Managers in a work place

Aren’t manager a good thing in order to make sure no one is exploiting another in the balanced job complex?

In any group project what we might call “managerial labor” is required. Just like plowing labor, sewing seed labor, weeding labor, harvesting labor, etc. is required in farming; managerial labor is required to coordinate all the different activities that go into farming. On a single family farm the managerial labor and the work to execute the different tasks might all be performed by a single farmer. But on a large farm this is not the case. And in manufacturing and service industries most production is carried out by many workers, sometimes in the thousands…

Advocates for participatory economics do NOT propose to eliminate managerial labor… which is not only undesirable, but impossible. What we propose instead is that managerial tasks be organized and performed differently than they are in most historical societies where a minority manage, i.e. decide what others will do, and order them to do it, and everyone else just does what they are told.

We have argued that in the first attempt to replace capitalism the capitalist class was replaced by a “coordinator” class who ruled over the working class in the USSR and Eastern European countries for much of the 20th century. We have also argued that within modern capitalism there are three, not 2 classes: Besides the capitalist class, who own the means of production, and the working class who do the work, there came to be an important coordinator class of managers and professionals who were salaried employees of the capitalists, but were the people who told workers what to do on a day to day basis. There are other leftists who have theorized about this “class,” calling it different things, including the “professional, managerial class.”

In any case, THAT is why we have proposed that “jobs” in a participatory economy… which are simply a compilation of the different tasks someone will perform, and the time they will spend doing each… be BALANCED FOR EMPOWERMENT. We understand this is complicated, how best to do it will vary from one workplace to another, and is only something that can be achieved approximately. We also recommend that how to do it be left up to those in each worker council to work out among themselves. Nonetheless, it is an “injunction” we propose that every worker council be challenged to tackle in a participatory economy.

This particular proposal… that worker council strive to balance jobs for empowerment, so that all members will do some “managerial tasks,” and none will do only “managerial tasks”… has proven to be one of the most controversial proposals we have made even among anti-capitalists. And we have debated the issue in many articles, books, and conferences where the issue is often raised.

I would agree that there is a need for individuals to take leadership roles or supervisory roles in order to keep operations moving forward. However, the way decisions would be taken within a workplace would change dramatically. For example, a self-governance model called Sociocracy could be a viable means of reorganizing the workplace where no one has any direct power over another, as is the case with our current system of government and private sector hierarchies. Take a look at their materials, And you’ll have a better understanding of how the workplace could be managed.