Has anyone discussed the possibility of cooperatives as the new business sector? The work of Richard Wolff is quite engaging on this front as he provides multiple examples of their success around the world, out competing traditional businesses. It’s an old idea, I think Game B can repackage it for today.
In a cooperative, the workers own the means of production within the enterprise they work (this can be in any sector possible) and make decision in their own interests, instead of in the interests of a small number of shareholders or a business owner. The coop votes on its own democratic structure; whether that be a representative democracy (in the form of a committee or board of directors), a direct democracy or they can vote to create their own management structures. Within these structures they decide what to produce, how much of it to produce and how much they should be paid for their work, with no surplus value going to the capitalist at the top. The videos below should explain further how it works.
Examples of worker coops would be either “The Coop” in England,”Mondragon” in Spain or a region in Italy called Emilia Romagna which has 8,100 cooperatives. Mondragon is the 10th largest company in Spain and is a cooperative that has been around since 1956, The Coop has stood strong for 176 years, and the region of Emilia Romagna has a tradition of creating cooperatives going back centuries
Cooperatives can last, and if we are to last any longer on this planet, they seem to be the way to go. Cooperatives are truly innovative, as the incentive is not to make a product that makes profit, but instead to make the best product possible for the consumer, as those in a cooperative are the consumer. These cooperatives are also in competition with each other driving innovation, while doing things in the interest of its workers instead of business owners. Meaning the public at large, decide what should be produced, not only that but they cooperate together, fostering new and potentially revolutionary ideas as to how the world should work in their interest.
These ideas seem, to me at least, to be essential if humanity is to be a space faring civilisation that isn’t built on exploitation people and resources for the select few. At the current rate we’ll be living in an Elysium like world, where we are simply workers for the elite, (even though we already are with Amazon, Google and Facebook’ control over our thoughts and actions). Cooperation seems like the only way forward.
Combined with the systems thinking and general intellectual rigor of Game B, I think it could be a plausible economic system for this new society. Just an idea, I’m open to any critique or revision of these ideas.
P.S I mention Elysium specifically because Jeff Bezos wants to build cities in space, look at the sources below
What is a worker cooperative (Duration 5:37)
Richard Wolff: “Worker Cooperatives: Movements for Social Change and Personal Empowerment” – 1 of 2 (Duration: 30:08)
How worker cooperatives work (Duration: 7:25)
The Mondragon Corporation: Employee Ownership as a strategy (Duration 47:32)
Elysium trailer (Duration 3:32) https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=QILNSgou5BY
Why Jeff Bezos’ space habitats already feel stalehttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-13/why-jeff-bezos-s-space-habitats-already-feel-stale
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