The Democratic Work Culture
Updated on December 16, 2014
In my book Democratic Capitalism, I propose (in the sub title) that The Way to a World of Peace and Plenty is through the democratic work culture in which each worker is trained and motivated to reach potential.
Robert Owen, at the beginning of the 19th century, demonstrated in his spinning mill that superior performance results from worker participation. Marx and Engels, a half-century later, saw that this culture provides workers with an opportunity to reach their potential. The insights of Owen, Marx, and Engels, however, were rejected and they were forced to seek political measures to democratize the work culture. Companies, with leaders like Robert Owen, regularly identify superior performance from such a work culture but the intellectual community continues to demean generic capitalism, while ignoring examination of the democratic alternative.
From the beginning of my work experience, I became convinced of the benefits of cooperation between labor and capital. The work culture that resulted from this approach is described by two managers who worked with me. Al Reposi was the sales manager at Electro Dynamic where I was plant manager and president for twelve years. Selma Rossen was a regional general manger and V.P. Engineering at ADT, Inc. where I was CEO and Chairman for eighteen years. They are the authors of the following letters in support of the Carey Center for Democratic Capitalism.
Note Selma’s reference to ADT’s no lay off policy. This commitment to job security was an important contributor to the democratic work culture. ADT had the market growth opportunities and made good use of attrition to avoid lay offs while many were bragging about “downsizing” thousands.