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After OccupyEconomic Democracy for the 21st Century$
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Tom Malleson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199330102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199330102.001.0001

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Worker Cooperatives in Practice

Worker Cooperatives in Practice

(p.54) 3 Worker Cooperatives in Practice
After Occupy

Tom Malleson

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the practical experience and empirical evidence that we have of democratic workplaces in the form of worker cooperatives. We assess this evidence by contrasting co-ops with conventional hierarchical firms, on the one hand, and egalitarian collectives, on the other. The central finding of the chapter is that the evidence shows that cooperatives operate with levels of economic efficiency that are comparable, if not superior, to normal capitalist firms. They are very much viable economic organizations. Moreover, they are socially superior in certain ways. There are, however, a number of important obstacles that keep co-ops rare, which will need to be overcome to enact any transition to an economy with widespread workplace democracy.

Keywords:   economic democracy, workplace democracy, worker cooperatives, workers’ cooperatives, cooperatives, egalitarian collectives, Mondragon, La Lega, hierarchical firms, capitalist firms

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