Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 23rd, 2010

I am an employee:  And I am sharing in the business

This is not a new business concept or new legal structure; employees participating as shareholders in enterprises are making headway and strongly impressing financial institutions with the performances of these enterprises.

Employees as shareholders enterprises that I would label (E-SE) are more performing by 10% then the highest 100 ranked companies in England.  They already contribute $35 billion in the British economy.  The ESE create more employment and quicker than traditional enterprises and are far more resilient in economic downturns.  They generate better clients’ satisfaction which increase added value to the benefice of employees.

Every year, all employees receive the same percentage in benefice with respect to their salaries from the lower to the highest ranked worker.  For example, an 8% increase in profit is equivalent to an entire month salary, irrespective of the other benefices that employees are entitled to.

In the turn of the 20th century, John Spedan Lewis said that

the way capitalism is applied is a perversion of the proper mechanism for doing business.  It is perfectly abnormal that in such a capitalist system there should exist millionaires while workers live in slums.  It is obscene to pay dividends to a few shareholders who do nothing while workers barely earn enough to survive.

John Lewis grandson, Spedan Lewis, discovered at age 21 that his father, his brother and he were making more money than the combined salaries of all their employees.  Thus, Spedan sold his shares in the enterprise on Oxford Street and became director of Peter Jones, another enterprise of the family.  Spedan instituted the ESE concept and within 5 years the Peter Jones enterprise emerged from $15,000 deficit  to over $35,000 profit.

Spedan created the John Lewis Partnership Limited, a fiduciary irrevocable contract, that delivered the property to the employees with the attached responsibility and management.  The employees are part of the administrative council and play active roles in all decision procedures.

Actually, employees have a lot to say and plenty of initiatives and creative programs.  For example, when employees decided to have a day off after Christmas Day they didn’t work.

Employees decide on what to do with benefice to the common welfare of the enterprise such as building chalets to rent at affordable prices during vacations.  ESE enterprises do not witness turnovers and employees fired for stealing or for minor crimes are rare. You don’t experience the traditional backstabbing to getting ahead.

Employees work for the long term vision; the goal is not quick money making but adding steady value to the enterprise.

Why ESE is not that rampant in business communities?

Simply because it is hard work to institute this new system before it works smoothly.  It is the passion of a few hardy hearts and minds to take on the challenge in risky start ups that represent qualitative fair play among employees and owners in businesses.  ESE is a new culture for workplace and how to distribute wealth equitably by sharing responsibilities, communication, transparency, and dividing profit.

There are passions and passions. Part 2

In part one I wrote:

“There are strong individual passions; there are the “power to be” strong passions, and there are abstract passions that ideologies, religions, and customs would like you to incarnate for a homogeneous community stability.  All those institutions want to select for you the kinds of passions that are appropriate to your well being and development” and I described what I meant by individual strong passions.

In this article, I will attempt to discriminate among the various strong passions from the “power to be” and religious ideology of passion.

Basically, an ideology transmits perceived habits and models for interpreting social and political conditions.

To a lesser extent, an ideology communicates explanations and lead us to make choices for situations and events. It is my contention that every ideology or political party implicitly exhibits a philosophical line, a philosophical construct that is fundamentally a process of prioritizing our individual set of passions, which cannot be changed, but re-ordered, a line focused as a collective of like minded association.

Thus, it is beneficial for any ideology to debate the philosophy that is most compatible to its priority of passions.

Abstract passions of an ideology changes when it comes to power.

For example, during John Kennedy short Presidency, many were enthusiastic joining the Peace Corps; they were willing to share the hardships of communities in remote unprivileged  regions of the world.  In the meanwhile, the power to be was escalating the war in Viet Nam and attempting to destabilize the regime in Cuba.

The French Revolution disseminated the abstract values of equality, liberty, and freedom while the “power to be” installed the guillotine to harvest thousands of heads in the name of the purity of the revolution.

Communist ideologies talked the language of youth’s hopes of economic fairness, socialism and distribution of wealth and then when the regime came to power the set of passions changed.

I cannot help but imagining a conversation between a communist party line administrator and a member of the party:

Party line administrator: “So, you are a dedicated party member; you are passionate about peasant’s life style.  No problem, you are assigned to work the land; preferably with a community of peasants for proper training and practices.”

Memeber: “Oh no!  I am an intellectual. My passion is to read reports, analyze data, and mostly criticize deficiencies in the system.”

Party line: “Oh yes? Why did you join our ranks and swore allegiance to our ideology and political economic lines?”

Memeber: “Well, my morale values and ethical standards yearned for fairness, equality, and justice, and human rights to all.”

Party line: “Too late.  We are now in power and the realities of staying in power demand that you be assigned to be rehabilitated in reform camps.  Fairness, justice, and equality of classes were nice slogans that need to be in operation through specific programs.  The counter cultural revolution is meant to reform naive members into pragmatic needs of the party.  You are worth what your hands, feet, and back can produce from the uncultivated land.  Would you prefer working the land or raising cows and pigs?”

Member: “Wait a minute.  What about a handcraft job?  I love to get my hand dirty in woodworking, in painting, in repairing electronic equipment, in maintaining mechanical machines.  Yes, I wouldn’t mind sanitary assignments, waiting on tables of the Politburo eminent members.  I am convinced that I love becoming chef in the kitchens where you receive diplomats and foreign dignitaries.”

It is up to graduate philosophers to analyze the party line and extract the corresponding philosophy out of hundreds that the human mind has constructed.

An ideology that misses opportunities to seriously debate its underlying philosophy is bound to fail as a gathering of focused passions.

I am aware of a case where a fresh graduate in philosophy and a fresh member in a political party attempted to stick his personal philosophy to the party ideology instead of objectively analyzing the underlying philosophy and allowing free discussion on the topic; it was an opportunity that was missed to debating a rough philosophy that had potentials to be fine tuned and accepted by the collective members.

Most political ideologies loudly claim that the members are the subject matter, that the members are the driving force and the main concern of the ideology.  That line of thinking should be the purpose of syndicates because that is the reason for instituting syndicates and professional associations. Political parties should avoid the technical hypocrisy of proclaiming that their goals are the members’ benefit. 

Members in political ideologies are simple cogs of focused abstract passions.

Fresh members in political parties are willing to slave for free and accept all the nonsense, constraints, and abject humiliation on opinion formally restrained because “they need apprenticeship period” to comprehend and thoroughly learn the mystery behind an ideology, as if it was a cult.

Those individual cogs who regurgitate the political lines and memorize them by rot and spew them integrally are the one who accede to the higher echelons and then reap the benefits and advantages; there are no rooms for divergence of opinions on ideological lines, otherwise, a new ideology is in the making.

It is worth noting that those who accede to the higher echelons are invariably astute power grabbers, but very limited spiritually because they fail to invest energy and time on personal reflections. Those limited minded “leaders” are imposed on society for needed reforms that invariably fail and leave tracks of long miseries and sufferings.

Any ideology is inherently a cult with many super imposed constructs of myths and verbal testimonies of elders that are added as the rank swells; these abstract constructs are meant to increase the obscure notions and make the ideology more fascinating and enduring to the youth, simply because the ideology failed to adhere to an explicit philosophy of rational cohesion.

Fundamentally, schisms are implicitly divergences on priorities of passions to focus on, which are interpreted as political differences.

Religions follow the same process as ideologies and end up splitting and forming schisms and cults.

The core of religions and political ideologies are of abstract constructs with the same consequences on societies.  The main difference between religions and ideologies is that religions invariably end up adhering to a philosophy as guiding rod and are thus enduring in all levels of life for many centuries.

Ideologies in religions are necessary passages for individuals’ spiritual development; they are the building blocks for getting aware and hopefully caring for human miseries and problems.  Ideologies are extensions to our spirit because we need the association of people to develop our soul.

Find me an individual who never joined a political ideology or at least cared in his youth to learn the ideologies of his time and I can forecast that this individual will specialize in his professional discipline and be a complete illiterate outside his field of specialty; he will end up a very narrow minded person with no heart or soul to count on for change and social reforms. 

I would be uncomfortable dealing with an individual who joined an ideology in youth and never felt the need to re-examine his ideology: I simple cannot believe that a young person can be bright enough and wise enough to knowing his strongest passions before dealing with the real world and people.

In many moments in life we asked “what is the meaning and purpose in life?

How about we start from the obvious?

We are a bunch of jumbled passions that drive our life and we ache to re-order our passions and discover the strongest passions that mean most to us.

We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits, but as thinking reflecting persons that have distinct set of passions that we managed to prioritize; we finally think that we know who we are and what drove our life. We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.

There are passions and passions: There are induced passions, cultured passions, strong individual passions… There are the “power to be” kinds of strong passions, and there are abstract passions that ideologies, religions, and customs would like you to incarnate for a homogeneous community stability.  All those institutions want to select for you the kinds of passions that are appropriate to your well being and development.

Our individual strong passions might change with age, lack of opportunities, energy deficiencies, and unplanned decisions.  Our strong passions that are the trademark of our successes and passion for life might be buried under less powerful passions, to satisfy our need to fitting within a community.  Most probably, periods of depressions, feeling of failure, and a life wasted could be the consequences of unhealthy behaviors of supposedly tamed strong passions that we failed taking full advantage of their beneficial potency.

Individual strong passions  do not ask why they exist, you don’t need to answer why; otherwise, it is not in the category of strong passions.  Passion asks how and what; it is  NOT a general notion but a very specific want.  It is not “I want to make plenty of money” but how I want to generate plenty of money.  It is not “I want a villa” but what kind of a villa, the design of particular rooms, kitchen, or garden.  It is not “I want a car” but details of your dream car.  It is not “I want to buy things” but exactly the product that you dreamed to own.

A strong passion is feasible but hardly attainable:  there are particular details that always have to be taken care of, to be redesigned, to be changed.  It is not “I want to be an architect” but what I want to be looking at that is different in this world, which is compatible with my outlook.

An individual strong passion is NOT an abstract concept of equality, freedom, or justice; it is my individual concept and detailed program to bring about those concepts.  It is not “I want to get married” but the special wedding dress I have in mind, the special ceremony I want to organize.  It is not “I want to have kids” but the special method for upbringing.  A strong passion is hard work that constantly re-designs the minute details that strongly fit my passion of the moment.

I believe that personal reflection is the best alternative for discovering a set of values (most compatible with our strongest passions) to guide our behavior.  However, there are many obstacles for any individual to access his own “ideology” of life.

First, the school system, family upbringing, community customs and traditions are as many diverse implicit ideologies that an individual has to comprehend and sort out.

Second, it presupposes that an individual has reached enough maturity to believe that his reflections can affect the course of events.  Third, it presupposes that the governing institutional systems care about individual opinions and demands, and are ready to examine them seriously.

Fourth, it presupposes that the individual has enough will, energy, education, and perseverance to discover his own set of values and ideological system.

In many moments in life we asked “what is the meaning and purpose in life?”   How about we start from the obvious?  We are a bunch of jumbled passions that drive our life and we ache to re-order our passions and discover the strongest passions that mean most to us.

We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits but as thinking reflecting persons that have distinct set of passions that we managed to prioritize; we finally think that we know who we are and what drove our life. We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.




May 2010

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