Buying Companies To Hand Them Over To Their Workers

I’m currently reading Looking Forward: Participatory Economics For the Twenty First Century which is basically a book about companies and organizations that have no hierarchy. It’s brilliant.

It got me thinking. You know how there is the Rolling Jubilee and Google Will Eat Itself two organizations that basically use money for purposes that either topple the source of the money or relieve people from the debt of money. So I was thinking that someone should start a Rolling Co-op where we would collect money from people to eventually buy companies and then release the employees from the hierarchy of their company and give the entire company back to the employees and the workers. I think that could certainly catch on. It would be a similar move that this man made when he gave away his grocery store to his employees when he retired. How awesome would it be to give the entire company over to the employees and start them on a path of participatory economics where they actually control their own organization and business. Awesome.

One Comment

  • Dear Nathan:

    This practicing Christian and Socialist Party member finds this idea intriguing. Access to the means of production and distribution seems to be presumed in the cultural mandate to ‘keep’ the earth and bring to fruition the productive potential endued in the earth at creation.

    But the Genesis prologue introduces other motifs. Beside the ‘cultural mandate’ is something generally called ‘the fall.’ God’s good earth seems to have become ‘stingy.’ In a post-lapsarian world, fruition is impeded as weeds and thorns lay claim to the good of the earth.

    While no competent exegete deduces a ‘one-on-one’ equation from the analogy, this picture is suggestive of Marx’ language of ‘class struggle’ applied to social/productive relations. It would be interesting to study the moral logic underlying both parts of the analogy throughout Scripture.

    It would be interesting to study the moral logic underlying both parts of the analogy throughout Scripture. No competent exegete deduces a ‘one-on-one’ equation from the analogy. Yet Adam’s struggle to wrest good from the earth seems suggestive of Marx’ language of ‘class struggle’ applied to social/productive relations.

    While not endorsing Marxian theory, the story of Abram and Lot (Ge 13) does attest the potential for conflict based on resource scarcity. Of course other streams of Biblical witness (not the least of which is the Sabbath) speak to the struggle of living in a ‘fallen’ world. Together, I’m sure that these delineate a thoroughly ‘kingdom of God’ perspective on life IN that world. It is certain that the kingdom of this world and the empire of God are in conflict. Jesus’ kingdom parables witness that very clearly.

    Abram willingly ceded the ‘best’ territory to Lot, that this was anything but the end of the struggle between the lineage of Abram and Lot. Yet I’ve seen enough life (and read enough Marx) to be convinced that current struggles in productive relations will not be acquiesced so easily. Struggle is and shall continue to dominate – just as it has since the Genesis prologue.

    This leads to the observation that while the idea of worker management and control of the means of production and distribution ring true to the heart of every socialist, we cannot assume that the power to dominate and extort which derives from private ownership will not be ceded without a struggle. Capital is renowned for the continual reconstruction of itself in order to preserve at others’ expense the privilege and wealth which attends it.

    The strategy you describe continue until it becomes noticed. At that point, expect the option to be removed. So I am very much in sympathy with the idea and the objective that it intends to achieve; but I am not at all convinced that the necessarily ever-expanding system of privatized ownership known as Capitalism can afford to permit it long.

    Thank you for your piece.

    Village Idiot

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