Chapter 13
The property

In the second part of this book, we presented the organization of production which constitutes the heart of social organization. In this third part, we will specify other aspects of social organization with the aim of ultimately exposing a globally coherent system. Some very innovative political proposals, which could have been the subject of a whole thesis, are presented here in a few, if not a single sentence. It's up to you not to miss them!

The idea that we have often followed here is to present the key change(s) that will unblock the situation, as for example in the chapters dealing with ecology, justice or the media. Indeed, in the absence of a clear proposal which fixes the broad outlines of the new framework from the start, it is quite unlikely that the heritage of the past, the weight of established habits and interests, will make it possible to obtain a change in this scale by simple continuous improvement resulting from the experience of the profession. Or else, this change would take a time that would probably be counted in centuries.
On the other hand, we have not sought to draw an exhaustive list of practical consequences or to detail the methods of implementing these few structuring measures. Indeed, in part two, we have just defined what is an effective and constructive decision loop which allows to take into account the problems encountered in the field. The best implementation is therefore to always set up this loop, via the creation of organizations, to ensure that it works well, but not to presuppose what it will produce at the decision-making level. which will set practical operating procedures.
However, we needed these structuring measures to allow the rapid establishment of a coherent general environment. Indeed, if the effective and constructive decision loop is the key, we have seen (chapter 10) that when too strong archaic external structural constraints make the best solutions impossible, then, for lack of results that produce a social consensus, the alliances game, and following the irrational mode of reasoning described in Chapter 4 may regain the upper hand.
In the end, these very innovative political proposals should therefore be seen as catalysts for a coherent social project, the heart of which we have just exposed in the second part of this book, more than as improvements to be made to the current system , which, failing to properly take into account, at the level of its foundations, the implications of generalized nepotism, and cognitive dissonance, will not come out of its archaic status, whatever improvements will be made to it at the level of the upper floors .

This chapter approaches the concept of property from three angles: the property of the production tool, the inherited property, and finally the income from work.

Why limit the concentration of wealth?

We saw in Chapter 5 that the ideal of enlightenment included limiting the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This limit was jeopardized by the industrial revolution of the 19th century, which the Antitrust law in the United States aimed to partially counter by cutting out industrial empires that had become hegemonic, to prevent the power resulting from private property to become greater than that of the community. However, as Alain Supiot has shown, the path followed in the twentieth century was ultimately to accept the limitless concentration of economic power (1), and to cope with it, increase the size and power of federal states in the United States and Europe, ie a race for gigantism.
However, we also saw, still in chapter 5, that in a democracy, the excessive concentration of economic power leads at some point the people to vote for a populist seen as an - illusory - bulwark against the possessing minority not concerned by the people's daily lives difficulties. We are there all over the world.
Going up the chain of consequences, what is opposed to a return to a more reasonable size, is the current dogma of deregulated free trade on a world scale, which privileges the most powerful organizations. Let's go on. We need deregulated free trade, because we absolutely need growth, and therefore new markets to conquer. And finally, we need permanent growth to compensate for the permanent increase in our non-production workforce, seen in Chapter 2 under the name of Parkinson's law.
For educational purposes, let's list backward the chain of consequences: proliferation of non-production staff → need for growth → need for new outlets → deregulated globalization → gigantic companies → concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number → populist vote → inevitable dictatorial drift .
At what level do we decide to break this infernal chain? Environmentalists and alterglobalists wish to get out of the logic of growth. Alain Supiot wishes to limit the gigantic size of companies in accordance with the vision of lights. Thomas Piketty wishes to limit the concentration of wealth. Populists generally want to restore protectionism. We affirm that all of this is illusory, and that the link on which we must necessarily act is the first. This is the whole point of creating the organizations described in the second part of this book.
If we now approach the problem in the other direction; once we have decided to fight seriously against the proliferation of non-production personnel, do we need to do more? In particular, do we also need to limit the concentration of economic power by restricting access to property, and therefore freedom? In fact, once we have broken the chain of consequences that we have just described, then gigantism loses its raison d'être. However, the risk it poses to democracy does not disappear, so as the exacerbation of the internal struggle for power which it generates, therefore generalized nepotism, and the stress on individuals which results from it. In fact, there is no longer any reason to tolerate it.
This is also true of all the other links: once we have broken the infernal chain of consequences, both the end of the logic of growth, the limit set on the size of companies, and protectionism, become again evidence to ensure that progress benefits everyone. We will come back to this in Chapter 14 on ecology, and in Chapter 19 on world trade.

Property of the production tool

The ownership of the production tool is the aspect of ownership that is at the heart of Marx's work. Indeed, he is indignant that the industrial revolution caused the concentration of this property in a few hands, and thus created a new poverty class: that of the workers.

At the level of the ownership of the production tool, we are trying to get out of two extremes here. The extreme capitalist with large commercial enterprises on the one hand; the extreme collectivist on the other hand. We will first explain why these two positions are extreme, while in the West we often tend to think that only the second is.

Concerning the concept of commercial enterprise first of all, the limits of the power fixed to the capital are reduced to, on the one hand the obligation to respect the letter of the regulation, and on the other hand the constraint to earn money. However, this represents an excess of power on at least three points. First of all a company can take decisions contrary to the collective interest. Then, in a more subtle way, it can make decisions that will predictably lead to it's death, or it's poor health. An example is the excessive cost killer of certain buyers. Finally, in our very complex society, a business can use this complexity to knowingly circumvent the spirit of the law while respecting the letter. The Lehman Brothers case in the 2000s is a perfect illustration of this.

In a collectivized economy then, the limits imposed are limited to partially respecting the law, and having political support. Indeed, the power tilting de facto from capital to politics, companies tend to ensure their survival by means of political support, which promotes corruption, that is to say a law which is not equally applied to all.

Next, note that the fact of privatizing or nationalizing, which we tend to regard as the most revealing element of a political system, is not in fact significant in itself. What ultimately determines the functioning of social organization, and which we forget to highlight, is the governance of the production organizations put in place. However, the fact of privatizing or nationalizing does not mechanically induce a mode of governance which would be canonically associated with both. For example, when we nationalize, we can just as easily set up a political governance mode, as is the case in communist systems, as a rational governance mode, as we advocate.

It follows that in a modern, therefore complex society, the ownership of the production tool must above all be subject to good management, hence the operational control introduced in Chapter 11.
Once this quality is assured, it becomes obvious that the structuring companies, that is to say those which are above all prime contractors vis-à-vis subcontractors, must be nationalized in order to become organizations such as described in this book, because the social effect of their decisions is amplified.

We will see in chapter 17 dedicated to the financing of the activity how organizations can function without capital.

Inherited property

The system of regulation of inequalities that we will propose in chapter 16 is based on a wealth tax. Indeed, once one has set up a system which no longer requires private capital to finance the economy, then the notion of large fortunes becomes useless and morally questionable. So it makes more sense to tax wealth than income.

In addition, we will see, still in Chapter 16, that we propose to use the inheritance tax to ensure the balance of public accounts, that is to say to do away with what is called "state debt" at the start of the 21st century, and which in fact only results in an absurd way of counting things. Indeed, if a generation has made public debts because the state budget was not balanced year after year, then it can not transmit on one side to its direct descendants the heritage acquired in part thanks to this credit, and on the other to the community as a whole the corresponding debt. It is advisable at the time of the inheritance to make the reconciliation to transmit only the net result.

Income from work

It seems clear to us that if we combine robotics and degrowth, employment can no longer be the only source of income for the working classes. In fact, in Chapter 16 on tax and redistribution, we include a universal income system.

Conversely, the tax system that we will be proposing does not contain specific taxes on income from work, which is usually called social contributions and income tax. In fact, as we have just seen, it makes more sense to regulate over time with a wealth tax than to want to immediately take the fruits of the labor.
Furthermore, we are also not seeking to limit wage inequality by tax or law, because we believe that universal income is a mechanism which makes it possible to advantageously replace the concept of minimum wage, and that on the other hand, limiting the size of organizations, as discussed in Chapter 8, will effectively limit the highest wages.

Finally let us recall what we said in chapter 5 in the paragraph "A very brief history of humanity": the end of mass work is not a calamity, but a potential fruit of the acquisition of technological knowledge, which simply requires the adoption of a new social organization adapted to the new circumstances.
More precisely, a mental obstacle to be overcome is to see work as THE source of social integration, therefore by a mirroring effet, to see the end of universal work as a disintegration of society according to the adage "idleness is the mother of all vices". This fear is an undesirable effect of the philosophy of the Enlightenment who saw work as the means of emancipation, as we mentioned it in Chapter 5.
What is at stake is simply to gradually end alienation through work, that is to say gradually to end accepting social oppression in the workplace, just because you have to earn a living. Indeed, it is clear that even after more than a century of democracy, the objective of emancipation of the ideal of enlightenment, through the work, has never been achieved for the majority of the population, and will never be in a democratic capitalist system, because the stress on individuals, consequence of generalized nepotism, prevents it.
The organizations that we presented in the second part have two characteristics that promote fulfillment in the workplace. First of all, even when their reason for being is not gratifying, the methods of distributing power limits the stress linked to the generalized nepotism seen in Chapter 2. Then, the organizations that we propose unify the notion of commercial enterprise, administration and association, so that they will allow the evolution towards more gratifying reasons to be as progress progresses.


The threshold of reasonableness is exceeded with the introduction of the concept 'Too big to fail' which changes the companies of nature: the profits are always private, but the possible losses will be collectivized.