Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Co-op Boss

"Worker co-ops might be the key to alleviating inequality, if only someone would give them a loan."

Sheila Dewan, "Lose the Boss," New York Times Magazine, March 30, 2014.

It's great worker co-ops are "back in style," if that is true. And it's certainly refreshing to have a supportive overview in the mainstream press. My worry is that worker co-ops, as we know them, may address business churn and community disinvestment more than inequality. They are a stabilizer, and than is good. Many of the examples, however, provide jobs only a bit better than minimum wage -- or high-end lifestyle jobs  in high cost cities. Some of the enterprises mentioned are also deeply subsidized -- worker co-op welfare, I suppose. And as wonderful an example as Mondragon is, it has several tiers of workers and owners and finds itself rocked by the global economy. And we really don't lose the boss; we become the boss. That said, worker co-ops are worth more investment. Social investors should pay more attention.

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