The Partnership


18.1 The West’s unemployment problem and many others besides will not be solved until new industrial practices based on old Christian principles are inaugurated. The employer/employee and master/servant relationships are obsolete for industrial production, especially where significant levels of creativity are required.

18.2 New technology is good only if the benefits are equitably distributed and bad if the benefits are retained by a few for the exploitation of many. A mechanism for achieving an equitable distribution among a group of people prepared to co-operate in the production of a commodity is partnership, and this work is devoted to demonstrating the advantages of the partnership form of industrial organisation.

18.3 People at the work front cannot be hirelings if they are to benefit by the introduction of labour-saving technology: they must be partners in its ownership, introduction, use and benefits before it will reduce their onerous work without loss to their income or security.

18.4 It is time to stop going our selfish, competitive, Pty. Ltd. ways and to heed the call to co-operate in moving forward more gently in partnership and harmony with people and nature to achieve the goals of peace and security.

18.5 The creation of industrial monsters has created monstrous men. We do not need another monster. We do need to think clearly, to understand our needs, and to design systems for providing those needs. I am an engineer used to designing things to meet needs, then building them accordingly. We can do the same with organisations. The Partnership is designed to meet some of the urgent needs of underprivileged people, and we can build it if we have the will and the Spirit.

18.6 Work can have meaning for the average person. It is possible to look forward to another day of meaningful service rather than to another day of abject alienation. There is hope and we can still take control.

18.7 This work presents in simple story-type language free of jargon, a purposefully designed lifestyle that is a genuine alternative to the employer/employee mentality. One that is capable of construction if a group of people exhibit the will to do it. There is a long and colourful history of thought and action attempting to produce a more just and equitable society, and this is another small addition to that large mass. There are many hazards, and an understanding of the history of co-operative thought and practice is essential to avoid falling into the same old pitfalls over and over again. It is better to design a way around a pitfall on paper rather than fall into it in practice where the stakes can be very high.

18.8 While every effort has been made to make the arguments timeless and placeless so that the work will not quickly become outdated or be confined to anyone country, it was considered that this could not be done completely with the chapter on the rules, since a group may be led by the Spirit to put these principles into practice and would therefore need to know the mechanics of how to do it. Such a group could start by adopting this work in total initially. The rules are based on the Rochdale Pioneers rules used in England in the 1840's and those used in Australia in the 1970's. The discussion should be adopted as well as the formal rules, since many of the governing principles are put there and have not been repeated in the formal rules. Chapter 14 gives model rules: there is still the necessity to obtain good legal advice when setting up a co-operative to ensure that the partnership agreement and rules take full advantage of and do not conflict with the laws in the country concerned.

18.9 As time goes by there is an increased need for a co-operative way of life - the industrial world is becoming more complex and even to live soon we will have to band together in small groups in order to understand, tolerate, and where necessary oppose, growing oppressors. There is no alternative to co-operation if we are to achieve in the future some measure of happiness and even survival.

18.10 Why is The Partnership Christian? The answer was given by a Hutterian, Jacob Waldner, when he wrote to me: "It is not only earthly, it must be spiritual. Without the Spirit we could not make it go." I have considered this statement deeply and accept the truth of it: co-operatives without a spiritual dimension are doomed to failure like so many of the works of men; we cannot achieve our potential without the active participation of God.

18.11 When the Kingdom comes, people will be earning their living co-operatively.

signed, Graeme Doel

From The Partnership, by Graeme Doel.

Converted to HTML by Simon Grant, 2003.