What we can do to help bring about Economic Democracy

If you are weary of the near constant underlying assumptions pumped out by the media that the we are to accept the current economic settlement as TINA (there is no alternative ) then  see : What Then Can I do?  Ten Ways to Democratize the Economy,  by Gar Alperovitz and Keane Bhatt This points to the beginnings of  TAA (there are alternatives) ; a breath of fresh air. They work in the USA but many of their suggestions can be adjusted for the UK . There is already some interest among Welsh, Scottish,  and Cornish nationalist

The time is overdue, to break the spell over us  of powerful corporate and financial markets and their institutions .  They no doubt are very powerful and effective in shaping our lives, they have a near monopoly powers over media and institutional politics which is overawed by their neo con liberal criterion. The consequences are great differentials of wealth and power with often a capricious disregard of destructive effects on environment.

The path to act through conventional politics is limited and it may be  time to  reclaiming direct agency, that is building  directly democratic enterprises owned by workers and those in their community,  owned and directed by membership, as was done by the common people in the C19.   The hoped for effect would be a more equitable dispensation, which both distributes wealth to individuals while also building common wealth for all.   No doubt this will mean a process of trial and error but if smartly done, beneficial results will come through.  This will take economic self governance beyond the marginal , alternative  or flaky  to becoming a viable and significant sector based on economic democratic, extending citizenship to the economy.

Should popular spontaneous developments take off, the politics will follow, but by doing it ourselves then we can  own the solution.  These if succesful might influence developments both in the private and public sectors.  But to make progress more people have to support the modest developments that are emerging.

Some tips on how you can help:

This can take several forms active and passive.   Active might be setting up a democratic enterprises this could be a start-up, or passing on a running business to the staff on retirement or a rescue such as is happening with community shops or pubs that are closing down. A growth area are the community green community energy coops.  Worker coops can be of the collective common ownership type or the co-ownership type and the criterion that makes them cooperative is governance based on one person one vote.  All cooperative or mutual enterprises will have at least some collective ownership built into them but that needs not exclude some financial stake which can be conditional withdrawn, such as on retirement or period of notification.

Passive support can be given by being loyal customers to democratic enterprises but this is conditional on the product or service being adequate and of integrity.  Members of consumer coops tend to be loyal customers, and an engaged membership is good for the vitality of democratic enterprises.  Investments by workers and their supporting community is another way of supporting democratic  enterprises . Investments can be made to enterprises such as ICOF  Cooperative and Community Capital or subscribing to the emerging cooperative enterprises based on IPSs ( Industrial and Provident Societies) with their withdrawable shares issues.  Cooperatives are strengthened if they work in close mutual association especially through secondary cooperatives   There are several agencies from which to seek advice.

The underlying democratic  structure  of mutuals,  credit unions cooperative in all their forms,  is brought to life by membership engagement and some participation.  AGMs can be made more interesting and participatory . The internet allows for better informing and communication with members. Membership needs to be made meaningful, an examples are such mutuals as the Ecology Building Society  .

For further information on points made please  see links on Blogroll.

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