Re: that last boost, subtoot-ishing because IDK how on topic this is.

I've watched a lot of Richard Wolff lately and I love learning about workplace democracy. Coop-ifying and unionising the economy is unequivocally good.

But the one problem here is that a lot of these solutions are mostly labour based, and seems to take it granted that in a just world there's good work for everyone.

Is it so? Should it be so? Or should our livelihoods be detached from income and labour? Is this sustainable?

@cadadr A long time back (sometime between 2011 and 2018 probably), and likely on G+, I looked into co-ops and where and how they seem to work.

First, there are a number of different types of co-ops, including some HYUUUUGE producer co-ops. Visa and Mastercard both started as same, though they reverted to a more traditional business organisation in the 1990s AFAIR. Former CEO Dee Hock has written two books on his "chaordic" principles, "Birth of the Chaordic Age" and "One from Many".

Worker co-ops are a different story, and (from memory, not notes), I recall these being mostly fairly loosely-organised activities, with Wolff's favourite, the Mondragon Co-operative, being the notable exception.

  • Food service, especially restaurants, cafes, and groceries.
  • Some farms.
  • Acting groups. The San Francisco Mime Troup, maybe, or another group Peter Coyote was active with in the 1960s/70s.
  • Several publishing houses.
  • Smaller technical activities, such as bike shops and the like.

What you don't see a lot of is massive technical or industrial concerns, at least not that have come across. No Co-Op Ford, GM, Siemans, IBM, or Boeing (though the Free Software movement might be an alternative organisational model). There's a lot of creative work (where individuals are highly independent), or loosely-coordinated work (restaurants/cafes). Little that's got strict regulation or trust concerns.

There are also worker-owned companies and co-op housing (a form of asset ownership), among others.

@dredmorbius Wrt that last bit Wolff recently talked about a policy proposal of UK Labour party where workers get state subsidised right of first refusal when companies are being sold, which could see the transition of those huge-capital huge-industry corporations to worker owned democratic structures.

Thinking about that I now imagine a competitor in aeronautics being funded on indiegogo 😂

"$5: Supporter in spirit.
You get a model Doeing A696 and a 2030 agenda signed by all the workers!"


@cadadr There's a set of ideas I've been chasing for a few years under the general heading .

The question isn't how to get the money. Tue question is if financial constraints were lifted --- if you had access to an unlimited supply of financial capital, even if just as a thought experiment --- what are the changes, policies, services, institutions, etc., you'd put in place to improve overall conditions.

One variant of that looks at bootstrapping a collective / cooperative / worker-owned / resident-owned combine. Probably focusing on the Maslovian base (food, shelter, security), and building from there.

Whether that could be made to work, and what the hitches might be, I'm not sure of.

Ideally, the system would be self-sustaining, if not necessarily rolling in dough.

@dredmorbius Rather than Maslovian base, I'd go for Maslovian half: split the pyramid in half along the vertical median and one half is squarely dependent on economy and labour.

E.g. for sexuality and intimacy see Ghodsee's interviews on Democracy at Work, it's astonishing how it affects all levels of M's hierarchy.

Another aspect is e.g. higher ed., coopified universities could give power to students and researchers over the abusive ecclesiastic structure we have inherited from Charlemagne.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!