Do worker coops produce for profit or do they produce for use?

Dear professor Wolff, capitalism is criticized for its profit-directed production policy. Capitalists produce what makes more profit rather than what society really needs. Whenever possible, they even try to induce false needs in society to sell what they have produced. You have helped many worker coops to form and establish so far. I am curious to know what policy are these coops pursuing for their production? Do they have to produce for profit in order to compete with their capitalist counterparts, or are they producing for use?

Official response from submitted

Worker coops have both choices to make and contexts within which to operate. The surpluses produced in worker coops can and will likely be used in different ways from how surpluses produced within capitalist enterprises are used. In the latter, major shareholders and the boards of directors they select will use the surplus to reproduce this capitalist system over which they preside. That generally requires profit maximization. For worker coops, their goal is presumably to reproduce the worker coop organization which requires a much more varied distribution/usage of the surplus than mere profit maximization. And then , of course, the people deciding how to use the surplus are radically different in the two alternative enterprise organizations. The result will be different decisions shaping altogether different economic histories.


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  • commented 2017-01-02 16:18:07 -0500
    Thank you very much
  • responded with submitted 2017-01-02 16:12:37 -0500
  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-01-02 14:04:34 -0500

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