Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Next Left

My old stomping ground, The Washington Monthly, has an issue entirely devoted to a new progressivism for the 21st century. Check it out here. The one thing missing from their apt analysis and prescriptions is worker democracy. I know, I know, very commie Harwood, but hear me out. Democracy's a lie if you have to cede it for 8 to 10 hours of your conscious existence while you labor. There's no reason why workers can't be empowered and for businesses to still make profits in the process. It should be symbiotic.Actually there's a good example with W.L. Gore Associates, who manufactures Gore-tex, that worker democracy in post-industrial companies actually increases productivity and profits. So basically what I'm arguing is that capitalism in the macro view may actually be inviolable, yet there's no reason why socialism can't apply intra-firm. Wealth within companies should be distributed as equally as possible to increase society's equality overall. We all know CEOs don't deserve the salaries they make, so why know take the excess wealth and give it to joe nobody down in marketing.

Worker democracy is the future of the left, if we're smart enough and tough enough to take up its mantle.