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Imagine if Amazon was run as a cooperative, and the money generated by the workers went to them instead. Amazon could literally hire 10 times as many people, and have each employee work 1/2 a day a week while getting the same salary they get now. The only reason that's not happening is because a guy named Jeff takes the lion share of the profits.

theatlantic.com/technology/arc

@yogthos And it's not as if Bezos can actually enjoy even a fraction of profits he accrues. His Long Now Foundation and his running of Amazon seem conceptually opposed.
@y0x3y @yogthos

http://longnow.org/clock/

this Clock in the Mountain is being funded and built on property owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. B

@emacsomancer @yogthos thats good to know. thanks for the information. amazon and long now certainly seem directly opposed

@xj9 @yogthos the strategy is the fundamental issue that would change
amazon has incredible amounts of throughput, but fairly low quality control
if you change throughput requirements (by being more regional, perhaps in a partnership with other cooperatives) you can simply have better things that them at the same pricepoints (it's the general "pick two" scenario)
people in coops tend to be more motivated too, so there'd be less need for overall management to achieve the goals in question

@xj9 @yogthos With his billions, if he wasn't quite so self centered he could easily turn it into that if he wanted...

@xj9 @yogthos I think he still has controlling interest in shares, really just would need the overwhelming majority.

@seven @yogthos @xj9 if amazon becomes a coop instantly, will it keep the efficient and profitable operations? or does walmart become the new amazon, and amazon becomes an inefficient organization with degrading performance, profit, and usage.
from what i've seen, good webservices are the result of well paid super stressed out people who take their job super seriously, and higher paid overseers who can fire underlings if performance drops.
its miserable but stuff gets done usually.
@yogthos @xj9 @seven There is a reason, and I say this as someone who's naively optimistic supporter of coops or more generally any workplace thats good for the workers, customers, and world.

I want to give them tough love, constructive criticism. its a great system for organic food stores, buying clubs, bike repair shops, consulting services, and lots of other relatively small operations.

i don't see the model scaling up to compete with (inter)?national businesses, who typically gain some edge by collecting data, coordinating operations, centralizing to eliminate duplicate effort, and subsidizing R&D via their large size.

The venture funded employee abusing CEO techbro will be AB testing a first mockup while co-op is still having consensus meetings. Coop-azon would just be satisfied to sell some online books and provide a decent living for the workers in the meantime, not begin to sell every product, deliver it in 2 days, and for cheaper than everyone else, and on and on.
@yogthos @xj9 @seven Actually I've heard of Mondragon, and dozens of other enterprises of unusual structure: Kongo Gumi, Oneida corporation, and probably a few others.

As a science, economics should explain reality. Co-ops and all sorts of business structures are perfectly 100% legal to form and operate, based on your own examples, just as corporations are.
Why isn't Mondragon's happy and well rested employees outperfoming the abused capitalsts, making a better search engine than google, a better phone than apple, better online shopping than amazon?

@hushroom

This is simple, there is more money involved for the individuals with truly good ideas elsewhere...

@yogthos @xj9

@hushroom @yogthos @xj9

Principles are principles, but at the end of the day when you can essentially give your entire family and extended family a comfortable life where they can just explore and not struggle, most people cave at the money. The people who say they would never, haven't ever been given the opportunity in reality to turn such an offer down, and my bet is on the money winning... I've never seen anyone who had "I could have made a half billion but I turned it down on principle" yet... :/

@seven @xj9 @yogthos Hah, yea i admit anyone will cave at the chance to be Jeff Bezos personal assistant. i was thinking about ppl w/ skills for silicon valley startup life but do low paying IT work at small local business. like 3-4x paycut only.

@hushroom

Of course, see that's the think a little bit of cash doesn't move people off their morals. If they got an offer for say 5 times what they make now, different tune... Trust me on that one... Sticking to those guns is hard when you are looking at 100% financial stability for everyone you care about...

@yogthos @xj9

@hushroom

This is the basic thing that makes the system work. Not many will sacrifice the well being of the people they care about including themselves.

Give me the highest level anarchist, and I can tell you they have a price, if it was real. People can say whatever they want in a hypothetical, but it's fully not the same as reality.

I was actually just listening to a thing about a study on harassment in job interviews, where in the sort of questionnaire portion of the deal, there was a strong % that said they would do any number of things, then they fixed it for the real deal, and shockingly none of what they said would happen did... Being faced with the real problem, people, rarely (if provably ever) opt for continued hardships over absolute comfort...

I dunno what the actual breakdown is, but there is a number where people will abandon the morality for that... Sad but true, that business model is no different. It works but only so far as the minds behind the model are actually willing to continue over other more personally beneficial options. The reason we don't see coops making better gear is because the people capable of making better gear, sooner or later, go for better, and why shouldn't they? If you are barely making ends meet and someone comes around that will set your family in a good spot for the next few generations, can you really honestly say you'd turn that down?!

@yogthos @xj9

@yogthos

Remember, the last thing the "state" wants is the people in control...

@hushroom @xj9

@seven i consider myself extremely lucky to be able to say, at least in the hypothetical, that I would turn it down now. but only because i've sucked it up for a good number of years in the corporate world for nowhere near moral-abandoning salary, just doing super boring stuff to acquire some degree of FU money, and now can get by just doing something really flexible that i like quite a bit.

but i realize im simply in the lucky demographic of "have opportunity, health and aptitude to develop a skill thats in demand". i realize i'm lucky and the whole world can't function from people working in the situation im in. in fact i really understand it after many years where most of my existence and thoughts was overwhelmed by being at a job I hated, or dreading going back to a job I hated in a few hours or days at best.

It sucks, but I think I see what people mean when "its the worst system, except for all the alternatives that are even worse".

@hushroom I hear you. It still comes down to the same thing, what multiplier is enough to make you abandon that... When faced with the actual choice (real not hypothetical) it becomes super difficult. Comfortable and functional are indeed good, but it's somewhat hard, when presented with 5 times what you make to just say no, without considering it (barring fully illegal stuff) let alone borderline irresponsible if you are in a family situation...

@seven ok, fine, i think they'd get me when they paid me enough to quit in a few years with enough $ to become my own little version of elon musk or bezos, except id be pursuing
The Millenial Project.

http://sunshinegardens.org/~hushroom/brief_manifestos/millennial-project-aquarius.pdf
@seven @xj9 @yogthos sure, I agree but I think theres more. probably due to my own situation, but I talk to lots of individuals who claim they could be earning more, but don't because they're happy with a specific situation due to quality of life, or work aligning with their personal values.
but, they're still working for a traditionally structured business or running their own, just for less pay.

@hushroom

Valid points. It depends on how thirsty the coops are for expansion and growth to be honest. Consider that if the entire coop benefits by aggressive expansion, than the coop as a whole improves their own wage condition. Assuming full democratic decision making, it stands to reason that all participants would want to improve that condition rather than good enough, or rather the majority probably would.

The real question is could you keep innovators involved in that scenario or not, which is a huge ? as many "Innovators" are not looking for group benefit a lot of the time, but personal growth instead.

Because it really hasn't been done on a large scale, there is really no way to judge success. That said I've definitly seen some successful employee owned models working quite well over a number of years, expansion is not nearly as fast as some, but still successful. In and Out comes to mind as a very successful employee owned business that has a scale that is larger, with a very complex product distribution model (their locations are stocked by locally sourced product yet remain consistent in product as they expand, nearly identical product in every location). Growth is slower than most in that business...

@yogthos @xj9

@yogthos In our family, as part of family RPG storytelling, we imagined that Amazon grew, and grew, until they enslaved a whole planet of exoplanetary migrant pterosaurs who were forced to work in their factories and as delivery pterosaurs across several solar systems. Eventually they rebelled, overthrew their employers, and set up a co-operative dedicated to providing people with whatever they genuinely needed anywhere in the galaxy. For this reason, whenever (in our family's various RPG storytelling sessions) someone gets into real difficulty and needs a **deus ex machina** they just ring Naruzon, who immediately deliver whatever they need using FTL travel and a lot of kindness.

@yogthos This is why I try to support employee-owned businesses wherever I can. Shareholders and CEOs are parasites.

@yogthos

That would be super cool, but I would prefer multi-stakeholder structure where the customers would also have a say.

@yogthos What kind of human garbage do you have to be to do this to workers. Every time I read a piece like this, I move just a tiny bit closer to being authcom

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