Economic Update: Enabling Worker Coops

On this week's episode of Economic Update, Richard Wolff presents updates on capitalism and Earth Day, Chinese movie industry overtakes Hollywood, small businesses use cooperatives to compete better with big business. On the second half of the show, Wolff is joined by Rich Bartlett, cofounder of Loomio, powerful software worker-coop facilitating collective decision-making.


Showing 4 comments

  • Colleen O'brien
    commented 2017-04-29 13:28:14 -0400
    This interview today with Richard Bartlett is inspiration.
    Thank you Professor Wolff, keep up the good work you do!
    We are getting it:)
  • Chris Clarke
    commented 2017-04-28 09:49:44 -0400
    The first coop was founded in my home town of Rochdale, Lancashire, as a place where cotton mill workers could avoid the company store and get fair prices. Profits were fed back to customers as dividends.That movement thrived and grew to enormous scale in the UK. Unfortunately, the management became more political than commercial and this reduced the effectiveness of operations against capitalist rivals.
    Worker ownership needs careful nurturing as the article suggests. In the UK when British railways was de nationalised an attempt was made to have all its road transport activities owned by its workers. The resulting National Freight Corporation was deeply flawed. The leadership creamed off an unfair share of the stock and became unduly rich, but many truck drivers did well out of it too. The main difficulty was that when the stock went on the stock market, the workers took the money and the company is now in the hands of capitalists again.
    The best example I have seen of worker ownership is the John Lewis Partnership in the UK, which operates Waitrose a successful supermarket group and the John Lewis department stores. The owner set up a trust to own the business and to run it for current employees. Essentially he donated it. As this is a rare event confiscation is a better approach. This avoided the NFC problem. The workers have a major say in the business. This led to the customers coming second for too long, but now the balance is better. This example is not perfect, but it works quite effectively and competes well against some of the most capitalist businesses in the world including the UK branch of Walmart.
  • Socialist Agenda
    commented 2017-04-28 08:32:59 -0400
    Fantastic resource for explaining the reality of a real alternative…
    Thank you Professor Wolff
  • Hagbard Celine
    commented 2017-04-26 08:14:34 -0400
    Thanks for the great work on your site Dr Wolff. Please fix the download link so I can hear my favourite show this week.

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