Liberal democracy is in crisis around the world, unable to address pressing problems such as climate change. There is, however, another path–cooperation democracy. From consumer co-ops to credit unions, worker cooperatives to insurance mutuals, nonprofits to mutual aid, countless examples prove that people working together can extend the ideals of participatory democracy and sustainability into … Read More
How we structure ownership and work in healthcare matters. As a society, we underpay and under-support—under-care-for—the very workers we rely on to provide health and care services to others. The COVID-19 pandemic briefly spotlighted this fact as health workers braved risks to care for the vulnerable. The worst of that crisis has passed—but the extractive … Read More
Can a nonhierarchical organization set its own rules? Can it avoid reproducing hierarchy and exploitation in order to better support its clients and workers? Can it survive, as a consensus-based organization, within the system of capitalism and within institutional settings that expect hierarchy? This case study examines Alliance Collective, an anti-authoritarian therapy collective of practitioners … Read More
This Kent State University course is motivated by the broad question: what role can workplace democracy and employee ownership play in creating an economy that works for all? Workplace democracy and employee ownership take a multitude of forms and are receiving renewed attention from public officials, the business community, social movement leaders, and academics. Nearly … Read More
Currently, there is renewed interest in organizations providing greater economic benefits to its members given the widening divide among social classes. A major source of alternatives to capitalist organizations in the U.S. was the co-operative movement sponsored by the Knights of Labor during 1870–1889. This study examines cases of the Knights’ producer cooperatives to understand … Read More
The global Covid pandemic and the Third Reconstruction and renewed labor activism within the U.S. challenge us to find more humane, sustainable, and egalitarian ways of living and working. Those in the labor movement and the cooperative movement, who have been working to build union cooperatives, offer a vision for one type of more humane, … Read More
An urgent and deeply resonant case for the power of workplace democracy to restore balance between economy and society. What happens to a society—and a planet—when capitalism outgrows democracy? The tensions between democracy and capitalism are longstanding, and they have been laid bare by the social effects of COVID-19. The narrative of “essential workers” has … Read More
Free market capitalism is one of the great achievements of humankind, bringing prosperity and economic freedom to billions of people and contributing to a flowering of individual freedom and possibility that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors. Today, however, increasing global crises are posing the greatest threat this economic system has faced. Growing income … Read More
In Co-operative Struggles, Denise Kasparian expands the theoretical horizons regarding labour unrest by proposing new categories to make visible and conceptualize conflicts in the new worker co-operativism of the 21st century. After the depletion of neoliberal reforms at the dawn of the 21st century in Argentina, co-operativism gained momentum, mainly due to the recuperation of … Read More
Policies and practices of the 19th and 20th centuries have had a lasting impact into this century. This is most evident when examining racialized wealth inequality between Black and White families. This study of low-income employee owners examines the following questions: (1) Does employee ownership reduce the racial wealth gap? (2) How does employee ownership … Read More
This article evaluates worker-owned and unionized worker-owned cooperatives as alternatives to the conventional corporate structures for businesses in the United States. With their focus on democratic governance and shared ownership, worker-owned cooperatives offer an antidote to the extreme inequality of income and deterioration of working conditions that workers are experiencing. These are inequities for which … Read More
Competitiveness today requires being able to operate at a global scale. The financial crisis invigorated this requirement, posing new challenges to the economic viability of conventional companies and demanding alternative organizational forms of production. Although a wealth of research has focused on capitalist companies, little attention has been paid to the way these challenges affected … Read More
Rising inequality of income and power, along with recent convulsions in the finance sector, have made the search for alternatives to unbridled capitalism more urgent than ever. Yet few are attempting this task—most analysts argue that any attempt to rethink our social and economic relations is utopian. Erik Olin Wright’s major new work is a … Read More
In the mid-1970s employee ownership was a fringe phenomenon in the US. Today more than one in six US private sector employees now own shares in their company, and more than one in 12 US private sector employees now participate in an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
Is worker-ownership an instrument for solidarity and social change? Will its organizational form stimulate a social consciousness that leads members to be involved with social movements such as community development, labor activism, environmental campaigning, or human rights promotion? To answer these questions Luhman offers textual data that suggest that worker-ownership may be an effective instrument for solidarity and social change dependent upon the collective political vision of the members.