We have all been embedded in both systems for all our lives. We were born into them and we probably seldom consider their incompatibility and how one negatively impacts the other.
Depending on which system has the upper-hand at any given point in our history, this incompatibility either helps or harms citizens. Currently, the economic system has the upper-hand and economic/wealth inequality has again been maximized. Our lifespans are decreasing, our personal debt is at record levels, our healthcare is only for those who can afford it, and wage growth has been stagnant since the 70s.
This economic/political systems conflict, that is now harming more citizens than helping, comes down to democratic principles. Our political system is based on democratic principles, where majority rule is a key element and we can get laws passed to minimize economic, social, racial, and environmental harming of citizens. Our economic system, however, is based on authoritarian principles where minority rule is a key element and laws are passed that maximize gains for that minority. America has survived the shifting of power between the majority and oligarchy in the past, but the current cycle needs to end in favor of the majority. We need to broadly implement democratic principles in our economic system to eliminate this harmful incompatibility.
Democratic economic systems have and do exist. They have existed in regions of Spain since the end of WWII. They exist on a small scale across the United states, but need to be applied nationally to eliminate the detrimental conflict between our political and economic system.
“Social change and systems change go hand-in-hand. Movements for democracy and human rights are most effective when they aim to transform unjust, unequitable economic systems. In this episode, Laura travels to Spain to learn how people in two of the regions most brutally repressed under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco built the world’s largest worker-owned co-ops. From the Basque Country to Barcelona, she speaks with co-op members who explain how cooperation and humanist models of business helped their parents and grandparents survive dictatorship. She also explores how these models are transforming under contemporary circumstances, including the emergence of digital platforms, the renewal of the regional independence movements, and the growth of the Spanish right wing.”
“In this episode, we speak with Michael Peck, the US representative of Mondragon—the largest worker co-op in the world—about the history of Mondragon, how it became one of the most successful enterprises in Spain, and lessons we can take away in the movement to build worker owned co-ops in our own communities.”
“In the second half of the show, Professor Wolff interviews John Duda from the Democracy Collaborative and one of the founders of Red Emma's Book store Coffeehouse, a 30-member worker cooperative in Baltimore.”
“A changed socialism has emerged, focused on a transition of workplaces from top-down hierarchical capitalist structures into democratic worker cooperatives. The powerful appeal of worker co-ops as grounding a new 21st century socialism is presented.”
"The morally right option is the one that maximizes equality by equally protecting and empowering the greatest number of citizens.” — Andy Hailey
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