The Triviality of Capital Ownership

William S. Lear rael at
Wed Dec 16 08:45:43 PST 1998

On Wed, December 16, 1998 at 06:14:19 (EST) boddhisatva writes:
> To whom..,

If you want to respond to me, at least bother to use my name.

> "Another drone with stock"- Oh sure, we're all brothers with two
>chickens in every pot and every man a king. The Great American
>self-delusion lives on. What about drones without stock? Isn't their
>position just a touch different?

I meant what I wrote quite seriously. My stock ownership confers absolutely no privileges in the workplace for me, partly by my own choice (I could have gone into "management", but I did not). Aside from that, I own too little stock to have any real control. Also, most of the other workers at least have stock options --- in fact I know of none who have none, though I'm not familiar with the management, sales, and marketing side of things. I work as a programmer. I work very long hours just as the others do (I'm also "on call" 24 hours a day, 365 days a year should our software go wonky and need attention). I get no "extra" benefits, aside from the value I impart to any future sale of the stock. My solidarity, my identification, is with the other programmers. I sit in a communal "bull-pen", again by choice, and not in a fancy office. Many other workers with less "seniority" have much nicer working spaces than I do.

At work, I proposed a plan to implement a democratic approach to management, against the desires of management, and most certainly against the desires of the large institutional investors. Unfortunately, my plan was not adopted, though I have been partly successful, if I do say so myself, in keeping management hierarchy largely out of the programming side of things.

My point was that I was willing to sacrifice what Max seems to claim is the overriding human virtue, viz, the quest for money, in return for providing workers at our company the opportunity to have a real life outside of work. I've read Schor's *Overworked American* and take it seriously, you know, as it confirms my beliefs that we spend vastly too much time working and too little time creating real communities outside of work.

In the future, before you ignorantly credit someone with "self-delusion", you should perhaps know the facts of the case.


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