The complexities of modern corporations mean that comparatively few of the people involved will have the bilateral adversary psychology that this sort of confrontation requires. Too many of today's real problems do not fit neatly into the old role models. For example, in the Detroit Three, it is the unions rather than management that are taking too much out of the company's cash flow.
The old socialist model has another spect which is greatly outdated. In their ideas, people were divided into only two main "classes." Either one was a worker, and was hired to preform whatever tasks were needed, or one was an owner, who did the hiring and other management functions. There was a recognition of some independent shopkeepers, artisans and small farmers who were neither, but in old socialist theory, these were going to be ground down until everybody was a "wage-slave" to the master class. Such opposite figures as John C. Calhoun and Karl Marx actually agreed on most of this, but with greatly differing value judgements about it.
Modern corporations, however, consist of quite a few specialized skills, most of which have separate power bases inside the balanced functioning of the large corporation. Some of these may not even work directly for the company itself, such as the network of independent dealerships that sell the manufacturer's cars or large equipment.
Consumers and customers are another absolute necessity to the organization. Vendors may make essential parts while working at other companies, or independent shops. There can be engineering and technical staff who would seldom consider themselves as being oppressed subordinates. Ownership is spread among stockholders or, more diffusely, among the holders of mutual or pension funds who might never have heard of the company they indirectly own. So, too might the holders of the corporation's long-term debt or bonds. So, not only do we have traditional "labor" and "management," but one can actually be in most of these various groups at the same time.
Any or all of these can be on a different continent, speaking a different language, yet still be coordinated to the workings of a single corporation. This makes socialism very unlikely.
John D. Froelich
Upper Darby , PA
Mar 26 2009 - 10:24am