Many social justice activists are at least vaguely aware of the famous Mondragon experiment in worker ownership in Spain's Basque country. The web page below reviews five books on the phenomenon and is the best one-stop introduction to Mondragon history and economics we've run across thus far.
Now a federation of 256 cooperatives with nearly 100,000 participants and over 12 billion Euros in annual sales, Mondragon deserves deep scrutiny by anyone trying to envision a post-corporate world. One aspect we particularly like is that the average size of all cooperatives is about 330 members - well within our maximum ideal org size of 500 or three standard dunbar deviations from perfect human-scale relatedness. - Ed.
|Worker-owner in Mondragon coop factory|
Mondragon as a Bridge to a New Socialismby Carl Davidson
Solidarity Economy Network
Something important for both socialist theory and working-class alternatives has been steadily growing in Spain’s Basque country over the past 50 years, and is now spreading slowly across Spain, Europe and the rest of the globe.
It’s an experiment, at once radical and practical, in how the working-class can become the masters of their workplaces and surrounding communities, growing steadily and successfully competing with the capitalism of the old order and laying the foundations of something new—it’s known as the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC).
Just what that ‘something new’ adds up to is often contested. Some see the experiment as a major new advance in a centuries-old cooperative tradition, while a few go further and see it as a contribution to a new socialism for our time. A few others see it both as clever refinement of capitalism and as a reformist diversion likely to fail. Still others see it as a ‘third way’ full of utopian promise simply to be replicated anywhere in whatever way makes sense to those concerned.
The reality of an experiment on the scale on Mondragon, involving more than 100,000 workers in 120 core industrial, service and educational coops, is necessarily complex. It can contain all these features contending within itself at once.
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