this setup. Because people are living a significant part of their daily lives within a mini-dictatorship, they are conditioned to think in a similar vein. The workers, if they care to at all, only exercise a political action twice per decade and maintain an illusion of democracy. The management live in a constant state of power and thus find it only natural to extend this state to the rest of their lives.

It should come thus as no surprise that Corporations were best buddies with Fascist regimes ((Not with Socialist Dictatorships though, as those actually took their power away and gave it to the state officials instead, making them equal to the workers)) who’s rampart cronyism gives corporations eventually absolute power over the whole country.

Like seeks like.

It is the biggest irony that for all the U.S. American’s foaming at the mouth against “the evils of socialism”, they are more than happy to work their whole lives in exactly the same state they would be, were their fears to materialize.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

8 thoughts on “What do corporations resemble?

  1. The one main thing I think you're missing is the role of consumers. Companies do not exist for their own sake, but to provide valuable consumption goods, either directly or indirectly. The owners of capital are by no means the highest power in a company; if they stop producing things people are willing to buy for more than what it costs to produce, they're kicked out of their positions just as quickly as an insubordinate employee, and will no longer own much capital.

    Well, except where there is government intervention, as with the recent US bailouts. But such injustice is to be expected when the state interferes with necessarily processes like liquidation.

  2. Dbzero, what would you think of a "economic bill of rights" that established rudimentary democracy in corporations? E.g. workers could vote on hiring of managers and some other limited aspects of company policy. Has this been successfully implemented outside of bureaucratic unionism, and if so would it necessarily lead to communism?

    1. Speaking from personal experience, I've never seen it implemented and AFAIK whenever the employees achieved more democratic control or self-managed, this was then quickly dismantled as it de-powered management. Such was the case of the General Electric experiment in worker's self-management for example

Comments are closed.