Business & Economy

Yes, There Is an Alternative to Capitalism: Mondragon Shows the Way


Richard Wolff

Critiques of capitalism are never in short supply, something that is especially the case since the 2008 financial crash. The challenge is that while most of these critiques point out problems with the current system, they typically fail to offer any viable alternative—and capitalists are quick to point out the failed socialist experiments as examples of any attempts to do just that. Yet, problems continue to surface within capitalism leaving many on a continued quest for reform of the status quo.

Richard Wolff is one such person. Fortunately, he believes he has found such an alternative in the Mondragon Corporation (MC). Founded in 1956 in the Basque region of Spain by a Catholic priest as a response to the post-civil poverty around him, MC is a worker-cooperative that is now one of Spain’s largest corporations in terms of both sales and employees. In this article, Wolff points to many of the unique features within MC that help it stand apart from typical capitalist forms of organization. Some of these examples include limiting top-paid worker-members to salaries 6.5 times that of the lowest salaries, a high commitment to job security amidst changing needs in staffing. This allows each of the worker-members to choose, hire, and fire its directors. For those who are interested in exploring alternative ways of doing business, learning more about MC is a great place to start.

Is Wolff right in presenting Mondragon as a viable alternative to capitalist business practices?

What challenges would people face if they adopted some of Mondragon’s policies within other work settings?

Source: The Guardian

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