Worker-Owners of America, Unite!

Gar Alperovitz chimes in on the re-evolutionary convergence of capitalism and socialism into a hybrid paradigm in a recent article in the NY Times:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone, and whether they continue to have an impact or not, they have brought an astounding fact to the public’s attention: a mere 1 percent of Americans own just under half of the country’s financial assets and other investments. America, it would seem, is less equitable than ever, thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.

But at another level, something different has been quietly brewing in recent decades: more and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model. We may, in fact, be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.

Some 130 million Americans, for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions. More than 13 million Americans have become worker-owners of more than 11,000 employee-owned companies, six million more than belong to private-sector unions.

And worker-owned companies make a difference …

Read More: NY Times

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  • Hadrian999

    co-ops are great but only seem to work up to a certain level, once you pass a point on the technology ladder they become impossible due to the front end cost of establishing a manufacturing center or the coast of developing your product such as automobiles or high end consumer products like televisions of other kinds of electronics.

  • Hadrian999

    co-ops are great but only seem to work up to a certain level, once you pass a point on the technology ladder they become impossible due to the front end cost of establishing a manufacturing center or the coast of developing your product such as automobiles or high end consumer products like televisions of other kinds of electronics.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      I think you’re ignoring the vast number of alternative organizational principles–like employee owned companies.  Gar touches on only a few of these, but they’re mentioned right in the article if you read the whole thing.

      Co-ops aren’t the only tool in the kit.

      • Hadrian999

        i think it will be very difficult for employee owned companies to compete at the top of the business food chain due to high cost and riskiness of r and d

  • Miss Crdrew

    Where does this guy get his info that OWS has mostly come and gone?  Just because the NYT doesn’t give OWS it’s due?  Propaganda at it’s finest…

  • Miss Crdrew

    Where does this guy get his info that OWS has mostly come and gone?  Just because the NYT doesn’t give OWS it’s due?  Propaganda at it’s finest…

  • LSA

    Doesn’t anyone read Chomsky? This is the core belief of Libertarian Socialism.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      No.  Nobody reads Chomsky.

      Of course my response is a gross over-generalization.  And it doesn’t address the fact that no one reads Alperovitz either (vide supra).  It also glibly glosses over the fact that Chomsky is right about most things, maybe giving him a rather short shrift.

      I think Chomsky’s maybe got a few factors working against him.  He’s an academic in a country with a vigorous hatred of intellectual elitism, though it be combined with an indulgent love for raw material wealth and political power.  That central fact overlaps with a basic personal unattractiveness and lack of pithiness that are f*cking poison in this high-gloss consumerist media environment.

      And Chomsky tells disturbing truths.  Not good for business, that.  Drives customers away.  Make ‘em feel uneasy.

      Not that Alperovitz is necessarily any different.  Don’t know him myself.  But his (relative) anonymity here is useful.  Doesn’t come with the Chomsky baggage, and he’s first coming to my attention in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street thing–when dissent is just beginning to become socially acceptable, if not actually fashionable.

      So I get your point–nothing new here in absolute terms.   But some of us haven’t seen this before, at least not packaged in just this way.  So I guess it’s worth something in that respect.

      • Andrew

        > when dissent is just beginning to become socially acceptable, if not actually fashionable

        Perfect time for an Indefinite Detention bill.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          LOL!  Yes!  Now anyone can participate!

          But seriously, these things tend to backfire horribly.  Not that thousands of lives won’t be needlessly ruined in the interim, but history shows time and time again that heavy-handed police responses lead to increased support for previously marginal positions.A la General St. John Maxwell . . . http://youtu.be/r9nj_oQ24FY

  • LSA

    Doesn’t anyone read Chomsky? This is the core belief of Libertarian Socialism.

  • Anonymous

    I think you’re ignoring the vast number of alternative organizational principles–like employee owned companies.  Gar touches on only a few of these, but they’re mentioned right in the article if you read the whole thing.

    Co-ops aren’t the only tool in the kit.

  • Anonymous

    No.  Nobody reads Chomsky.

    Of course my response is a gross over-generalization.  And it doesn’t address the fact that no one reads Alperovitz either (vide supra).  It also glibly glosses over the fact that Chomsky is right about most things, maybe giving him a rather short shrift.

    I think Chomsky’s maybe got a few factors working against him.  He’s an academic in a country with a vigorous hatred of intellectual elitism, though it be combined with an indulgent love for raw material wealth and political power.  That central fact overlaps with a basic personal unattractiveness and lack of pithiness that are f*cking poison in this high-gloss consumerist media environment.

    And Chomsky tells disturbing truths.  Not good for business, that.  Drives customers away.  Make ‘em feel uneasy.

    Not that Alperovitz is necessarily any different.  Don’t know him myself.  But his (relative) anonymity here is useful.  Doesn’t come with the Chomsky baggage, and he’s first coming to my attention in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street thing–when dissent is just beginning to become socially acceptable, if not actually fashionable.

    So I get your point–nothing new here in absolute terms.   But some of us haven’t seen this before, at least not packaged in just this way.  So I guess it’s worth something in that respect.

  • Andrew

    > when dissent is just beginning to become socially acceptable, if not actually fashionable

    Perfect time for an Indefinite Detention bill.

  • Anonymous

    LOL!  Yes!  Now anyone can participate!

    But seriously, these things tend to backfire horribly.  Not that thousands of lives won’t be needlessly ruined in the interim, but history shows time and time again that heavy-handed police responses lead to increased support for previously marginal positions.A la General St. John Maxwell . . . http://youtu.be/r9nj_oQ24FY

  • Hadrian999

    i think it will be very difficult for employee owned companies to compete at the top of the business food chain due to high cost and riskiness of r and d

  • Guest

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  • Guest

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  • Guest

    communism communism communism

  • Smoketnt

    ‘ thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.’ We do not have anything resembling that. That’s like calling Cuba a lasseiz-faire utopia, its just simply not true. The government picks the winners and everyone else fights for the scraps, were it truly a capitalist system there would be no corporate protection, monopoly bailouts, and absurd IP protection.

  • Smoketnt

    ‘ thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.’ We do not have anything resembling that. That’s like calling Cuba a lasseiz-faire utopia, its just simply not true. The government picks the winners and everyone else fights for the scraps, were it truly a capitalist system there would be no corporate protection, monopoly bailouts, and absurd IP protection.

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