This article has a simple goal: how do we build a better and fairer economy. This article is a suggestion.
Some businesses produce excellent products quickly and at low prices, but they are not particularly good at selling products. Others, on the other hand, do a good job at presenting and selling their products but don’t do a good job producing their products at a reasonable cost. In an ideal setting, the skills of selling wouldn’t necessarily be handled by the same firms that are good at production but bad at selling. These are just examples. Some firms manage storage and shipment of goods better than others. Some firms are better at employing staff than others. Of course, it’s not always possible to have separate firms doing these separate tasks, but if the society held the stock in all the producing companies, it would make sense to pay the staff better if the production and selling delivered product at the best possible cost and highest profit for the society.
Let’s suppose that you had an economy in which the society owned the stock (a socialist idea) but the entities that did the production competed against one another (a capitalist idea). Each production entity would decide for itself how much they would charge for their product and try to maximize their income. In theory, the selling price of the product would be more or less the same, but the actual revenue to each company would depend on the efficiency of operating the company. The society would decide how each company’s staff was paid, because any profit would go to the society. (The actual oversight could go to financial companies representing the society. But there would need to be oversight of those financial overseers to determine how much they would be paid as well).
If the society were not corrupted, and producing and financial staff were treated fairly, in theory you would maximize the amounts that the society as a whole gained, and the staff (the workers) would be paid a fair amount. There would be no capitalists, since the society owned the capital. The only question really would be how much the staff were paid. The consumers would be workers as well, and so for them the prices would depend on the competition between the producers.
Suppose Company A produced eggs sold at $3 a dozen but at a total cost of $2 and Company B sold eggs at $3 a dozen but at a total cost of $2.50 a dozen. This would mean that Company A deserved a reward for doing a better job. There might be all sorts of reasons why A did better than B. For instance, A might be paying less for its location than B, or A might be able to operate its equipment at a cheaper price. The society would want to determine why, so that all the producers did as well. But the staff and managers of A should get a reward for informing the society how they managed to do it.
It would seem to me that this would be an ideal economy. There would be a sharing of knowledge and an overall decrease in costs. Moreover, you wouldn’t need to tax the producers, because the producers would be owned by the society. Eventually, you might want to tax the consumers, but that would be unlikely as well, in that the amount of money that went to members of the society as consumers could be decided at the time of production. Basically, there would be no need for a tax system, since the society would derive whatever funds it needed from the production system. This would be a big saving in itself.
The money that went to the staff could be decided by representatives of the staff and the consumers (who are, after all, the same group). This doesn’t guarantee a system without issues, but judgments are more likely to be done fairly than they would be in a strictly capitalist society.
Transparency would be important, but there would be a societal interest in transparency in order to make the economy function better.
It would be important to recognize that some jobs have negative aspects (such as personal danger, or the likelihood of injury on the job). It should also be important to recognize that some industries or occupations are by their very nature more profitable than others. There would need to be systems in place to balance out these sorts of differences. But if these problems could be regulated by workers themselves, the need for governmental intervention would be reduced. The best idea would be to have issues such as safety and differences in profitability be handled by a combination of workers and consumers, since they would be most affected by the rules laid down.
Despite all the arguments in our own society against socialist systems, this sort of system could include the best parts of capitalist systems. There would be competition between producers so that the staff would earn more. But the benefit of the competition would go to the consumers and to the workers. There could also be transparency to assist in raising production. Most importantly, there would the elimination of income inequality, as all members of the society would be workers and at the same time beneficiaries of the capitalist aspects of the society.
I would appreciate it if someone could point out to me why this sort of system would not function properly. It’s hard for me to see why it wouldn’t.