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February 04, 2011




Adam Bell

I'm a bit surprised that you somehow skipped over the part where it's much easier for stockmarket-listed firms to raise finance by issuing shares. Readier access to capital will be a factor in their success. Financing for worker-owned firms is perhaps the strongest barrier to the sort of workplace democracy you're after.

Luis Enrique

I don't think that's a glibertarian question, I think it's interesting that there might be opportunities for large productivity gains going left unexploited, and understanding why is important stuff. It's not even as if letting workers design their own compensation schemes is terribly costly or difficult.


In the 19th century cooperatives (in the US at least) also faced a lot of firms which refused to deal with them. A lot of this opposition was ideological in origin as well. Another thing holding back worker operated firms.


Shirom, Ari. 1972. ‘The Industrial Relations System of Industrial Cooperatives in the United States, 1880-1935’ Labor History 13(4), 533-51.


Perhaps this demonstrates the difference between US unions and european unions? It has always been a mystery to me why unions are demonized in the US, and there is some evidence that they did not perform well at times, while European unions and their companies have remained productive.



You're massively overestimating the number of law firms which are worker-owned.

Over half of law firms are sole practices, so clearly the usual issues for firms do not obtain. Once you get beyond a few partners, they tend to want to hire associates, so they can profit from the associates' labour.

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