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A Few Reflections on the Reasons Why Cooperative Firms Have Failed to Gain a Firm Foothold

DOI: 10.4236/ojbm.2015.33027, PP. 265-280

Keywords: Producer Cooperatives, Socialism, Mode of Production, Democracy, Darwinism

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After the inception of the cooperative movement in the mid-19th century, it was widely held that capitalistic businesses would soon be replaced by a system of worker-controlled firms and a wealth of policy proposals called for a major impulse to cooperation in later years also. But cooperation has not met with the hoped-for success. How do we account for this? To our day, employee management specialists have been unable to provide a satisfactory explanation for the fact that the policy proposal to introduce democratic firm control still carries little consensus despite the collapse of the Soviet model of communism. In this paper, we give some answers to the question and emphasise the idea that progress in the direction of a generalised system of cooperative firms would amount to a considerable improvement over capitalism, but will hardly be made without the effective contribution of intellectuals and political parties.


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