About Me

Find out more about me here.

07 September 2016

Political Economy, Employees, and Consumers: Who Should Own the Corporation?

Privately owned corporations--even those with virtuous corporate cultures and ethics--exist for and are legally bound to making profit for their shareholders. This is generally (though by no means universally) agreed to be problematic for a number of reasons. Here is a quick question that I've been thinking on, though: Is there a practical distinction to be made between consumer-owned cooperatives (CC's)  and employee-owned collectives (EC's)? Good examples of CC's would include credit unions and mutual insurance companies. Good examples of EC's in the U.S. would include Publix and New Belgium Brewing. Though EC's are more democratic, I wonder whether there might be instances in which we might prefer CC's to EC's. To use an example from above, is it better to have a financial institution that is controlled by its employees or by its customers? Would I rather my money work for me or trust that the best interests of the employees are also my best interest?

Inspired in part by Wilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett. 2010. The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. (esp. pp. 252-263) New York: Bloomsbury Press.

No comments:

Post a Comment