Franchises, Restructuring Current Businesses As Cooperatives

Hey Richard, I apologize if this comes off as ranting, I had a question in mind and then another idea popped into my head I'll also include. I appreciated your sharing of Virginie Pérotin's research in an economic update a week and a half ago. A friend of mine conducted some similar research for his thesis. Do you know if there is any research on the success of co-ops where they are less prevalent? I am curious whether an economic case can be made for new business owners in USA to make their business a co-op, or more interestingly current non-co-op USA based businesses to restructure themselves as cooperatives. This brought me to my second idea which is about franchises. Franchises I find to be one of the most viscerally unsettling things about our current system of capitalism. I am deeply bothered by the homogeneity it implies and is often then a mediocre product being replicated at that. I then often think of Staples and how if you wanted to simply buy a pack of pencils, a business as large as staples can buy in larger bulk and sell them for cheaper than a mom and pop store. I would think that a co-operative would have less incentive to become a franchise especially a very large one, as the democratic decision making would become unnecessarily challenging with so many workers. What is to be done with the current franchises we have? I find it almost a bit ironic in the same update you shared Pérotin's research you also spoke about Macy's closing 141 stores which of course is in one light a bad thing. Thanks so much, Murray Levy

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  • Paul Lebow
    commented 2016-09-15 20:16:13 -0400
    I don’t believe franchises are inherently mediocre. Its the underlying capitalist motive that always goes for the least common denominator. In a global world where we are so interconnected, I wouldn’t want to limit co-ops to be local-only. A good franchise could accommodate local tastes and preferences. (Even the dreaded McDonalds will slightly adjust the “menu” to suit a locality.)
  • James McNeill
  • Murray Levy
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-08-21 10:07:03 -0400