Joe Guinan has written a piece called Cooperative Enterprise and System Change which clarifies what this might mean in a short paper. Joe Guinan works in association with Gar Alperovitz at the Democracy Collaborative and in a similar theme on the pluralistic commonwealth go to the link here.
This blog mutualsforecondemocracy is an attempt to prompt thought and action around this theme with emphasis on how a culture of “direct agency” or ” dong it ourselves” can be revived, similar to early cooperative pioneers operating in unfavourable circumstances such as the early British cooperatives in the 1820-40s. The other example is the Mondragon Coops that emerged in the Basque Country (1956) after the Spanish Civil war under a dictatorship. We are today blighted by a quasi authoritarian economic system which impacts on politics that tends to inequality and exclusion . Democracy as a practise is blighted while excluded from the economic aspects of our lives. A key element in the pioneering periods was a community including workers, able to socialize and democratize capital though autonomous means by using a mutual instruments, like a credit union, where savings can be invested and then used to finance cooperatives. This requires a symmetry of benefits, so that the interest of all stakeholders are cared for without capital as investments dominating. Some savings will belong to the community as retained surpluses or individual savings, often including those of the retired, all stakeholder groups need consideration without undermining the democratic multi-stakeholder relationship of which Worker cooperative and co ownerships can be a central aspect. This seems to be best achieved in a federative systemic relationship and with democratic finance and education, research and training, enabling support to an incubatory culture that allows democratic enterprises to emerge . Things might begin to be different if there are enough people willing to risk trying to do enterprise in an equitable and democratic way, but then there has to be done with competence to become a reality.
If interested scroll to first blog which gives an idea of the theme of the site: 1. Is there a Mutual Road to Economic Democracy?