Manistee News – There’s no reason workers can’t be corporate owners

From the Manistee News:

Worker-owned businesses might not act much differently from conventional companies in the market. Whether a company is owned by outside shareholders or by its own employees, the incentive to maximize profits should be similar. It seems unlikely that cooperatives would be more altruistic, honest or socially responsible than the corporations that exist now. The big differences would come in the way companies are organized, and who reaps the benefits. Corporate profits now represent about 6.6% of U.S. gross domestic income, while labor compensation is 43.2%. That means that if profits flowed to workers instead of distant shareholders, the average worker could get a raise of about 15%.

What’s more, cooperatives might help reduce inequality. Workers in a cooperative can vote to pay executives less and pay themselves more, making the compensation structure more egalitarian for the entire company. There is some evidence that this happens. Mondragon Corp., Spain’s largest worker-owned business, pays its chief executive officer just nine times as much as the average worker — a much lower ratio than most companies in the U.S. It’s hard to measure, but flatter corporate hierarchies might yield intangible benefits, too. Instead of feeling like rented labor, workers who own part of their employer might feel a greater sense of ownership, pride, control and loyalty.

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