Post-capitalistic Free Market Society, How Can US Be Rescued (Part V) – Economy, Work and Retirement

Here is how a technological democratic society operates. We will be looking into the application of equality of opportunity in four areas of capital, labor, state and technology. This is the heart of democracy, because, there cannot be any kind of real democracy without having economic democracy.A. CapitalTo democratize the ownership of capital, the principle of equality of opportunity prohibits unjust enrichment. It simply means that no person receives property without giving in return a comparable compensation. This is known as the principle of unjust enrichment. Its application establishes the property ownership and relationship in a democratic society with the following consequences:1. Inheritance. Inheritance is the highest cause of inequality of opportunity. It leads to class stratification. It is the first factor in creating an unjust society. Since anything received through inheritance is free and without comparable compensation, it amounts to an unjust enrichment. If it elevates the opportunity of the beneficiaries to the extent that it creates unequal opportunities, it cannot be allowed under the principle of equality of opportunity. The proceeds from inheritance go into the Public Consumption Fund, a public organization, to be spent in providing vital services to society such as education and health care. The result is that as the rich individuals die, their wealth, to the extent allowed by the principle of equality of opportunity, is transferred to this organization and used for public good. Gradually wealthy families, which enjoyed a very high opportunity under capitalism, disappear while their riches are used to enrich and enlighten the masses as a whole. In a span of a few decades, society ceases to have any super rich. The ruling capitalist elite dies and with it disappears its dominating economic and political powers.Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution embodies the concept of equality of opportunity. It only needs to be specified to apply to economic and social aspects of life. The process of transition will be peaceful. It requires Congress to propose a proper amendment to the U.S. Constitution clarifying the application of equality of opportunity to economic, political an social aspects of life. Since the amendment, if ratified, would prohibit inheritance, for the stage of transition, Congress should specify a figure for maximum inheritance such as $5 million. This will insure the ratification of the amendment since only 0.7percent of population has wealth in excess of this amount. The result will be equalization of the wealth within the limit of $5 million. Decades later when minimum national inheritance level will increase disparity will be negligible or may be readjusted then to guarantee full equality of opportunity. [1]2. Profits. As presented before, as globalization progresses, free trade market economy causes the kind of keen competition that continually cuts down the profit margin leading to its virtual elimination.[2] The profit motive remains still there but rarely materialized. At this stage, estimated to materialize in four to five decades, the society’s levers of power- the multinational corporations, the military and their politician and bureaucrat supporters and collaborators- are eliminated from power status. By the coordinated efforts of local groups all over the country, equality of opportunity prevails, the economy and social structure are reconstructed for efficiency and justice. The production in a cooperative way focuses primarily on people’s primary needs. Every able person participates whether in neighborhoods, communities or work places. People work for a few hours a day having ample time free for leisure, art, music and other creative work and enjoyment.3. Labor. Regarding labor and workforce, there is a very basic distinction between capitalism and technological democracy. Under capitalism, the capitalist controls land, capital and technology, and employs labor from the market. Under technodemocratic economy, the workers own and control the capital and all other means of production. The principle of equality of opportunity controls the process of ownership of capital and prescribes its democratization. It materializes the total private ownership of the means of production and distribution to the extent never achieved before. It prescribes that the ownership of capital be gradually and systematically transferred from the capitalist to the workers. For clarification, it must be noted that the term worker in this concept embodies any person working for the capitalist from top management and professionals down to the unskilled workers. Under this concept, while each worker receives a regular wage, he is also given a certain specified amount of shares of the firm where he works. Thus from the time he receives his first pay, he starts to become a part owner of the firm. As the years pass, the worker continues to accumulate capital and increase his share of ownership. As the big capitalists die, their share of stocks revert to the Public Consumption Fund and from there is placed in the stock market for sale. These shares are purchased by different institutions, public institutions in particular, and gradually transferred to the workers including public employees along with their monthly pay. Some is also purchased by individual. [3]After four or five decades, the capitalist class as we know today, disappears and the ownership as well as control of capital and production firms become wholly transferred to a new capitalist class the same as the working class. From there on as the retired workers die, their share of stocks go to the Public Consumption Fund and placed in stock market and finally purchased by different institutions and gradually transferred to the new generation of workers along with their pay. For the shares that each worker owns, he receives dividend which continues to increase as he continues to accumulate more and more stocks. Each worker is entitled to full benefit of ownership of his stocks except that they are not transferable to others but can be exchanged with other non-transferable stocks of other institutions on the stock market for the purpose of diversification of their ownership. This non-transferability of the stocks is prescribed by the principle of equality of opportunity and, as it will be presented later on, income from these stocks takes the place of social security and old age benefits for the owner during the retirement period since under technological democracy there are no public welfare programs such as social security, medicare or food-stamps or else. Health care and education are the only programs available free for all, funded by the Public Consumption Fund and not the government.4. Position Classification. Position classification is a technology developed for organizing, classification and equalization of similar positions. It describes the responsibilities of each position and corresponding financial compensation range. Under this technology, positions are classified vertically as well as horizontally. This system is applied nationally and universally to all available positions. Horizontal positions are those requiring similar levels of skills to carry out job requirements. However, these positions may not be similar in the kind of functions and skills they require. For example, medical doctors, lawyers, and top administrators all require a high level of professional skill, while functionally they are quite different from one another. They may be placed horizontally in one category and entitled to the same range of compensation. The same applies to clerical or other class of worker. Vertical positions are classified from the lowest to the highest.Technology of position classification was created primarily for the purpose of increasing and controlling productivity as well as providing equitable pay systems, similar pays for similar jobs. This technology is not new; it has been used in every industrialized society by its public sector and by all major, medium size and some small private institutions. However, each institution has its own independent position classification and corresponding pay system. The national government, each state government, major city governments and giant corporations each has a position classification of its own. There is no uniformity among these systems and there are injustices. Furthermore, a great variety of small businesses do not have a classification system yet these are the institutions employing the majority of the working class people who are not subject to any standard of pay and are generally exploited. Under technological democracy all these systems are brought under one umbrella with the same standards of positions and corresponding pay system. However, such a monumental classification is not done in detail by a central office. This would be an impossible task. The national government through the Position Classification and Pay Commission, a branch of the National Economic Council, establishes a general classification of positions, a system somehow similar to the present national classification. Then it requires each institution , private or public, large or small, to establish its own position classification and pay system within the framework established by the national classification and pay system. A copy of this classification by each firm is entered in Technodem website available to everyone including every employee in the institution. The Technodem will check this classification against the national system and will inform the institution about discrepancies for correction, if any. This classification is put into operation by the corresponding institution until it is objected by the Technodem or the regional classification council.[4]The systems are reviewed each year by each institution as new technologies develop, certain positions are abandoned, new positions are created or functions of some positions are modified or changed. Position classification under one national model system has several benefits.1. It harmonizes and standardizes all available positions, private or public.2. It equalizes the pay system, similar pay for similar jobs, regardless of race, color, sex or whether a worker is a union member,3. It eliminates the union bargaining and thus eliminate unionization for economic purposes.4. It simplifies position and pay classification at the institutional level following a standardized and updated national model.5. It democratizes the work system by providing equality of opportunity in similar positions with similar pay.6. It allows regional agencies, through Technodem technology, to supervise the proper and uniform application of national standards.7. It allows discretion in each institution to proceed with its own position and pay classification.8. It gives each employee an opportunity to evaluate his position requirement and pay level in comparison with the national standards and, in the case of discrepancy, petition first his institution and then file his petition with the Technodem which will examine the complaint instantaneously and respond to it. If the institution did not resolve the issue according to the Technodem advice, he then can petition the regional classification council which will usually go along with the Technodem finding. By this way position classification in each institution is scrutinized by its employees and brought to the level prescribed by the national standards.5. Shared Opportunity and Full Employment. This is a very important principle of democratic employment opportunity. The application of the principle of equality of opportunity requires that those having a higher level of employment opportunity share it with those lacking such opportunity at the same position level. This refers in particular to unemployed workers seeking employment. Of course, at every skill level, those employed have a higher opportunity than those unemployed. The principle of shared opportunity is employed to equalize the situation. It requires that those who have employment, in order to provide for equality of opportunity, forgo a small part of their employment opportunity by giving up a small part of their work, say one hour per week, and thus provide employment opportunity for their unemployed fellows.For example, if there is a 100 million work force and each worker gives up one hour of his weekly work, nationwide 100 million work-hours amounting to 2.5 million full time positions will become available to those unemployed or new comers. [5] It needs to be noticed that unemployment in technological democracy has a different character. Everyone starts working part-time when he reaches 15 years of age and completes his professional or technical education while working. So work under technological democracy has a transitory character and is an individual right. Sharing opportunities provides for continuous employment, causing stability in the market and thus eliminates a major cause of recession by providing job security for working years. The inflationary process will also be prevented since there will be no monopoly firms, no price increase to maximize profits. Giant corporations will automatically divided into many smaller firms, and competition in the market will be tense, more realistic and free. This decentralization and dispersal will take place because once workers receive controlling shares of a giant firm they will tend to eliminate the superstructure of the corporate bureaucracy which did not produce anything and had also lost its unproductive use. Then, workers’ desire to have voice in the production process will tend toward dismantling the giant corporation into smaller entities in which the policy-makers will be directly attached to the operation of production and each worker can feel his voice and power over his institution. The same will happen to the branches or affiliated firms abroad. They would want to be independent especially when the superstructure in domestic country becomes abolished. Thus the era of giant multinational corporations will become history as a stage of transition from monopolistic international capitalism to competitive technodemocratic economy. The old motto that “small is beautiful, controllable, more democratic,” will become materialized.6. Old Age Benefits: Unlike the welfare programs instituted under the existing capitalistic and socialistic systems, there will be no retirement or general welfare programs under the technological democracy. First, each individual will start part time work at the age of fifteen. His income from the work will be sufficient to pay for his living expenditures, since he will have no education expenses because it will be free for everyone at all levels. By the age 21 he will finish his college education (exceeding in value over an M.A. degree at the present) and will be employed full time. Each individual will be required to work for at least 30 years in order to provide a sustained and sufficient income for his old age period. It is estimated that if each worker receive the company stock equal to 25% of his pay, after 30 years, when he retires at the age 52, he will accumulate enough capital from the stocks and their accumulated returns to receive an income of around $30,000 to live modestly but comfortably considering that health care and education will be free and individual taxes will be very small. Most of taxes will be collected from production firms. However, while the individual retires from the official workforce, he does not retire personally. Being only 52 years old he has many years of active life to contribute and be productive in social, political and economic fields. These could be either voluntary or income producing. This retirement after 30 years of service is mandatory in order to maintain equality of opportunity in workplace, and in no way deprives individuals from pursuing productive activities of their liking. It has also several important benefits: first, it provides vacancies to new workers entering the market, second, provides the retired workers with many years enjoyable and intellectually productive life; third, provides for participation in the political process where required qualifications for election is high and the service is temporary. At retirement, each individual would possess knowledge in humanities and social sciences far above the present Ph.D. level as a result of over thirty years of continuous graduate education, making him highly qualified to hold public or elective offices. Beside this, every person has also over Ph.D. level knowledge in his technical or professional field.[6]Thus this required retirement is technical rather than real. The individual who is highly educated and experienced at this stage of life, may get engaged in many different kinds of work such as art, music, creative writing, counseling, political or economic activities individually or in partnership with other retired persons. Since top policy making positions in regional and national government are temporary with four to six year terms, it will be an excellent opportunity for the post-retirement life. Under technological democracy the individual worker is made responsible to hold and take care of his own retirement stocks. That is why the stocks he receives monthly from his firm are non-transferable, while he can exercise all other benefits of ownership including annual returns from them during his lifetime. Particularly, that working people would be hesitant to run for political offices since this would interrupt their working process and financially have negative effect on their future promotions as well as their retirement benefits.
.References:1.Reza Rezazadeh, Technological Democracy: A Humanistic philosophy of the Future Society, 1990, pp. 192-1942. —————-, “Globalization and the End of Capitalism,” http://www.democracywhere.com also in http://www.ezinearticles.com3.—————-, Technological Democracy, opp. cited, pp.194-1984.—————-, Technodemocratic Economic Theory: From Capitalism and Socialism to Democracy, 1991, pp. 184-186. http://www.democracywhere.com5.Ibid., pp.186-188, 205, 235.6. Ibid., pp. 188-190, 219.Dr. Reza Rezazadeh1080 Eastman Street, Platteville, WI 53818Phone: (608)348-7064

5 Insightful Travel Tips for Your Holiday Break

The year has caught on already, so thinking about your annual leave, however far off that may be, is completely justified. The pressures of career work and domestic responsibilities are draining, and holiday breaks help us rediscover whatever energies we might have lost.Travelling is perhaps the best thing you can do when you have a couple of weeks off from work. There are significant emotional and psychological benefits gained from it. You learn more about yourself, and you are able to appreciate the immensity of the planet.Travel has evolved with the times, and now it’s much more convenient. The interconnectivity of the globe is to thank for this expediency. There are of course some less desirable changes that will occur this year- such as the elevated air fair prices and the increased costs of hotel accommodation. But the gains made far outweigh these trivial disadvantages. Here are 5 travel tips that will make your traveling more enjoyable and comfortable.Plan Ahead
The better you plan, the greater the chances of your vacation going well. Planning enables you to have an objective look at your finances, and this helps you know what you can afford and what you cannot. It doesn’t matter how many months precede your travel; start making the plans on paper right away.Use Technology
Unless you plan on travelling off the grid, make use of technology to serve you. There are many travel apps to help you plan an itinerary, and many applications that can help you overcome the challenges of travel such as currency exchange rates, local languages, points of interest, accommodation and so on.Use Low Cost Carriers
Unless your flight is across continents, opt for low cost carriers. They have their shortcomings and inconveniences, but the savings they make you are significant enough to offset these other concerns.Don’t Go It Alone
A sunset is never quite as beautiful when you watch it alone. For travel, you need someone to share the adventures with. Besides, you’ll find awesome deals for couples, so there really isn’t any good reason to go it alone.Remember the Stills
Every moment you experience in your travel is a moment you will want to hold on to. Most mid-segment to high end phones offer enough in terms of photography and should suffice for quick snaps. But for the best photos, consider a DSLR. The resolution achieved by these is always more desirable.Stick to these tips and your 2014 holiday travel plans should unfold nicely.

With Counterfeiting on the Rise, Brand Security Plays a Vital Role to Both Large and Small Brands

According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce®, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes of modern time. Once a cottage industry, counterfeiting has become a sophisticated network of organized crime, accounting for 5 to 7 percent of world trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year.

Until relatively recently, the black and grey market economies did not pose a significant threat to brand owners. The black market operates illegally outside government-sanctioned channels with the buying and selling of goods and services, while commodities in the grey market are distributed legally, but through channels that are unauthorized by the original manufacturer-commonly referred to as diversion. Customers who would frequently shop in one of these two markets now have the ability to browse the Internet for the same products, posing an even deeper threat to a brand’s reputation and integrity, impacting the world’s biggest brands and smaller brands alike.

With the growth of global brands and the Internet, brand owners face threats from counterfeiters and brand pirates who are attempting to generate large profits by illegally producing credible look-a-like products to sell at deeply discounted prices. Brand owners are being forced to take a closer look at their supply chains and police the whereabouts and authenticity of their products at all times.

In the past, such luxury and high-end goods as designer clothes and accessories, spirits and perfumes, were most likely to be counterfeited. However, times have changed with technological advancements in digital imaging, cameras, scanners, artwork software, color and inkjet printers, aiding counterfeiters and brand pirates to generate a profit from any branded item-pharmaceuticals, electronics, software, cigarettes, hardware and food items like baby formula. Even automobile and aircraft parts are being counterfeited. It has been reported that the majority of counterfeited goods are coming from China, North Korea, Taiwan, India, Russia and parts of Africa.

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has led to extreme outcomes, including consumer fatalities, which illustrates the importance of brand security. The Food and Drug Administration saw an 800 percent increase in the number of new pharmaceutical counterfeit cases between 2000 and 2006. According to The Lancet*, the world’s leading general medical journal, counterfeit pharmaceuticals will generate $75 billion in revenues in 2011, a 92-percent increase from 2005.

Taking a Defensive Stand
Diversion, pirating and counterfeiting not only have a negative impact on the revenues and profitability of legitimate companies, but they also impact the credibility and reputation of a brand. Counter measures against these practices must be taken throughout the supply chain-from the brand owner, supplier and distributor to the wholesaler, retailer and ultimately, the consumer.

It’s crucial that brand owners stay attuned to brand security in today’s market and become familiar with the array of available anti-counterfeiting solutions. Ignoring the importance of brand security is not an option, because once the damage is done, the cost to repair it can be far in excess of what it would have cost to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To ensure their customers only receive the highest quality and safest products, brand owners have a broad range of anti-counterfeiting solutions at their disposal to protect their brand positioning and brand promise.

It’s recommended that brand owners ask themselves the following questions before implementing a brand protection strategy:

1. What level of security-low, medium or high-do we want to build into our packaging design?
2. Do we want to check for counterfeiting at the shelf or at the warehouse? Do we want our customers to be able to check for counterfeiting at the point-of-purchase by using a visible authentication feature?
3. How much do we want to invest in brand security?
4. How are we going to ensure consistency of our brand security on a global level?

Pressure-sensitive technology is versatile. It enables intricate designs and complex die-cuts, creating labels that jump from the shelf. But even more so, the array of materials, when combined with special printing techniques, can become a metaphor for the product itself.

Layered Protection
With threats to brand security rapidly growing, the need to differentiate fake products from genuine ones is increasing, as well as the need for more advanced authentication technologies that thwart counterfeiters. However, it’s important that brand owners understand that even the most sophisticated anti-counterfeiting solutions on their own cannot prevent counterfeiting 100 percent, but can signal an alert when a threat exists and thereby encourage action to be taken.

In recent years, anti-counterfeiting measures have become increasingly complex and bolstered by the installment of different layers of security. Many of today’s technologies are used in conjunction with other security features that work in concert to heighten the overall level of protection. For example, a low-level of anti-counterfeit technology that is visible to the consumer is combined with a high-level security feature containing a covert or forensic technology. The more layers of security a brand owner applies, the more difficult it becomes for their brand to fall victim to counterfeiting, pirating or diversion.

The most common anti-counterfeiting technologies employed by brand owners include:

1. Overt technology: This level of protection is visible to the naked eye, and allows the brand to be authenticated without the need of a special inspection tool. Overt technology offers only basic protection against counterfeiting, whereby:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-watermarks, paper color or visible fibers embedded in the paper.
ii. Security threads-threads are embedded in the paper and are made of a film, making a label hard to copy.
iii. Two- or three-dimensional holograms-standard holograms are used mainly for decorative purposes, but customized holograms can be powerful tools in security applications.
iv. Tamper-evident films, paper and voids-destructible/frangible films, papers and void materials show destruction upon tampering. Void labels leave a customized “VOID” alpha numeric or geometrical-shape message on the substrate when the label is removed.

2. Covert technology: The security device is not visible to the naked eye, but can be detected by a low-cost inspection tool, such as an UV light, magnifying glass or plastic film overlay. The type of tool depends on the specific protection technology used. Covert technology is an advanced level of protection with hard-to-copy security features and some level of personalization:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-UV luminescent fibers embedded in the paper, chemical protection or verification with a special reactant pen.
ii. Non-visible security threads. Customized security threads can contain ultraviolet (UV) reflection and microprints.
iii. UV prints-various colors and designs can be printed in the laminate of a facestock or liner. Standard and customized UV prints are available.
iv. Infrared (IR) taggants-can be applied randomly in the paper, a self-adhesive laminate or in a custom spectrum that works as a unique signature. IR readers can be tailored to match the custom spectrum, giving off a signal when the right taggant percentages are detected. Uniquely encoded, IR taggants are virtually impossible to duplicate.
v. Inorganic taggants-can be added to inks, coatings, varnishes, adhesives, plastics, etc. Authenticity is confirmed using a special reader that gives off signals when a particular taggant is detected.

3. Forensic technology: These security devices are not visible to the naked eye, are hidden within the product and require laboratory analysis for authentication. Forensic technology is the highest level of protection from unique and personalized security features:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. DNA taggants-microscopic or nano materials that are uniquely encoded for a brand. Provides a forensic chain of evidence that is trusted by police and recognized by courts globally. Large botanical DNA is acquired and then segmented, shuffled and reassembled to form a unique secure signature DNA marker that becomes patented technology. DNA taggants cannot be counterfeited, digitally copied, scanned or re-engineered.

To effectively deploy one of these technologies requires close collaboration between the brand owner and technology supplier.

Brand security is an investment that directly impacts the bottom-line for a consumer packaged goods company. It does this by protecting the brand from counterfeiting and diversion. And it also protects the brand owner from potential liabilities should a counterfeit product result in a consumer injury. Due diligence to protect your brand is a vital strategy that cannot be overlooked.

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