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Worker Cooperatives--a genuine Third Way

By       Message Brian Cooney       (Page 1 of 6 pages)     Permalink

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The structure of ownership and control in most American corporations is seriously flawed. It creates an adversarial relationship between workers and those who own or manage workplaces. Fortunately, a better alternative is emerging in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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This alternative is a genuine "third way," different from both socialism and capitalism as usually understood. It is workers owning their workplaces, especially in the form of worker cooperatives.

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A worker cooperative is not socialist. It is a private enterprise, owned by those who do its work, and competing in a free market. A system based on worker cooperatives is not capitalist, since it refuses to treat workplaces as commodities to be bought and sold by outsiders.

In a typical American corporation owners are shareholders whose interests are represented by a board of directors who oversee hired management. The goal of the corporation is to maximize the returns of shareholders on their investment. The goal of its workers is to maximize their income and benefits (at a cost to the corporation).

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I'm a retired philosophy professor at Centre College. I also am a regular columnist for The Danville Advocate-Messenger,the local paper in what was my home town (I now live in Connecticut. My last book was Posthumanity-Thinking Philosophically (more...)

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