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.
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Thank you Professor Wolff, keep up the good work you do!
We are getting it:)
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.
Thank you Professor Wolff