We the Owners: Employees Expanding the American Dream is a documentary from the Foundation for Enterprise Development that follows three companies of different sizes in different industries and regions (New Belgium Brewing, Namaste Solar, and DPR Construction) that use employee ownership in diverse ways (an ESOP, a worker cooperative, and a phantom stock plan respectively). … Read More
At the center of the ongoing debate about the causes and cures of inequality in America today is the vast difference in wealth between owners and workers. As many have noted, that gap was not nearly as large in the middle of the twentieth century as it has become in the first two decades of the 21st century, where owners and other executives make many multiples of what workers make – largely through grants of stock in lieu of salary.
From Ted Howard, co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, and Marjorie Kelly, author of The Divine Right of Capital and Owning our Future, The Making of a Democratic Economy is a clarion call for a movement ready to get serious about transforming our economic system. Illuminating the principles of a democratic economy through the stories of on-the-ground community wealth builders and … Read More
The mainstream economic theory that guides corporations in the US only works if markets are perfectly efficient. This flawed theory has led to corporate decision-making that centers shareholders above all else, including other stakeholders (e.g., workers), long-term business growth, and economic health. This shareholder-first ideology is referred to as “shareholder primacy,” which does not reflect … Read More
The Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice–In 1985, Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ) members initiated and mobilized bipartisan support for Congressional legislation which established the Presidential Task Force on Project Economic Justice under President Ronald Reagan. Project Economic Justice, which was first conceived in a strategy paper authored by CESJ, offered a revolutionary economic alternative to military solutions to regional conflicts in Central America and the Caribbean. Enacted as part of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985, this legislation created the first presidential task force to be totally funded with private donations and supported by both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States and the European Community, The Hon. J. William Middendorf II, served as Chairman. CESJ’s president, Norman G. Kurland, served as deputy chairman.
The origins of the next radical economy is rooted in a tradition that has empowered people for centuries and is now making a comeback. A new feudalism is on the rise. While monopolistic corporations feed their spoils to the rich, more and more of us are expected to live gig to gig. But, as Nathan … Read More
Do firms with employee ownership (EO) programs exhibit greater employment stability in the face of economic downturns? In particular, are firms with EO programs less likely to lay off workers during negative shocks? In this article, we examine the relationship between EO programs and employment stability in the United States using longitudinal Form 5500‐CompuStat matched … Read More
The employee benefits of employee ownership are not fully studied. This case contributes to understanding how employee ownership may reduce gender and racial wealth gaps, build family well-being, and become a model for structuring opportunity for those traditionally left out of the economic mainstream.
The benefits of employee ownership as a strategy for achieving broad-based prosperity are well documented—but the growing field of impact investing has yet to fully recognize the key opportunity employee ownership presents for tackling economic inequality. In this Fifty by Fifty research brief, Mary Ann Beyster explores the existing landscape of employee ownership opportunities for … Read More
When Workers Become Owners Professors Joseph Blasi, Richard Freeman, and Douglas Kruse explain how sharing the ownership or profits of a company with workers can improve productivity, pay, and work life quality – all while reducing economic inequality. Bonus – Jump on the Bandwagon Professors Blasi, Freeman, and Kruse stay post-interview to discuss why trade unions, business schools, and … Read More
This paper by Jared Bernstein shows that employee ownership appears to have a small equalizing impact on wealth and wage distributions.
Can We Do It Ourselves focuses on economic philosophy with an emphasis on the concept of economic democracy. The film helps viewers understand the difference between a market economy in which consumer demand drives a company’s supply of goods and services, and a capitalist economy in which private owners control production and hold a right to … Read More
The Economics of Cooperative Enterprises is designed as a challenging integrative experience course for undergraduates. Students will be asked to retrospectively analyze their experiences as workers and consumers, evaluating the impact of organizational forms and industry structure. How do cooperative enterprises (including those on campus such as the People’s Market, Earthfoods, and Campus Design and … Read More
Even the rich are admitting that inequality is bad for business…
In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of … Read More
Ownership and decision-making are key issues in the economic restructuring taking place as economies struggle to emerge from the Great Recession, and technological change and globalization continue to place new demands on workers and firms. Corporate, labor, and policy leaders are increasingly recognizing the potential role of employee ownership, cooperatives, profit sharing, and other ways … Read More
In the wake of the 2010 Massey mining disaster in West Virginia, the author asks whether employee ownership could improve workplace safety, and how such cooperatives might serve as a model for an alternative form of capitalism based on the sustainable use of natural and human resources.
How could the managing director maintain the firm’s cooperative structure, address the nutritional needs of all Indians, make use of emerging technology, and navigate the country’s dairy policies in the coming years?
To make an economy that serves us, we need to own the jobs and the businesses—together. How cooperatives are leading the way to empowered workers and healthy communities…
Capitalism is living in interesting times. Politicians, academics and activists around the world are debating the merits of the capitalist system, and how and if it could be improved…
Integrating art, business and education, this documentary film captures inspiring stories of employees and founders from three companies, each structured with distinct forms of broad-based employee ownership, who share an insider’s view of shared wealth and responsibility, high involvement culture, and their approaches and challenges in creating opportunity and prosperity through ownership.
This special edition of The Nation brings together a wide range of articles on new ways to shape capitalism, and to work on economic recovery.
The Center for Economic and Social Justice is a non-profit, non-partisan education and research organization dedicated to promoting economic justice on a global scale by expanding capital ownership to a broader segment of society.
Louis O. Kelso (1913-91) was a political economist in the classical tradition of Smith, Marx and Keynes. He was also a corporate and financial lawyer, author, lecturer and merchant banker who is chiefly remembered today as the inventor and pioneer of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), the prototype of the leveraged buy-out which Kelso invented to enable working people without savings to buy stock in their employer company and pay for it out of its future dividend yield.
Employee ownership plans transform a company’s culture, because employees adopt the mentality of owners; they work harder and become more involved in process improvement and cost management, causing their company’s net income to increase at a faster rate.