The Case for Economic Democracy: Chapter 4.2
The hierarchy of political and economic dictatorships, and how we can abolish them.
Welcome! This is a segment of Chapter 4 of my new book, “The Case for Economic Democracy.” If you’d like to read it, as well as access all of my premium writings explaining Socialism, upgrade to a paying subscriber today.
Last week’s section examined how workplaces are miniature dictatorships. This week, we’re examining that label further to understand how workplaces are hierarchical in nature, just like political dictatorships.
Now, unless you work at a small business or are on the highest rungs of the corporate ladder, the person telling you what to do isn’t at the top of the company. Likely, they are a people manager. Their role is to be the go-between connecting executives to the workforce. Either they are in charge of your store, or they are a middle manager, as is common in most large companies. So while they may not be The Dictator, their authority is derived from The Dictator. They are part of the hierarchy established by the workplace ruler to ensure their will is spread throughout the organization.
This is identical to how countries run by dictatorships operate. Even the most delusional tyrants know they cannot be everywhere, all at once. But they still want everything completed to their liking. So, they hire agents in the form of a network of military generals and ministers appointed by the dictator themselves. Beneath the 2nd tier are the sergeants and managers who handle the more minute details, followed by a 3rd tier. And so on and so forth, all the way down to the foreman at the mine telling the immiserated miner to “dig harder.” Regardless of how many levels there are between the individual worker and the tyrant, the power flows one way — down. While your manager is not likely to give you tasks with the same hostility as a work-camp foreman, the structure is the same. Those at the top decide, those in the middle assign, and those at the bottom do. This is the essence of a dictatorship.
Unless the workers have achieved some sort of economic democracy (more on that later), all companies operate this way. The only difference between them is the structure at the very top. Though an estimated 73% of American companies are sole proprietorships, as they employ a much smaller percentage of the workforce, it is likely you work for a company with multiple owners. This multi-party ownership could be a handful of founders or a hodgepodge of various firms that invested in the business over its lifespan. Or, your company could be publicly traded, meaning it is owned by unaffiliated individual traders who purchased stocks, even if their acquisition was as little as 1¢.
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