Transform Western Power into Community Investment Corporation

Use Your Power campaign that launches tomorrow in Northern suburbs gathers Western Australian citizens concerned that the privatisation of Western Power may threaten jobs and financial security of their families.

“I was concerned with privatization of Western Power, this would leave people out of jobs, and put residents of the town, at risk when the fire season starts.” – Lisa Jayne Skender, participant of the town hall meeting in Mundaring told Perth Herald Tribune.

Ms. Skender represents the majority of Western Australians interested in serious discussion about the radical business solutions for a historic state-owned companies like Western Power.

Ms Skender who recommends on her Facebook signing the petition launched by the Use Your Power campaign is not a union member like any member of her family. She is interested in common good that the Western Power symbolizes for Western Australia.

“It is purely a concern of affect to the public, if privatization takes place, which I totally disagree with”, Ms. Skender explained. “Seriously we need to keep jobs in Australia. Not sell everything off. I oppose any privatization”, she emphasized.

When asked by Perth Herald Tribune whether she would be interested in the privatization that would make all of Western-Australians residents shareholders Ms. Skender expressed her interest.

Such privatization is not only possible but also economically efficient. Here is how it would work.

Imagine that the company made investment on behalf of all Western Australian citizens – and by merely registering to vote, or just living in the city, citizens would receive dividends on those investments.

Citizens of Western Australia can transform the Western Power government owned company into a Community Investment Corporation (CIC). This would provide WA citizens with a free equity stake in economic investments made by the CIC.

“People of Western Australia transforming the Western Power into the Western Power Community Investment Corporation will initiate innovative economic democracy much needed for economic growth.”

Liberals proposed old-type privatisation model of Western Power

Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett stated the intention of privatising the Western Power into the hands of foreign capital (once the state loses control over the company it will not be able to control decisions of other stakeholders). Premier proposed privatisation plan will benefit only some privileged Australians who are already owners, but majority of Western Australians will not benefit from such privatisation neither the workers of Western Power. The typical privatization model presented by Premier of Western Australia will perhaps help fill budget gaps but it will not contribute significantly to the future of economy in WA and stability of financial foundations of millions of families. The privatisation plan is neither sufficiently innovative nor economically efficient taking under account the historic and social value of the pillar of the Western Australia’s economy.

The concerns and worries of the working people in Australia are justified since in the past the only effect of such privatizations were reduced salaries of workers, laid offs and enormous bonuses for management class and the owners. It will deepen inequalities across the social groups and suburbs in Western Australia further concentrating capital in the hands of the few. This is exactly a plan that is rooted in current structures of plutocracy that the British and American voters rejected choosing Brexit and anti-political elites candidate Donald Trump.

The Western Power offered jobs to local community and its revenue helped to finance the healthcare and education expenses. Opponents of privatisation are concerned that prioritising profit of private shareholder the foreign capital will most assuredly not commit to such goals. The cuts of jobs will be main element of its economic strategy that will increase the unemployment rate and costs of welfare.

There has not been a better time to explore viable alternative for the economic betterment of Western Australian community on behalf of all citizens.

“The worker-owned (and thus resident citizen-owned) enterprises are inherently more productive when the people have input to major decisions that affect their lives directly, and they share in the benefits in a discernible and definable manner.”

The Capital Homestead Act is a comprehensive economic strategy for empowering every Australian citizen, particularly the poorest of the poor, with means to acquire, control and enjoy the fruits of productive corporate assets. This strategy is a concrete application of the design science ideas of R. Buckminster Fuller, the economic justice ideas of Louis Kelso and the human rights ideas of Martin Luther King Jr. The authors of the strategy are economists late Louis Kelso and his long-time partner Professor Norman Kurland.

Kurland is a lawyer, economist and activist. He convinced US Congressmen to legislate law allowing for the Employee Stock Ownership Plan in 1980’s. Kurland helped to implement this economic model of management and ownership in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Egypt and Mexico. In late 1980’s Kurland together with his economic team prepared a strategy for a transformation of centrally-commanded economies to free market through a community based privatisation.

ACommunity Investment Corporation idea is rooted in the Capital Homestead Act. It would allow the citizens, as shareholders, to be involved in the growth and development of Western Power and Western Australia. The Western Power CIC, would plan the restructure and development of the company for industrial, commercial, residential and public purposes. It would sell energy and energy-production related services for public and private use and impose charges for improvement and maintenance.

The new-type privatisation model that will benefit all households in WA

The Western Power CIC would be run as for-profit business and would be accountable to its shareholders, the people of Western Australia citizens-residents would earn their shares in the Western Power CIC through a Community Shareholders’ Participation Plan developed and approved by citizens. Ownership will be vested in each citizen-resident of Western Australia through a single, life-time, non-transferable, voting and fully participating in equity share issued to each citizen-permanent resident at no cost, and surrendered back to the Western Power Community Investment Corporation at such time as the permanent resident dies or no longer maintains residency in the state of Western Australia. By giving every Australian citizen-resident of Western Australia, the opportunity for ownership in the Western Power CIC, they would have an active voice in the successful development of the community

With the Western Power CIC plan, instead of foreign corporation profiting from the selling of energy in Western Australia, the citizens of WA would profit.

What makes the Western Power Community Investment Corporation absolutely unique and different from all other community development proposals is that each member of the community will have a direct defined ownership stake in the energy production of the community. Every child, woman and man in Western Australia will thus have a legal right to receive an equal share of any profits derived from the production of energy and the operation of innovative infrastructure of which the Western Power Community Investment Corporation will be the first and premiere example.

Community shareholders will earn shares and dividends from the Western Power Community Investment Corporation, the revenues received from sale of power and other energy-production related services. Profits will first be used to repay the principal outstanding on the social venture investors’ loan. After repayment of the loan Citizens Dividends will be distributed at least quarterly in cash to every Western Power Community Investment Corporation shareholder from the sale of power and the energy-production related services after operating costs, debt service payments and dividend withholding taxes.

This unique among such large-scale endeavours, the Western Power Community Investment Corporation, will not be perceived as foreign operation or investor coming into the region to exploit local resources, infrastructure and the worst of all, people themselves. Instead the Western Power Community Investment Corporation would be designed and intended to become an integral part of the life of every citizen-permanent resident in Western Australia through a direct and defined ownership stake in their own community, with full knowledge that the bulk of the benefits flow not to some faceless foreign investor, but to themselves. This would give both community and those providing services and investment from the outside a greater incentive to work together to maximise the possibility of success, rather than work against foreigners in the mistaken belief that they are simply pillaging the community to line their own pockets.

The worker-owned (and thus resident citizen-owned) enterprises are inherently more productive when the people have input to major decisions that affect their lives directly, and they share in the benefits in a discernible and definable manner. People have an inherent understanding that when they own their homes, jobs, community all the good they do redounds to their benefit, and all the harm increases their cost. As Aristotle observed: “A man pays most attention to that which is his own.” The greatest competitive advantage of the Western Power Community Investment Corporation would be not necessarily the advanced technologies that would most certainly be able acquire easily than today, not even its profitability which will be consistently increasing but in the fact that the citizens-residents in Western Australia are tied to the Western Power Community Investment Corporation through ownership in a way that nothing else can equal or surpass.

People of Western Australia transforming the Western Power into the Western Power Community Investment Corporation will initiate innovative economic democracy much needed for economic growth. The Western Power Community Investment Corporation will began moving economy beyond the traditional “wage-welfare state” system, to the “expanded capital ownership” system. Private sector profit distribution schemes then supplant dehumanising public sector income redistribution schemes for sustaining the mass purchasing power in a community.

As visionaries as Martin Luther King Jr., Louis Kelso, Norman Kurland and others have seen, the world, including Western Australia, has the potential and the untapped resources to create a good quality of life and a sustainable future for every person, where each can be freed economically to pursue his or her fullest human potential in dignity.

 

Editors