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Forum Post: Inventing your way out of a wet paper bag

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 7, 2012, 5:23 p.m. EST by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I can't help but think that there is no way out of the corrupt system we have unless we make WallSt obsolete. The only way I can think of to do that is to invent all publicly traded companies out of existence. A series of inventions to update and or simply replace every product under every publicly traded company. These replacements could all or mostly be co-ops as to actually fix the problem and not just shift it.

It may sound difficult but I don't really think it's a matter of difficulty. rather it's the lack of a road map.

39 Comments

39 Comments


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[-] 2 points by engineer4 (352) 1 year ago

Are you promoting end of patents and copyrights? Remember that public traded companies have a lot of employees that you would be eliminating, including many that are unionized. It is not the public traded companies, but the actual trading of the large blocks of shares and debt instruments that is the issue. Your throwing out the baby with the bath.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5866) 2 years ago

FreeDA/CES

The FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service is the 501(c)4 organization that would assess the skills of the unemployed individuals to patronize it and match them with a suggested cooperative business plan. Upon acceptance or rejection of the plan for an alternative plan, the FreeDA/CES would facilitate the crowdfunding of the new cooperative business. Of course, each municipality of cooperative communities should have their own branch of a nationwide Cooperative Credit Union to handle both cooperative and personal accounts. With the FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service and FreeDA Cooperative Credit Union established nationwide, the unemployed of each city would be consistently channeled into either newly or already established worker-owner cooperatives, modifying the economic well-being of society at a fundamental level.

Moving Forward

So, who should champion the various causes of FreeDA? College students affiliated with http://www.uspirg.org/ the Public Interest Research Groups http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Interest_Research_Group are the only individuals to have the organizational history, academic resources, and activist drive to actually see it through. Without an interest from such students, it's doubtful anyone else will ever take up the cause for FreeDA. After all, "None are more hopelessly enslaved http://occupywallst.org/forum/none-are-more-hopelessly-enslaved-than-those-who-f/ than those who falsely believe they are free."

http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

Sounds great. But I've checked, it doesn't exist yet. Move forward on it then.

Forming a corporation is a snap -- it'll take you about 15 minutes on the internet, and cost about $100. Getting 501(c)(3) status will take a while -- you have to fill out some paperwork, send it in and wait on the IRS to respond -- but it's free, and you'll almost certainly get your 501(c)(3) status. Open up a bank account at the local credit union and you're in business.

There are several crowdfunding web sites like Kickstarter out there that are already well-known, and OWS can publicize these start-ups on its site to its constituency; so you've got your funding infrastructure in place already. You'd have to be creative with how you remunerate investors, since you can't sell shares or other securities via crowdfunding, but you could provide goods or services on a quid pro quo basis like other crowdfunded startups do.

All of that is quite simple to achieve, and doesn't even require much work. I could have it done in an evening, working alone. All someone needs to do is identify opportunities for worker-owned cooperatives, put the ideas up on Kickstarter and start matching workers to them. And of course, the workers, as owners, have to set up and run a business. Make a deal with your startups that if they are successful, they'll make a donation to your 501(c)(3) and you've even got your future funding set. All of it could be commenced on a small, local scale, starting with a single cooperative employing a handful of workers. And all for a startup cost well south of $200.

So is anyone actually moving forward on doing any of this?

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5866) 1 year ago

No. I've suggested that the PIRGs be enlisted to organize CES but as far as OWS is concerned, there seems to be no interest in even that. After all, it wouldn't be a protest, it would actually be doing something for people instead of complaining about the establishment not doing anything for people.

[-] 3 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

I thought not. As for OWS, that's to be expected. No one here is actually interested in doing much of anything. It's all just idle talk, or fantasies about brave new worlds, with not a clue about how to get there. They want the workers' cooperatives to sprout up magically, like Jack's beanstalk. Actually getting down in the muck and doing the heavy hauling and making something happen is much too mundane for the deep thinkers and profound intellects around here.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

Wow what a well assembled and compelling comment. Thx for the reply fo sho! ^

[-] 2 points by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

I don't think it's that intractable. 80% of investment is second order or higher levels of abstraction that have nothing to do with tangible products. It's the parasitic abstract operations like banking and the rest of finance [FIRE], trading and brokering that are the most [self] destructive. If the people can't take over such non productive services and do them on a non profit basis to reduce their cost and the damage they do, we can demand that the profit be taxed out of them and used to compensate the victims. We the people and our government are the victims of the Wall St parasites.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

That sounds like playing games and spinning wheels. Without a profitable products, those publicly traded companies do not exist to be traded, regardless of layers and other irrelevant nonsense that is proprietary to the system this post seeks to replace. Banking is in the process of building it's own demise. There needs to be some focus on the rest of it.

[-] 1 points by agkaiser (1307) from Fredericksburg, TX 2 years ago

You don't need to rely on how your gut feels or sounds. You can look up the percentage of non productive service and finance and see what's really going on, if you want to know.

[-] -1 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

If you ever opened or ran a business, you'd quickly discover that banking and finance are important tools. You need money to open a business and run it until it becomes profitable, and thereafter, you'll need money at various times for expansion and many other things. Both you and your employees will depend upon the availabity of capital; and money doesn't fall from the sky, so if you can't fund it all out of your own pocket, you'll find a bank or venture capitalist a very valuable ally.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

My question are you saying that publicly traded companies would be illegal

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

I'm saying that speculative trade adds a layer of demand that effects prices with no increase or decrease in the demand of the actual product. Speculative trade is legalized embezzlement from the greater public with no justification in economic theory.

[-] 1 points by DanielBarton (1345) 1 year ago

well ok i would have to see some evidence to support that claim

the real point of stock is to get capital from investors and use it towards the company. The idea is each time you buy stock is you lend them money they use the money to get what they want then they pay off dividends

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

In stead of starting from scratch,
why not do what 80% of Americans already want?
How many movements start with that power?

sever the connection between crapitalism & democracy
corporations are not bad - or evil - or people
corporations do what WE LET THEM DO
and WE are at fault!

sever the connection between crapitalism & democracy

one tiny example-
if oil companies could not bribe government, how would they frack?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Incredibly difficult proposition to even replace one product.

The better way is to boycott the products whose profits influence Congress such as those manufactured by Koch industries. Products that are not union made and stores that are not unionized such as Walmart, McDonalds, Etc. Products that are overpriced such as breakfast cereals. A one pound box contains less than 15 cents of grain, but costs $3 a box or more.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

15 cents of grain...

+harvesting machines+gasoline+transport+storage+processing machines+testing+electric and water and environmental issues+ packaging+meeting FDA requirements+licensing+plant facilities+advertising+transport+workers wages in all of the above....etc.

Question is, can you turn 15 cents worth of grain into a box of cereal for me for less than $3?

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Um.....

Total cost prior to advertising an profit is $1.44-(not less than a dollar) The book is nearly 13 years old. The price of grain has nearly triple since 2000. http://www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/manage/uspricehistory/USPrice.asp

Profit from the cereal according to your article was "$.93 cents and advertising was $1.09. If you subtract all the profit and give it to your laborers, (instead of the big bad evil 1%) you'll still need to advertise your product-especially so people will know where to buy cereal produced by a "collective/socialist type company" and you'll STILL be selling a box of cereal for more than $3.00

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Total cost of manufacture was 76 cents. Store stocking cost of 68 cents is not part of manufacturing cost. Current cost of manufacture is still under a buck a box.

The grain cost of 9 cents has not tripled since 2000. Wheat is 16 cents a pound currently. Corn about 14 cents.

My favorite cereal is a raisin almond granola I buy at the local grocery store for $1.68 a pound. You have to fill it into a plastic bag from a bin. Comparable name brand cereal in a 10 cent box is more than double the price.

Oats 12 cents a pound. Raisins 95 cents a pound. Almonds 1.70 a pound.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Below are the commodities prices with history: Wheat http://www.mongabay.com/images/commodities/charts/wheat.html Corn http://www.mongabay.com/images/commodities/charts/maize.html Rice http://www.mongabay.com/images/commodities/charts/rice.html

The cereal you purchase from a "bin" costs less because it required less machinery, less labor, less packaging, less time than the cereal in the box.

They are most likely manufactured by the exact same company. If you want to boycott the companies that make the cereal, you can't purchase the cereal from the "bin" either. What you're really boycotting is the box and advertising, not the actual product.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Your wheat chart shows a max price of 14.8 cents a pound. This is consistent with the prices I've already quoted.

Cereal put in a box does not double the price. It adds another 15 cents.

There are over 100 cereal manufacturers, not just the big four, Kelloggs, General Mills, Post, and Quaker Oats. Of those four, only General Mills has any significant influence through political donations and lobbying.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000467

I might take a look next I shop and see who manufactures my cereal. I would bet it's not made by the big four.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

The chart shows the INCREASE in price between 2000 and 2012.

The BOX costs 15 cents, but those boxes are folded, glued and sealed by machines. The liner inside the boxes are inserted an sealed by machines, and the cereal is put in the liner by machines. The cost of those machines, the electricity to run them, maintenance on them, and overseeing of them by employees COSTS MONEY.

You can PAY workers to do those things, but you'll increase the cost of the end product if you pay your workers a lot to do it.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

There's no link to a chart.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

http://www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/manage/uspricehistory/us_price_history.html

I entered: Wheat Marketing Year Average Price 2000 2011 (no info for 2012 yet) And Chart

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

About 2.60 a bushel to 5.50 a bushel from 2000 to 2011, or 4 cents to 9 cents a pound. This the farm price. What the cereal companies actually pay is higher because of the speculators and middlemen.

http://www.barchart.com/commodityfutures/Grains

December Wheat at 8.60 a bushel is 14 cents a pound.

[-] 2 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

More than double the price. If the cereal company paid 9 cents for the grain it used in a box of cereal in 2000, they paid 19-22 cents for it in 2011.

What is the point of discussing this further?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

The article does not say which grain the cereal was made from. So your assumption is incorrect. Wheat, corn, oats and rice are the most common grains and their prices all fluctuate independently.

The point is cereal can be priced much lower and still make a profit. The fact that they spend a third of the store price on advertising proves that.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

You're right. And it IS priced much lower if you purchase it the way you do. Good luck selling a lot of your cereal when no one knows you're making it, or where they can buy it, or why they should want it in the first place.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

"Somehow that cereal manufacturer sells to my supermarket cereal for 1.68 a pound without any advertising directed to the consumer and makes a profit."

How do you know? Have you investigated the company that makes your cereal? How much is their profit? Are they a co-op company? If not, are they paying their workers above minimum wage? Can they afford to? Are they connected to or umbrella'd under another evil corporation? Do they sell cereal and/or other products that they do advertise to make up for any profit lost on the cereal you buy? Do they put that cereal into boxes and sell it to other stores to appeal to customers who want/like/purchase boxed cereal?

See this thread is about getting rid of publicly traded companies by creating the same products for consumers-at either the same price or lower-in order to get the public to purchase those products from you and make Wall Street obsolete. So that's what my logic is dictated by.

The cereal you purchase costs $1.68 a pound, but we don't know what the profit margin is on it. So let's say we get rid of the cereal boxes and the cereal advertising all together. That now affects the employment of the people who make the boxes and who make the advertising and who sell advertising space. It also affects the number of machines used in producing and boxing that cereal, so it affects the employment of the people who make and/or maintain those machines. And if NONE of those people work in companies that are publicly traded on Wall Street, then you're hurting people who aren't your target.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Somehow that cereal manufacturer sells to my supermarket cereal for 1.68 a pound without any advertising directed to the consumer and makes a profit.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Good idea!

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Even if you get the map done, you still need the people to march down the path.

That requires turning off the TV and getting involved. You may find yourself marching all alone.

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

No way. If you can create a sound and profitable model, there will always be someone interested. Our economy is based on it.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

And most people are going to wait to see IF you actually CAN.

[-] 2 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

And that, of course, is the fly in the ointment. Lots of talk about worker cooperatives and replacing the capital-driven economy and all the rest, but nobody doing anything at all about it. If you think you can start a worker' cooperative and produce a box of cereal for less than three dollars and pay your owner/employees fairly in the process, and do it without resort to banks and venture capitalists, let's see somebody here give it a go. Starting a business isn't all that hard. Making it actually work is where all the bother is, and I suspect that is why we haven't got a lot of takers here.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

It's like they believe that the very human race they malign so much will suddenly turn around and become benevolent and agreeable creatures if simply given the opportunity to do so. Despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary.

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

There's certainly that, by itself a fatal flaw for many socialist schemes. More immediately, no one here appears willing to do anything to attempt to put these many theories into practice. It's all well and good to sit at your computer and talk about workers' cooperatives and socialist economic theory and all the rest, but talk is cheap, and no one around here seems to have much inclination to go give it a try.

So even the schemes that might actually be feasible, like the 501(c)(3) I talked about above, never get past the idle-chatter stage. They'd rather sit around talking about changing the world than make the effort to actually try. And when they do feel the urge to get away from their computers, they stick to things like demonstrations,where there's nothing risked and no chance for a reality check to show whether or not the theory is sound or whether they have the organizational chops to make it successful. And that's why OWS will never ago anywhere. It's all talk and unfocused street demonstrations -- no real-world agenda at all.

[-] 1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

You can't fail if you don't try. It's much easier to not try and blame the world for not "allowing you to succeed".

[-] 0 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

what do you plan on inventing?