Beyond Democracy 7 – Self-Ownership

Another name for a sociocratic organization is a “FREE” organization and I’ll tell you why and explain to you one of the last elements of sociocracy.

Check out my vlog here.

When Gerard Endenburg developed sociocracy he used many ideas that other people had come up with. Endenburg had a few sticky situations, thought, that required coming up with totally new, totally novel ideas.

The first, is one of the four main elements of sociocracy, and it’s called double linking. I talked about it in my fourth vlog. I’ve never heard of or seen this anywhere else.

Also, one day, a few years after he had developed most of the processes of sociocracy, Endenburg woke up and realized he could sell the company out from under everyone. This didn’t seem JUST to him, so he looked at the concept of ownership.

Now usually ownership is the basis of control of an organization: you own it, you make the decisions, which makes sense becaue you don’t want anyone else’s bad decisions to make you lose a lot of money, but this creates two classes of people: owners, and everybody else that works there.

Sociocracy can only work if all the people using it have basically the same amount of power. That’s part of the definition of a dynamic system. So Endenburg asked himself how he could he change his system so that is would be egalitarian when it came to ownership.

Endenburg considered worker-ownership, but worker-owned businesses also frequently hire worker-non-owners, so that also allows for two classes. So, Endenburg asked, what happens if nobody owns it? If that was the case, then wouldn’t the organization own itself!?

So this, another totally novel idea, is ‘self-ownership’ and is what THIS blog entry is about.

Gerard Endenburg arranged for Endenburg Electronics to buy itself from him. After many years it finally completed that process and became the first organization in the world, as far as I know, to own itself. NOW, one man can’t sell everyone’s livelihood out from under them. Endenburg Electronics can be sold only if everyone in the organization consents to it being sold. That’s much more just and humane. Like much of sociocracy, self-ownership can be hard to wrap your brain around, but just think about it every so often in the future and it will start making more sense.

But now imagine for a moment that there are two corporations: one is owned by shareholders, and one owns itself. As I’m sure you know, corporations are legally defined now as being PEOPLE so picture these two corporations as people. One is owned and one isn’t. What do we call a person who is owned? That’s right! A slave!

And what do you call a person who is not owned? Free! So we call a sociocratic organization a FREE organization for that reason.

The resulting organization that owns itself is not public or private. It is something different. It is not owned by the public, nor is it owned by shareholders. Since we already call sociocratic organizations free organizations, we can now say that there are ‘public’, ‘private’ and ‘free’ organizations.

This has been the second to last in my blog/vlog series called ‘Beyond Democracy’ which is about sociocracy. Thanks for tuning in and taking the time to learn how we can change business-as-usual and self-organize the kind of world we want to live in. And please come back for my next bvlog which is a recap about sociocracy and what the benefits are of using it. G’die Mite!!