Democratizing the Workplace

A cooperative, or co-op, is a jointly owned and democratically controlled business. It’s an organization that is jointly run by its members, who share the profits and benefits. These highly productive employee-owned companies help to build a more collaborative kind of economy based on heavily motivated workers. In essence, people over profit capitalism is a sort of inversion of the more standardized sole proprietorship to which the world has grown accustomed. An inclusive business model helps to reduce the growing wage gap between employees and their employer. In an ideal setting the ratio between the two should never really get past ten to one, although in many companies this can be as high as several hundred to one.

There is absolutely no good reason for one’s boss to earn so much more than they do. On top of that, big wig corporate executives have no right to run a company, or country, or continent, all on their own. This is why worldwide labor movements need to change the organization of enterprises everywhere. Sure, things like collective bargaining are a great start, but there needs to be more. We need unions and living wages and far less income inequality and dozens of other things. Taxing the hell out of the rich is good in regards to this, but corporate sponsored politicians typically prevent this kind of socialism from entering into legislation. The best solution in the free market of the global economy is just to have self-directed companies. Shareholders need to be made obsolete. It’s the only way to proceed.

Co-ops offer tremendous resilience to shocks like economic downturn. This more or less eliminates the need for cutbacks, drastically if not completely doing away with layoffs. Job security can then lead to job creation, which incentivizes investments in education. This creates a tremendous feedback loop of success. Plus, a cooperative would never close its doors to move somewhere with cheaper labor costs. It would be unthinkable for a co-op to go overseas to try and increase shareholder value. This could also make local products and services more favorable and give national brand name recognition, and so much more.

The list of benefits go on and on and on. The point is that employee-based commerce is the way to bring about necessary change. In a cooperative, it’s not the board of directors that makes all the decisions, it’s a general assembly of the workers themselves. This shift toward more collective decision-making and profit-sharing is revolutionary. Bottom-up, rather than top-down, economics could ultimately change the very nature of wealth distribution the world over. Democratizing enterprise is definitely the way of the future.