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The Megamachine and the Roots of the Planetary Crisis

Classical socialism, often defined simply as worker ownership of the means of production (physical capital, such as plant and equipment, the original meaning of the word) is on the wane, rapidly being displaced by more nuanced arrangements. I just finished re-reading E. F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful for (I think) the third time. Older now, I see and understand his ideas more deeply. I especially recommend Chapter 19, “New Patterns of Ownership,” particularly the section on The Scott Bader Commonwealth." The book was published in 1973, by which time that commonwealth had matured from an ordinary capitalist enterprise, though more generous to labor than most, to a mature commonwealth. Today we call such arrangements “Worker Owned Enterprises,” and they are multiplying like rabbits. Well known examples include King Arthur Flour, W. W. Norton Publishers, and many more. Many are formed when the owners of a company wish to retire and wish also to avoid a sale to Global Megacorp.

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Simply add a character directly before the h. I use ~ but I’ve also seen ^ and I’m sure some other ones work.

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The Mondragon Corporation in the Basque region in Spain acts as the parent company to over a hundred co-ops with a combined workforce of 80,000 or so people. Rephrase that to a combined ownership of over 80,000 people.
Executive pay is capped at eight times the lowest paid worker.
Dream on workers in hyper-capitalist America.

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Yes, a remarkable story. Mondragon has survived several severe setbacks, most of its own making, and continues to thrive. It may be the best we can do at this point in time, but I would be more comfortable with it if it would veer away from its pure capitalist enterprises (criticized by Chomsky and others). I’m not convinced that expansion in that direction is worth the price OR the risks.

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