"Worker-Owners of America, Unite": Will Cooperative Workplaces Democratize U.S. Economy?
As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to protest record levels of wealth and income inequality, we turn to an author who says the U.S. economy might be becoming more democratic. Gar Alperovitz argues in an op-ed in today’s New York Times that we may be in the midst of a profound transition toward an economy characterized by more democratic structures of ownership. Alperovitz finds that 130 million Americans are members of some kind of cooperative, and 13 million Americans work in an employee-owned company. He says the United States may be heading toward something very different from both corporate-dominated capitalism and from traditional socialism. “I think we’re seeing a change in attitude, both increasing doubts about what’s now going on in the economy, deep doubts, very deep doubts—thanks to Occupation, it’s crystallized—but this other trend of saying, ‘What do you want? Where are we going?’ in some ways to democratize the economy in a very American way,” Alperovitz says.