[lbo-talk] Worker-Owners of America, Unite!

Wojtek S wsoko52 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 09:54:59 PST 2011

[WS:] I thought he overstated his case too. But I have been wondering why the idea of cooperativism is so unpopular in the Etats Unis. For example, cooperative housing is extremely popular in Europe and even in Canada, but here few would touch it even with a ten foot pole. Likewise, consumer coops are popular in Europe, but the best thing the Etats Unis can offer is "price clubs" (e.g. Costco) which are basically retailers by any other name.

I do not think cooperativism is a panacea, to say the least, but it can offer favorable alternatives to capitalist markets in several important areas of everyday life, such as housing, child care, recreation, social assistance, financial services, or retail. More importantly, firmly established cooperatives may provide financial basis for political organizations advancing cooperative interests, and thus act as countervailing power to corporate influences. And finally, cooperativism does not face any insurmountable obstacles even in the neo-liberal stronghold such as Etats Unis. All it takes is people pooling their resources and agreeing to work together to advance their common interests. Cooperative institutions exist and function rather well here, they just are not very popular.

One final thought - if cooperativism, which hardly has any socialist bone in it, is such a hard sell in the Etats Unis, this is a sure sign that anything overtly smacks of socialism, even the polite social democracy, is DOA.


On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 12:09 PM, Nathan S <n.crazeddoberman at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 7:55 PM, Wojtek S <wsoko52 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/opinion/worker-owners-of-america-unite.html
>> "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."
>> "And while the American public has long supported the capitalist
>> model, that, too, may be changing. In 2009 a Rasmussen poll reported
>> that Americans under 30 years old were “essentially evenly divided” as
>> to whether they preferred “capitalism” or “socialism.”
>> Wojtek
>> ___________________________________
>> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk
> "hybrid system"? That brief piece reads like liberalism with a few Fabian
> gestures, though I imagine next to David Brooks and Thomas Friedman it
> reads like, well, anything else. I note that "Some 130 million Americans,
> for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses" has "and
> credit unions" appended to it, and considering that many co-ops simply
> require a buy-in, I think that this more constitutes local and regional
> 'communitarianism' or something like that. "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" reads far more honestly
> to me, since 13 million is not exactly huge. That said, it is still early
> and I'm glad to hear that "don't trust anyone under 30" has been reversed.
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