Human organizations that mirror SAFE?
The SAFE principle of Secure Access of Everyone is clearly an anti-lock out principle that matches the net neutrality principle at the heart of the current internet’s development. But in SAFE it takes it a step beyond the decentralized, but increasingly centralized, internet to a fully distributed format. SAFE means we will have distributed communications. We might say its bottom up because it’s so horizontal.
In our economic systems we’ve tried capitalism, socialism and socialized capitalism. They are all top down systems. In the early days of the US Jefferson suggested that we decentralize our political and economic power into as diverse a local base as possible. Economically we haven’t followed that suggestion and we’ve suffered. In line with this we really don’t have this distributed decentralized power in most of our work places. But we could have this power and I think we want it much more than efficiency and effectiveness, although I am aware of research that says we can have both.
I am still learning about such organizations but if I had to lay out one today it would be as follows:
Such organizations are fully employee owned. Managers and executives do not own stock or options. They do not sit on other boards or end up on the organization’s board or work for other firms. They get the same benefits as everyone else including a straight pay-as-you-go (not investment based) percentage of salary at retirement. If an employee becomes a manager they divest their company stock upon doing so. In a sense managers/executives are the only employees in the firm so becoming a manager is not actually a promotion, it’s a career change.
Boards are composed of pensioners. Board members cannot delegate responsibilities to management. Board members do not sit on other boards or own stock (outside the company) or options (even within the company.) Like other members, their stock cashes out / divests back to current/new members when they and their spouse die. Company stock can’t be inherited, it can only be sold back to other employees. Board members get the same benefits and retirement arrangement as any other member, a straight percentage of salary which the firms pays as it goes- non investment based. Board members are long term employees, no early retirement exceptions. Members (not managers/execs) vote the board members in with staggered terms. Rank and file members are barred from investing in competitors. Vestment is at five years.
If these are converted organizations they de-list from the stock exchanges and become privately held by their members/employees, outsiders cannot purchase stock. These organizations may seek unions with a similar make up or a Union that is not owned by anyone but member controlled. Labor could help convert media organizations into a similar format. Such media organizations would only take money from their legitimate end user customer/citizen base in a numerically proportionate way equivalent to a uniform subscription, no donations etc.
These organizations would bank with credit unions or similar co-operative structures. This is democracy in the work place. Concerns about such organizations competitiveness, resilience, and responsiveness to customers have been dis-proven. Such organizations as they spread would divest the public stock market reducing dangerous speculation and such organizations channel much more income to the middle class.
To me SAFE is the essence of power sharing, empowerment and democracy. It also helps disentangle our human conflicts of interest and preserves our vital privacy and security. I do believe it should inspire similar structures in the human organizations it touches.