Finally, some good news for a change.
February 17, 2003 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Weltschmertz got you down? "For the workers, the takeover has always been about achieving a living wage. The results have exceeded this goal. Once overheads have been met, wages are divided equally between all the workers: monthly pay now stands at 450 pesos..." This, and other stories of triumph are the focus of New Internationalist Magazine. A little bit of brightness to keep you going when it seems like everything is wrong.
posted by frykitty (21 comments total)
 
What the hell is a Majority World?
posted by anathema at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2003


Ahh, Communism! Back for a second try after abject failure and after racking up the highest murder rate in the history of mankind (and counting)! Thanks for bringing the message to Metafilter!

Death to America! Shoplifters of the world, unite!
posted by sir walsingham at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2003


What the hell is a Majority World?

Probably a better way of saying "Third World".
posted by frykitty at 8:43 PM on February 17, 2003


Where is the Second World? I like to be in the meaty part of the curve.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:48 PM on February 17, 2003


I wondered about majority world also, indeed frykitty is right. Here are some links. A discussion of the term, a photo essay of the majority world, an essay about Challenging the Portrayal of the Majority World, Sexual minorities in the majority world, and some more general discussion.
posted by rhyax at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2003


Ah, Communism! Those damn fool Argentinians, sharing the wealth instead of super-concentrating it like the USA has. There are fifty-three workers in that clothing factory -- by all rights, one of those workers should have 40 to 50% of the wealth, five of them should have that much of the remaining amount, and the remaining forty-seven get to scrap over the leftovers.

That way, ten of them (and their families) could pretty much starve to death, and the majority of them could find their incomes stretched to the limits.

Not to worry, though! That one really rich guy (Cuenta Puertas is probably his name) will have a mighty fine life.

Communism. What a farce! It just goes all against nature.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 PM on February 17, 2003


Metafilter: From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
posted by UncleFes at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2003


I'm glad that we're using non loaded words like majority and minority to describe the world now.

*sews lips shut, resolves to communicate only with vague pictograms*
posted by 4easypayments at 9:20 PM on February 17, 2003


Feh! 'Second World.' 'Third World.' So passe! It's all about the Fourth World these days.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:10 PM on February 17, 2003


Who is John Galt?
posted by Odi et Amo at 10:47 PM on February 17, 2003


And after all capitalism did for them! Well, I never.
posted by condour75 at 10:51 PM on February 17, 2003


Who is John Galt?


No no; nowadays it's, "Who is Karl Galt"
posted by Ayn Marx at 12:12 AM on February 18, 2003


Hey, since I apparently live in the Minority World, do I get extra points on my school admission exam, special consideration when trying to nail a government contract, and the option to blame The Man(tm) for all my woes?

Just wondering ...
posted by Ayn Marx at 12:14 AM on February 18, 2003


> Ahh, Communism! Back for a second try after abject failure and after racking up the highest murder rate in the history of mankind

Don't forget Atheism! God bless the USA!

Meet me behind the large janitor's shed by the east entrance to the University of Chicago tomorrow. I'll trade you an 8th edition Adam Smith for a first edition Ayn Rand. Keep it under your hat. We'll take care of this menace before it spreads further.
posted by skallas at 12:24 AM on February 18, 2003


Not to be an ass, but "Weltschmertz" is not a word in any language with which I'm familiar.

Perhaps you were looking for "Weltschmerz".
posted by syzygy at 4:43 AM on February 18, 2003


Surely there's something more interesting to say about this than back-and-forth sarcasm?

I, too, am uncomfortable with the idea of state ownership of industry. That path has rarely if ever worked out in practice. And something tells me that the same government that oversaw the implosion of Argentina's economy is not the right organization to take ownership of it all.

But if one gets past the niggling ownership questions (although an argument could probably be made for abandonment, and the factory and equipment most likely should be turned over to the workers if they are willing to take ownership), I think the idea of small, self-organizing cooperatives--who may operate on a communistic basis internally--is a great model for up-and-coming industrializing nations. I don't know if I trust NI magazine, but it sounds like the workers are clamoring for state-sponsored communism mainly as an insurance policy that the police won't seize the factories they've taken over.

So where does this idea lead? Maybe instead of state ownership, there should be a co-op guaranteed lending program that would enable groups of workers to secure government loans with which they could purchase abandoned factories or build new ones, and get their feet on the ground. The successful groups could serve as models for future program guidelines and think of the on-the-job business management experience the co-op leaders will get.
posted by daveadams at 4:58 AM on February 18, 2003


"Weltschmertz" is not a word

Mea culpa, syzygy; frykitty hat mich gebittet, sicher zu machen, dass Sie dieses Wort richtig buchstabiert hat. Ja, ich habe Fehler gemacht. Na und?
posted by sennoma at 7:26 AM on February 18, 2003


an argument could probably be made for abandonment ... it sounds like the workers are clamoring for state-sponsored communism mainly as an insurance policy that the police won't seize the factories they've taken over

I'd much rather see the 'abandonment' position pushed. Communism seems to be one of those ideas that only works on a small scale; wherever it's been tried on a national level the results have been awful.

Alternatively, if the former owners' claim to current ownership is to be granted, I like the idea of government loans to fund buy-outs by the workers' co-ops. Of course, the buy-out price should reflect the value of the abandoned factories, not the working factories as revived by the workers.
posted by sennoma at 8:10 AM on February 18, 2003


Dude, the owners of the factory split. What do we do?

Well, we could take it over, reorganize it and split the profits, so we'd make about 18 times what the owners paid us.

But sir walsingham on Metafilter clearly said communism was an "abject failure"!

Gasp! You're right, let's go find some other kind owner who'll pay us U$2 a week and forget all this profit sharing tomfoolery!

posted by signal at 8:12 AM on February 18, 2003


Communism is state imposed... what these folks did is pure problem solving, good for them!
posted by silusGROK at 11:06 AM on February 18, 2003


You can call this communism if you like, though it seems to me that you're just invoking a bogeyman that's not terribly relevant to the situation. Alternatively, you can think of this as a horribly failed business that was bought out by a group of small investors who now hold the stock and are enjoying the dividends. Vive la capitalisme!
posted by anapestic at 11:07 AM on February 18, 2003


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