1) Is there a Mutual Road to Economic Democracy?
“Knowledge and Union are power: directed by knowledge, is happiness: happiness is the end of creation.” William King
Extending democratic governance to the economy might advance a transformation to a more equitable economy in the workplace and community. This potentially can be at least in part be done by “direct agency” or “do it ourself” means; need this aspiration be utopian? The politics could perhaps follow direct doing. Incremental modest savings or contributions, as done with credit and trade unions, can be built up as social venture capital and be used to invest in the developments of a variety of new co-operative enterprises. Mutual fund organizations can also act as commonwealth trust bodies that hold revolving funds derived from governmental or other sources. In addition democratic commonwealths can take the form of cooperative land trusts.
Self sufficient membership organizations give the initiative and autonomy to workers and communities to pioneer cooperative enterprises. This possibility can only become significant if viable, beneficial and seen as such so attracting sufficient support. Mutual funds derived from the community and grants put capital into a social relationship which serves labour and community within a symmetry of benefits that underwrite democratic enterprise. This need not rule out experimental pilot projects. The build up of mutual capital in the service of workers and communities is a necessary but not sufficient condition for supporting a new cooperative emergence. Other pieces of the jig saw puzzle are a culture that supports education, research, product or service development with the training to deliver these so leading to competently administered enterprises which are financially coherent. This is most likely to happen if there are federative relationships of mutual support including a community of support willing to buy, invest and participate; all are vital ingredients. If there are possibilities of improvements to what there is, then people are required to risk trying new solutions; do you want to ? Economic Democracy will not lead to some perfection but is probably more conducive to ecological and social sustainability and needs working for.
William King, Rochdale Pioneers, G. D. H Cole, Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, the Mondragon Cooperatives, David Schweickart, Richard Wolff and Gar Alperovitz are some of the inspirations for these proposals. Are these Suggestions possible in the UK and what might make them happen in a significant way?
( An abstract of work in progress)