centuries people where interested in creating absolutely perfect state where
everyone is happy and satisfied, free and equal. They were writing books,
pamphlets, articles about utopia and each of them were different from each
other. The idea of ideal state is more relevant nowadays due to economic and
research paper I am going to discuss Bergonia, which is the first attempt of
creating utopian state online. The creator Joseph Charles Cometti visualizes every aspect of the state, which is considered to be
Bergonia is an
imaginary country with geographical location and history. We can find any kind
of information about this country which is connected with people, religion, economy,
social life, government, ecology, etc. Bergonia is Utopian type of country with
decentralized democratic socialism.
In the paper
I will discuss sustainability of democratic socialism and decentralized economy
and how state can survive without market driven economy, without income tax.
discuss Bergonia, we have to understand what is Democratic Socialism. It is a political ideology that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production with an emphasis on self-management or democratic management of economic institutions within
a market socialist or decentralized socialist planned economy.
Democratic socialists hold that
capitalism is inherently incompatible with the democratic values of liberty,
equality, and solidarity; and that these ideals can only be achieved through
the realization of a socialist society. Democratic socialism can be supportive
of either revolutionary or reformist politics as a means to establish socialism. Democratic socialists believe that both the
economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to
make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our
government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic
and social democracy so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many
decisions that affect their lives.
We must mention that there are
different approaches towards democratic socialism but nowadays it became very
popular in USA and supporters of Democratic Socialism are members of Senate and
Congress and people find idea of Socialism quite appealing, but we must not
think about Soviet understanding of Socialism which is more connected with
Marxian Socialism and always associated with destruction and non-democratic
attempt is to show you state with decentralized democratic socialism economy in
theory and discuss pros and cons with already realized ideas of socialism.
constitutional structure of government of Bergonia is designed to diffuse
power. The more Bergonians see of the U.S.
Presidency, the more they know they don’t want a single powerful head.
In theory the legislative branch is supreme, and the executive is divided,
in recognition of the natural tendency of power, evident in the history of
nations, to flow from the legislative to the executive.
There is no
strict separation of powers, that has positive sides but in practice
separation of powers has more advantages. Although the various organs of
government each have well-defined powers, they often are allowed– and
required– to blend their authorities.
The national government consists of a unicameral Congress,
a President who
chairs a powerful Executive Council that supervises a Prime
Minister and the various ministries. Some of the
leaders of Congress sit on the Executive Council. The president is much
weaker than the American President, except in the sphere of foreign
We should keep in mind that Bergonians prefer local government. They want the
national government to (a) protect the nation, (b) establish and regulate the
basic monetary, financial, transportation & energy systems, (c) define
environmental protections, and (d) assist state & local governments,
but fundamental lawmaking power
resides with the 31 states. Of course the complexities of
industrialized society often require national action, but Bergonians try very
hard to keep power devolved to the states and to local government.
Bergonias Socialist economy is consists
cooperatives, federated into large enterprises and syndicates, selected
infrastructure monopolies, “federated planning” with open markets in
economic sectors require different degrees of coordinating authority, different
command, information and exchange structures & patterns, different degrees
of workforce heterogeneity, and different public interests at work. Thus,
each sector is said to have its own “constitutional formation,” and
each bears examination in turn.
Decentralization as everything on the
earth has two sides: It can
help the organization grow overall, it encourages accountability and
transparency, it breeds innovation and flexibility. On the other hand it is not efficient at pursuing high-level
government goals due to the non-concentration of decision-making power, Centralization
saves money because it avoids duplication within the administration. For
decentralized economy it is not easy and fast to implement political
policies when decision-making power is not concentrated.
equality and consistency across regions since, in theory decisions are
taken considering the welfare of the whole country and not of a part of it. There is overlapping of authority and hence it may lead to
conflict between top level and lower level management which is not a good
outcome for any state because coordination at all levels is at the core when it
comes successful running of a state.
It may be possible that people to
whom work is delegated may not be competent enough to take such important
decisions which in turn can put state into danger of losing its credibility and
profitability. Especially when there are worker owned and managed cooperatives.
Workers can manage situation at the very beginning of the state, after
revolution, when society needs time to develop and realize new ideas, but after
the first phase it in not profitable for state to give decision making power in
There are three basic types of
economic enterprises in Bergonia :
(a) This economy consists of hundreds of thousands of independent
worker-owned and worker-managed cooperatives(also referred to in law as
Large enterprises are structured federations of
functional, elf managing cooperatives. For example, a large manufacturing
enterprise includes numerous production cooperatives in the factories and
cooperatives handling clerical, IT, procurement and other support functions,
with contracts with independent sales cooperatives. Nearly all the
manufacturing, distribution and wholesale sectors are organized on this
(b) There are a
few big monopolistic corporations, charted by Congress, each one
either handling a crucial area of the economy or a manufacturer of a massively
complex & socially/politically important commodity. The peculiarities
of Bergonian tax policy make it convenient to monopolize these economic
activities that are taxed– primarily what they call “energy
transactions.” This makes the collection of revenue for all the
levels of government incredibly easy, and freeing millions of people from
(c) This economy also
consists of a large number of shopkeepers, professionals and craftsmen working
as (a) sole proprietorships, (b) partnerships and (c) family-owned
enterprises. Nearly all professional and personal services (lawyers,
doctors, barbers, plumbers), and the rather large sector of “shop owners”.
In a decentralized economy, the policy
regulation is localized within production units instead of being done by the
state or bureaucracy. It can be seen as democracy from below where production
units are controlled socially by the workers and not by a Soviet style central
authority. Decentralized economies are more socialist by nature than
Marxist-Leninist style of economies as they actually give power to the workers
and not to a vanguard party representing the working class.
Cooperatives have less capital incentives. Finance can become an issue for cooperatives. Cooperatives can face
difficulties in receiving loans from financial institutions, such as banks,
which is why the cooperative business model may only work better for a business
with a lower start-up cost.
There is the tendency of experiencing intra-firm
financing or underinvestment, which occurs with the problem of disparity
between a member’s expected profit share and the amount he could earn from
investing outside the firm. There is another drawback, which is somehow still
related to underinvestment, is the apprehension of non-member financiers to
lend to the cooperatives. Since these lenders would risk their money within an
organization over which they have little control, they would be reluctant to
lend funds. On the other hand, members would also be reluctant to borrow on
terms that exceed their going interest rates.
With centralization of power, decision-makers can quickly
respond to issues as they emerge, but under a cooperative model, all owners
would weigh in on the decision-making process, which will take more time. In
cases where decisions must be made fast, cooperatives might not be effective.
It is also reluctant to borrow on terms that exceed their going interest rates.
ownership is rejected as a proxy for the commons and if ownership in
worker-controlled enterprises is in the hands of the workers, then these groups
of workers essentially become their own capitalists. They have ownership
rights, mobilize their own finances, and control and reinvest “their” surplus
for their own advantage.
significance of having legally authorized property rights was driven home in
the aftermath of Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis. While workers took over
shuttered factories, they needed the clear collateral of property rights to
avoid being denied financing and credit to purchase components and supplies in
advance of sales. State gave into this demand, but only on the condition that
the workplaces become co-ops, meaning workers inherited the debts of the
“recuperated” factories and were also responsible for their losses. The most
militant workers balked at such an arrangement. They wanted a role in managing
the workplaces, but argued the state should legally take them over, finance
their renewal, and link them together in a plan across workplaces. Those
demands were generally defeated.Workers ended up with co-ops and were triply
undermined as competitors within capitalism: they started with facilities
capitalists had left undercapitalized and uncompetitive; they were saddled with
debt; and they had to put their own savings into the facilities or accept lower
wages to address the issues of debt and new investment.
The case of
Argentina casts doubt on the notion that having more worker-controlled workplaces
or co-ops readily translates into an increasingly egalitarian social order. Without
an alternative institutional mechanism for coordinating productive activities,
competitive markets —described as “the cancer of socialism” — transform
differences in assets, skills, local advantages, and product valuation into
stark inequalities between workers and communities. The negative impact of such
inequalities on social solidarity was evident in the former Yugoslavia, which
had implemented full market socialism. The uneven distribution of historic and
geographic advantages meant that inequalities across firms were also expressed
workers who have failed to find jobs back into the competitive market, or
offering workers just entering the workforce a chance to compete with those
already established, sounds a lot like solutions offered by the libertarian
right. And it ignores the fact that the one place with such a program — Italy —
has unemployment rates double those of the USA. One
model that appears, on the surface, to better address the problem of fragmented
working-class ownership is the Quebec Solidarity Fund (QSF) — one of the
examples of “real utopias”.
The QSF is
distinct in that the state subsidizes workers to invest in a “solidarity fund”
and places ownership and investment decisions not in the hands of dispersed
workers or sub-groups of workers but in a larger collectivity — in this case, a
central union body. While Wright acknowledges that the QSF doesn’t challenge
capitalism, he still seems to believe it can contribute to the larger project
of doing so. This is mistaken. Putting labor leaders in charge does not in
itself guarantee a better politics. Indeed, the QSF was originally designed to
divert populist attention from radical demands like control of private
financial institutions — not to democratize the economy.
ambitious proposals that slowly collectivize property without directly limiting
capital’s power are even more likely to come up against serious barriers. The
Meidner Plan in Sweden is a useful illustration.
Plan, designed by the LO (Sweden’s labor central) in the 1970s, proposed an
annual levy on profits that would then be converted into shares and placed in a
central fund controlled by unions (which at the time represented over 80
percent of workers). The funds could be democratically allocated to regional
and sector development and, over time, majority ownership of the nation’s
productive assets would shift from private owners to the Swedish working class.
But the issue of time turned out to be a major problem: throughout the
transition, the Swedish economy would remain dependent on the same private
corporations the plan sought to expropriate. Warning that they would
instinctively hold back long-term investment if their property rights were
threatened, and arguing that efficiency, stability, and even living standards
would suffer irreparable damage if the transfer of ownership took place,
corporations mobilized aggressively against the Meidner Plan.
equality in co-ops doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone participates equally,
as in elected democracy, bureaucracies and elites (and indifference) readily
thwart the promise of equal voting rights. Additionally, over 90 percent of
co-ops are consumer co-ops, meaning the main owners aren’t the people who work
there. Even in worker–owned cooperatives, membership and employment don’t
co-ops, once an integral part of radical political movements, are now largely
integrated into the capitalist order. They may lobby for particular changes,
but they no longer mobilize alongside those fighting capitalism.
Bergonian revolutionary doctrine holds as a statement of
principle that governmental and
economic bureaucracy should always impose as little a burden on the individual
as possible– in order to lessen the common citizen’s hassles.
This is in keeping with the utilitarian
perspective common in Berg policy-making, which is to consider the immediate effect of a policy on
the happiness of the people. Therefore every economic enterprise must pay a payroll tax. It is
the equivalent of a tax on the “workers share” of the collective enterprise’s income. It is
not a “withholding” from individual pay, so no part of the payroll
tax is in anyway chargeable to individual workers, since no individual ever
become liable for taxes. Instead it is seen as a tax on the collective’s net income, before the workers pay
themselves. The payroll deductions are calculated with a simple flat
percentage of the net amount the workers pay to themselves.
No income taxes, except on the
self-employed. Thus, except for
the self-employed, individuals do not pay income taxes at all– it
is too much bother and hassle. Bu when we are speaking about the state which
claims that is has liberty and equality for everyone how democratic is this for
self-employed people to pay for everything what is free in Bergonia (such as
education, healthcare). People also
pay no personal property taxes for their personal possessions, including automobiles,
campers & boats.
Tax collections account for the bulk
of every state’s revenue, which is needed to invest in and repair
infrastructure, maintain public services such as police and fire departments,
and pay other government employees — to list but a few examples. Without an
income tax, these states often need to find another source of revenue.
states currently don’t have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South
Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
benefit, proponents say, is that states with no income tax become a beacon for growth.
They’re better at creating jobs and keeping a core of young, educated workers
from moving to other states. Others, however, are not so sure.
driven by the same line of thinking: Cutting the income tax will boost
take-home pay for everyone. It’ll make the state more attractive than its
neighbors, drawing new businesses, creating jobs and sparking an influx of
this really happen? A variety of economic policy groups have pushed back over
the past few years, raising questions about whether any of those claims are
Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy points out, for example, that states
with no income tax haven’t really created more jobs than others. Texas, which
is at the center of America’s oil industry, has certainly outperformed the
national average in job creation as energy prices surged over the past decade.
But job growth trailed population growth in the other eight no-income-tax
states, according to a 2013 ITEP report.
obvious that decentralized democratic socialism and decentralized economy is
not solution for economic and social problems. For some time that may help to
develop some parts of economy but at the end it causes more problems. And here
we may have a question if people are aware of dangers and negative sides of
democratic socialism why do they speak, write and create utopias with this
idea. Why socialism is so appealing for XXI century people. It is easy to be
fascinated with the ideas of equality, freedom, liberty, welfare system, but
not only socialism can bring it to us. Cometti created the state on this
principle not to praise the idea of socialism, but to make us think how we can
use different model in order to restore and develop our states, especially it
mostly goes to USA, which was and still is seen as the leading country in every
aspect. He knew all the negative sides of the democratic socialism and still
gave us puzzles to think how to live better not only for ourselves.
Socialism is not sustainable not only just because the error in itself but the
reason is the human itself, who can’t live in the state without any chance to
develop his/her conditions, human is not made to freeze in one phase. Each of
us need aim which leads us to create something wonderful and outstanding and
without competition we can’t accomplish it.