The reality of worker co-ops, and what it takes to make them successful.

I was extremely surprised to discover, on the Worker Coop Directory web site, there are approximately 431 worker coops, *already* functioning, inside the US! So, being curious as to how so many of them could possibly be functioning, well, with so little press over the years, I started calling some of them and perused their web sites, to see chronologically, what steps they had to go through to, become successful. I found many of the people I talked to to be quite receptive to talking about their experiences. One thing that came up over and over again, was the ratio of the number of employees vs the ability to truly function, effectively, over time, as a worker coop, and not have problems like, worker slothfulness, corruption, or other group-related social issues rear up. Many had to either take punitive measures with the people who brought on such conditions, or restructure the coop as a whole, using legal representatives. Aka; lawyers. In other words, as *mutual owners* in a company, some of the employee/owners realized, hey! I can do...whatever I want. Work more. Work less. Cooperation, in the end, became a choice depending on their mood, not because they'd made a conscious effort to *function* for the benefit of all. Because they did...or didn't want to, depending on the day, which is not how a cooperative, is supposed to function. So, what is one to do in that situation? Now, we take the example of Mondragon, in Spain, founded by a Catholic priest, in the 1950s. Wholly successful, still working today, 100k employee owners, and apparently, no one's ever been let go, or fired. Or, if any, not many, in all that time. So, why were they successful, with so many people, but we here in America, haven't been, *as* successful? It's not JUST that ideology erased the ability for us to talk about the concept here in America, it's that because we have not had the history of knowing what a worker coop is, or why it's important, we as Americans have been LAMBASTED from birth to death, with...the Capitalist idea of making a buck, as being the end all be-all end-goal, in life. Indeed, that's all that matters. And, the system reinforces this. So, going from that, to worker coops and socialism is BEYOND shock. It's another world entirely! And THAT is why America is having such a hard time with this. People literally have to re-structure their whole way of seeing, not just economics, but life as they imagine it! My question is, why don't you talk about this? So many people have asked, and you throw out worker co-ops, but you never get into the meat on the bone commentary about how culture has to change to adapt to this way of thinking. Again, why? Or, is this just a given, considering the topic at hand? I've personally talked to CEOs of coops, and they've told me how much this topic confuses them, because they don't understand why people take advantage, once they've been made an-equal owner in the coop. Well, of-course they do! They're still thinking like a Capitalist! It's all they've ever known!

Showing 1 reaction

How would you tag this suggestion?
Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Donald Bellunduno
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-08-26 17:28:01 -0400