01 October, 2019

Workplace Democracy and Democratic Ownership

"Workplace Democracy and Democratic Ownership: moving from theory to strategy". Richard Wolff and Gar Alperovitz at Left Forum, 2013.

Some very interesting and unexpected revelations come out of this debate - worker co-ops alone will solve nothing as they will inevitably recreate all of the same problems regarding market competition and consumption that you get with laissez-faire capitalism - the only difference will be workers rather than bosses will have to become cutthroat in order to survive. 

So what is the solution? Society must control the economy, not the other way around. Top-down Stalinist type controlled economies didn't work either - so what does the relationship between society and the workplace need to be in order to make work work for the benefit of all?

Gar Alperovitz hints at a possible way out looking his work with steel workers in Youngstown Ohio in 1977... democratic community ownership of companies and resources, rather than worker cooperatives, as a way of really democratising the means of production (and distribution and digital infrastructure, in the modern world), and subsequently the entire economy.

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