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Re: [tlug] Introduction to (Tech) Worker Cooperatives, 09:00AM on Sunday, July 12th JST

Collectivist enterprises.

Makes sense to me. If you are a horse in harness with others you may not pull so hard, i.e. if the pay is the same, what point working harder/longer than others? Let someone else be proud while you ease up a bit and let others take the load. That would be one way to game that system. One solution in factories is a piece-work system paying by amount produced, but that only works if things can be easily quantified.

Another solution could be found in the story of FedEx… The heart of the system is all planes coming together at one airport and in the middle of the night to sort & chuck packages going East, West, to one city, etc. They had all sorts of trouble trying to get it done timely, trying different things/rules/pay structures. Finally the solution was “everybody gets paid the same for each shift and nobody goes home until the job gets done.” Rather magically everybody pitched in worked fast to get it finished because everybody wanted to get home quicker. Get the incentives right and people will sort it out how best to respond.

On Jul 13, 2020, at 00:27, Yasuaki Kudo <> wrote:

One of the problems I heard is waning of entrepreneurial spirit, once the worker coops become so established and become like governments.

While they acknowledge the massive improvements they made over capitalist enterprises, I think the engagement of all workers in a participatory environment is a challenge especially for large worker cooperatives.

This is a kind of problem that capitalist organizations don't even consider as such - workers do the bidding of the "managers" or the "leadership" and the scope of discussions among employees are so narrowly defined by the so-called bosses.

So, I think the voluntary and lively worker participation is a kind of problem that only arose because they successfully removed the capitalist structures and they will need to solve using their creativity 😄  

On Jul 13, 2020, at 02:52, Kevin Sullivan <> wrote:

Care to elaborate on some of the problems cropping up with this organizational system?

On Jul 8, 2020, at 05:43, Yasuaki Kudo <> wrote:

Having said that, I have had countless interactions recently with worker cooperators in and out of Japan and yes, I have learned the kinds of problems they have.

When trying to understand a system, I like to imagine the incentives side for individuals, and the motivations at play to game that system. 

What dynamics tend to emerge in collective systems, what can split the atom so to speak of collective focus on group production of business product? Do these models work best when the company scope is rather narrow, so different work teams don’t thinking THEIR project is more worthy of resources/compensation than others? I am thinking here of Orwell’s “ Animal Farm” where in the beginning all are equal and in the end "some animals are more equal than others.”  

Hard work running a business operation where you need to simultaneously balance 4 poles with spinning plates of Customers, workers, management, and owners/providers of capital all demanding “fair shares” of the pie so to speak. Too good to the customers with low prices, not enough money for workers or company owners. Management running the company for their benefit, shorting workers and stockholders, etc. Balancing fairly equally the demands from all 4 groups is an ongoing challenge, and failing any one of them can end the business long-term viability.

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