I recently came to the rather depressing realisation that not only do the capitalist class own the capital, they also own the future profits of the working class. What I mean is this: the simplified "fair price" of a company would be the net asset value plus the present value of the expected future profit as extracted from labour. There is an analogy: A slave is told that he can buy his freedom. But what is a fair price for a slave? It's the present value of all the slave-labour he can perform in a lifetime. So the slave takes out a debt, buys his freedom, and then must work his lifetime as a slave to pay off the debt... Similarly, if the workers of a capitalist company wanted to buy it and convert it to a co-op, the fair price would be the net asset value plus the present value of (their own!) future profit. In effect, the capitalist can either extract the profit from the worker over the life of the company, or he can sell that profit to the workers up front! To me this is quite a conundrum. Is there a way out of this?
Worker Cooperative Conversions
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