Principles of fair ownership of a resource
- Equal partnership or decision power: Any minority or less than equal decision power is equivalent to no decision input
- Paying to the partnership per use, with competition for use handled by a bidding process.
- Sharing of proceeds when resource is sold. Sharing of proceeds from use fees.
- Sharing of fixed costs such as insurance, storage, repairs.
- Minimum use fee related to depreciation, maintenance and fuel associated to use.
- Process for adding/removing partners either through bidding or some other determination of value.
There is a boring peaceful solution though. Those employees that want a coffee maker should be able to pool together the funds to buy one, and the important point, without asking for permission. They may come to a friendly agreement with the bossman for paying very little for use of organizational office space and electricity. The argument for unmetered free access to electricity and office space is that it would cost the organization more in metering it, than ignoring it.
Non owners can participate in the bidding process. A single resource owner can still share it (or veto against sharing it). The time rental bidding or agreed price and minimum use fee model still apply. Unequal owners tend to create the same relationship as owner vs. non-owners. There may not be much of a difference with commercial relationships, other than it can be more informal. Worth noting is that when a partial owner has booked a block of time for the resource, then he is the exclusive owner of that block of time and can resell portions of it.
Natural sharing of an employee or human resource's retainer can be achieved by making all of the department's that might use the resource equal partner's in that resource. They are equally responsible for the payment of the retainer, but the minimum use fee is the hourly rate corresponding to that retainer, and bids among the departments are made against each other with the partnership receiving the winning bid. Any time used above and beyond the employee's full time obligations or human resource's retainer is negotiated directly with the human resource with payments going to him.
Generally, having multiple bosses instead of a single hierarchy in an organization is considered difficult because of the conflicts that can arise between bosses. Natural sharing's bidding process solves all of those conflicts. The human resource can have a share in his ownership in order to profit from competitiveness over the use of his time. And/or the base salary can increase on a quarterly basis, based on how busy he is. Those owners who are less busy, profit from the use of the resource by others. There is no reason that shares in the human resource have to be from a single employer, as long as confidentiality among employers is respected. If there is to be ownership of the human resource's time across multiple employers (as opposed to departments of a single employer) then it is important for the human resource, himself, to own a share of the resource, and allow, to his advantage, all interested partners to join in the partnership at the rate of his existing retainer fee.
One very useful aspect of this model of employment is in situations where post project availability in technology projects is required. Implementation, installation, bug fixes, support can require unpredictable time requirements. But it can also permit a partnership or hierarchy (delegating to and training of junior "employees") of human resources to make itself available for "customer ownership" of their time.
Interaction between work in shared ownership of resources and consumer coops
The mechanic function can be performed by one of the owners in a shared car. Or, several car or car fleet ownership groups can share the human resource that is a mechanic. The latter can make more sense for a professional full time mechanic, while the former makes more sense for amateur/apprentice/retired/part-time jack of all trades mechanics.
A co-owned mechanic resource can in turn co-own a set of tools and garage space housing those tools with other mechanics or tinkerers that need occasional use of tools. A group of mechanics specializing in drive train repair and maintenance (most likely to be co-owned by customers due to eventual need) can in turn co-own one collision body and paint shop on the basis that those services require different tools.
The costs to the owners of the mechanic are his fixed expenses including any compensation he wants for 0 work. If the mechanic shares ownership of space and tools, then his co-owners only pay a fraction of those costs, and a fraction of the fixed costs associated with a partial ownership in a body shop. When someone uses the mechanic service, the mechanic receives an agreed hourly rate, and payment for his share of the garage and tool use fees, and his costs if any for body shop services.
The bidding system for mechanic services would primarily be based on jumping ahead of the queue. Bids would still primarily be payments among the co-owners of the mechanic, but an associated bid for tool and space rental must also be covered by the customer-owner. The bidder might also optionally offer a bonus to the mechanic for quick turnaround. It makes sense to have a maximum bid which guarantees queue position, and a fairly chunky interval among bids. For example there may be a $50/hr maximum rental bid that guarantees a position in queue (behind only other $50 bids). A $5 interval between bids would permit a limited number of classes for work. Work that was currently bid at $25/hr or higher would be permitted a 2 hour wind down time before being put aside to work on higher bid work. If the shop is free for the next few hours, then a bid of $5 or $10 might guarantee that a job that takes 1 or 2 hours is completed without getting bumped for higher bid work. When dealing with outside non-owner customers, any costs normally paid by owners when the facility is idle would be covered, and a fee equivalent to a bid provided to the partnership.
Advantage for customers in co-owning a service
Because the workers face no risk since all of their fixed costs are paid for, they can charge lower prices than if they had to buy space and tools upfront, and hope that they get enough business to pay for their fixed costs. So the total amount paid to the worker-service by the customer owners is lower than it would be if a risk-adjusted price or profit margin was built into the prices.
For a truck fleet owner that might be able to afford 1 full time mechanic, co-owning part of 3 mechanics might not only be cheaper, but provide them with the capability of fixing 3 trucks at a time. Furthermore, its business focus is likely on making and shipping things, and so managing a mechanic or garage operation is a needless distraction. In the same vein, such a company would likely prefer co-owning a shipping service rather than maintaining its own.
Co-ownership also substantially reduces risk to the partners. If they are not consuming the resource due to slowness in their business, then the co-ownership produces revenue for them. If competition is very high, and a surplus generated for the partnership, then the surplus facilitates expanding the service.
Advantage for worker in being co-owned
A unionized position is likely to either pay more or offer better perks and vacations. If the worker has a unionized position, he would not see much benefit in pursuing having his work co-owned, but unionization is increasingly difficult as technology advances and work is more competitive. One popular alternative becoming fashionable for those underemployed is worker cooperatives, where the workers own an equal share of the business. While that may be attractive, compared to being co-owned, the workers will need to raise startup capital somehow.
A worker coop and co-owned worker can be compatible in several ways. Several mechanics can co-own a garage and tools, where some or all of the partners are co-owned by different groups. A group of co-owned workers can expand into a worker cooperative by reducing the hours available as a co-owned retainer.
A group of mechanics sharing the same place is a source of networking, where people getting jobs can subcontract to others to complete or assist with the work.
The one disadvantage of co-owned worker is potentially needing several customer-owners before starting. Like the landmower ownership, starting as a single owner employee simplifies the process. It may be in both the employee and employer's interest to obtain additional partners. Approaching an existing garage can be an attractive partnership for people wanting to invent/build something, or private car partnerships that would repair their own car on weekends and late night.
Worker's wages can go up more rapidly when more customers want to co-own and use his time compared to traditional employment. It works essentially like having multiple competing job offers on his ability to negotiate salary.
The relationship with basic income
Political conflict between the left and right too often focuses on the question "Does labour or capital better deserve to oppress consumers?". Consumer's having the right to organize production seems obvious. They still need the help of capital and workers, and natural sharing or consumer coops still compensate for those roles. Basic income (cash paid unconditionally directly to adult citizens) frees people from the requirement of a slavemaster as the motive for work. Basic income also enables sharing as a consumer coping strategy because all of the partners will have the income available when dues are due, and it enables workers assisting partnerships and cooperatives for supplemental income if they are not otherwise busy. Basic income also enables starting businesses without immediate revenue opportunities, by relying on the income support.
Global climate and environmental sustainability
We can consider all humans equal owners of the planet's climate and ecological sustainability. But we should also separate climate issues into distinct ownership plans. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, ocean acidification, methane releases associated with permafrost thawing, desertification, and sub-arctic and antarctic glacier melting are all distinct climate challenges that require addressing, but not necessarily have a single solution. The latter problem of polar glacier melting can be addressed narrowly. We can block out the sun near the poles to cool them. This might be considered an act of war by the few people that inhabit sub-arctic regions such as Greenland, and so a peaceful solution could involve the near billion people that would be affected by massive sea level increases, to chip in to the polar cooling dislocation fund. A general problem with global warming discussions is that some people, organizations, and nations, would benefit from it, and a discussion model that allows them to "extort" a modest fee for their lost opportunities would be more productive than a model that permits their obstructionism under a facade of agreement. Acknowledging the right to rape and destroy the environment is probably necessary to implement policies to save the environment by addressing compensation for the rapists, or at least excusing them from paying for their share of the solution costs. It appears as though human-political nature requires calamitous circumstances before acting, but using a model of shared ownership could allow some of us to pay more for the costs of prevention, including the possibility of compensating those that might be opposed to action.