ABSTRACT

If the egalitarian principle were set aside , the extra restrictive propensity of a labour co-operative would disappear. In terms of the numerical example given above the admission of one new member will add £2 to the co-operative's total revenue from the sale of its products. The outside competitive wage rate is assumed to be £1. Any outside worker would gain from admission to membership if he were given a share in the earned surplus greater than £1 . The existing members would gain from his admission if they granted him a share less than £2, since in that case there would remain some part of the additional revenue to be added to their existing shares. Thus everyone would gain if a new member were

admitted with a share in the earned surplus which was, for example, equal to one half of the share allotted to the existing members.*

The egalitarian principle could equally well be broken if the existing members took on additional workers at a fixed wage rate . In the above example, they would have an incentive to do so at any wage less than £2, while outside workers might be attracted at any wage greater than £1. But in this case the labour-eo-operative principle would be essentially abandoned. The existing members would take the place of the capitalist entrepreneurs and the tension between 'them' and 'us' would reappear. It is an open question how far this same conflict between 'them' and 'us' (e.g. between the new members with a half share and the old members with a whole share in the earned surplus) would reappear in the case of a true, but inegalitarian, labour co-operative.