How are positions like a clerk paid good in a worker coop?

How are positions that are usually paid through the surplus labor of others paid a good salary in a worker coop? Do they and the workers just agree on a reward, etc?

Official response from submitted

In a capitalist enterprise, the surplus produced by "productive workers" (those engaged in directly producing the commodity sold by the enterprise) - the difference between what their labor adds to what the employer sells and what the employer pays to them as a wage - is appropriated by the employer. That employer then decides what other workers - those who provide the necessary conditions for the productive workers to perform their tasks (e.g. a clerk) - should be employed and uses the surplus from the productive workers to pay them. The employer then "negotiates" with such other workers over the conditions and payments for such work. On a worker coop, the capitalist "middleman" - namely the employer - is removed. In a worker coop, the productive workers themselves occupy both the position of productive worker but also, collectively, the position of employer. Thus the productive workers and the other workers together decide on/negotiate the conditions of and payments out of surplus for that other work. Since both productive and other workers need and depend on each other, a democratic process of making all enterprise decisions best reproduces the worker coop model of enterprise organization.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-01-25 12:31:18 -0500
  • Zach Campbell
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-01-24 08:39:55 -0500