Why worker democracy could never work

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

This is why worker democracy will never work:

Of course if you’re a catering company for weddings, chicken and rice might be the way to go! After all, no one goes to weddings for the food, so your primary goal is to piss off as few of the 300 guests as possible. Come to think of it, chicken and rice does seem to be popular at those sorts of functions…

But this isn’t a strategy for startups. Little companies need a niche — a market space they can completely, unquestionably own, not some gray middle-ground where your attempt to offend no one also means exciting no one.

There is “wisdom in the crowd” only when errors cancel out, like when estimating jelly beans or answering pop culture questions. In creative work, votes eliminate the interesting edges, leaving only the boring residue that no one hated enough to vote off the island.

That’s not how great products are made.

Then again, someone very clever might be able to find a way to solve this, to embed a liberal prince within the constraints of democratic vetoes. After all, isn’t the challenge here the same challenge as faces all democracies everywhere? What makes work different?