9. Co-ops and Worker-Owned Businesses
Kentucky needs more co-ops and worker-owned businesses because they can bring democracy into the workplace.
According to Professor Richard D. Wolff (at the University of Massachusetts Amherst), "the term 'coops' covers many different things: collective buying institutions (e.g. food coops), collective selling institutions (individual small capitalist enterprises who get together to sell their products), collective owners (farmers who own collectively the land they farm in individual farms). We are mostly interested in yet another type or meaning of coop: when workers in an enterprise collectively function as their own board of directors, thereby not needing any separate group of people functioning as a board of directors. We call this sort of coop a Workers Self-Directed Enterprise..."
Professor Wolff notes that "with the huge Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in northern Spain – it is quite clear that its member coops (Workers Self-Directed Enterprises) have failed at lower rates than their capitalist counterparts over the last 50 years. Historical evidence suggests that enterprises are very complicated and complex things utterly dependent for their survival on the interplay of external conditions (over many of which they exert little or no control) and internal conditions (all the technical and interpersonal aspects of producing and distributing goods and services). Special sets of conditions bring enterprises into existence. Changing conditions change those enterprises."