From Cibernética Americana
As commonly defined, means token ownership via shares in otherwise received capitalist production whether private, publicly traded, or state cap.
I define it as transformed production where workers and social capital interact directly, with a complete divergence from these standard characteristics of the prevailing mode:
- Worker control. This is actually present in the prevailing mode as a stipulation when workers are not employees, in order to make clear that the contract worker has assumed all the responsibilities of an employer. This control factor is generally useful to distinguish actually free independent workers from various kinds of exploitative labor resale where the labor is sold as contracted or outsourced and the relation between the worker and exploiter/reseller is one of employee/employer. A free worker is strictly self employed.
- Labor paid by value rather than job time. Standard capitalist practice is like softened chattel slavery where the master/capital or its proxy rents rather than owns the worker. Much obfuscation is spewed to cover this core relation of master and slave but it inevitably makes itself felt sooner rather than later especially when workers take supposed freedoms, particularly ones suited to and hard won from an early stage of capital-labor relations, seriously and then encounter the reality of their status as (non-self) employees in a later and less compromising stage.
- Production for use as actual real reason for it. Standard capitalist firms ubiquitously proclaim that they are producing for society and are generally silent about their actual motive which is extraction of profit in control of the exchange where the work product has become its private property . Worker production may have the production of surplus value realized in exchange as an economic criterion but it is the use value of the thing produced that is the purpose of the activity and surplus via exchange is not in general a requirement for undertaking production.
- Value distribution to producers. Standard capitalist practice controls production only to the extent necessary to extract the produced surplus exchange value. In Worker Capitalism, this surplus, if it exists, is distributed among the producers according to self determined rules.
- No Dependency. In classical capital/labor relations, the employer encourages various kinds of worker dependency consistent with the notion of having purchased and for biz purposes owning a lump of labor with various needs extraneous to production. In contrast, in Worker Capitalism, each individual worker is expected to function as an independent capital that can fully and responsibly act in its own interest, pay its own way in society from the value of its labor which is undivided except for any taxes paid to society at large for the myriad services the latter provides.
- Disintermediation and Waste Elimination. Actually existing Capitalism imposes many expensive layers of superfluous and often questionable or obviously pointless labor between workers actually providing the required labor and the consuming society. Whole industries exist that basically really only function to increase consumption and pad the flow of the profit system. The elimination of these parasitic layers by price competition, automation and shaming are a goal of Worker Capitalism as I define it.