Dr. Wolff: I propose you work with BCorp (https://www.bcorporation.net/) who have a legal lab developing state by state code fragments for charters and such. Bcorp can bring to the DNA of any new coop a triple-bottom-line style of doing business. In the charter and membership agreements are language that indemnify the Board and CEO for decisions that benefit society or the environment but have an impact on the financial bottom line. Armed with such protections a CEO of a triple-bottom-line (financial, societal, & environmental) coop is free to make decisions that benefit society as well as the company. I want to further suggest that you and BCorp develop a cookie-cutter charter for all 50 states in order to streamline the coop creation process even further. If you can produce a set of PDF files people can download and take to a lawyer - this process of spreading the triple-bottom-line coop can proceed much faster. BCorp provides a five point audit of coops so they can tell how they are doing on the triple-bottom-line. Also, there needs to be a funding body for new coops. Despite the solid numbers coops produce - it is difficult to get seed funding from banks. There needs to be a national funding group new coops can rely on for cheap capital to get started with. Thank you for your time, G. Gibson [email protected]
50 State Solution for New Coops
Official response from Richard Wolff submitted
The movement for B Corps in the US represented an important step in the critique of and the going beyond capitalism as it has been organized and operated for the last 2-3 centuries. Its premise was that the capitalist enterprise's "bottom line" should not be profit rate but rather a collection of social and natural objectives (what you refer to as the triple-bottom-line). There was always an immense and irrational arrogance in the insistence of capitalism's devotees (and in its codification qua "science" in mainstream neoclassical economics) that what capitalism imposed on the capitalist (profit as the unique, singular bottom line) would somehow, magically be the optimum bottom line for society as a whole (a variation on the usual interpretation of Adam Smith's "invisible hand"). B Corps exploded that irrational arrogance and that is a major contribution.
However, a key problem remains for the B Corporation: namely, WHO determines/interprets and pursues the "triple-bottom-line"? The same minority of capitalists (major share holders and the boards of directors they select) who own and operate the capitalist enterprises who pursued profit rate maximization as the single bottom line? Can they be entrusted to interpret and pursue the B Corp idea of triple bottom line? I dont think so. If a broad social/natural set of objectives are to guide enterprise decisions, then a broad social, inclusive, participatory body of persons should debate and democratically determine how best to interpret and pursue the triple-bottom-line. In other words, to complete the movement beyond capitalism in which the B Corporation marks a step requires the transformation of the enterprise from hierarchical, top-down capitalist enterprise to democratically run workers cooperative.
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