From The Nation:
By prioritizing worker autonomy, co-ops provide more sustainable long-term employment, but not only because worker-owners seek to protect their own livelihoods. If a company runs into economic distress, Perotin says, co-ops are generally more adept at preserving jobs while planning longer-term adjustments to the firm’s operations, such as slowing down expansion to maintain current assets—whereas traditional corporations may pay less attention to strategic planning and simply shed jobs to tighten budgets.
While co-ops vary in form, the underlying philosophy, particularly in Europe, is the co-op as both democratic enterprise and public trust. Often worker-owned firms are mandated—either by law or corporate bylaws—to reserve a portion of assets for longer-term preservation of the integrity of the co-op model. Even if the owners close or leave the business, these indivisible assets are recycled back into future co-op generations or co-op support organizations. The practice seems less common among American co-ops, but in European co-op culture, Perotin observes, “we set up a collective good, we set up an institution for future generations.”
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