IWCA-Economic democracy: the need for a vision (part 2)

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Oct 21 2010 10:43
IWCA-Economic democracy: the need for a vision (part 2)
Economic democracy: the need for a vision (part 2)
This is the second part of our discussion of the concept of economic democracy (Part 1 available at Section 1 of this piece is a brief historical survey of the doctrine of economic democracy in this country: how the aims and ideals under discussion were once live factors and mainstream currents in the labour movement, when there was such a thing. We do this to show that we are not pulling these aims and concepts out of thin air: they come from somewhere and are not without precedent. Section 2 deals with nuts and bolts. We survey the theoretical model of a democratic economy as outlined by the Czech economist Jaroslav Vanek, before discussing the two most important real-world examples of economic democracy: the Mondragon group of cooperatives in the Basque country and the experiment with self-management in the former Yugoslavia. We conclude that Mondragon has succeeded because it closely follows the key characteristics of Vanek’s theoretical model while the Yugoslav experiment failed because it diverged so markedly from it, particularly in its interpretation (or lack of one) of property rights. Thus we determine that Vanek’s theoretical work has been significantly validated and gives us a strong and credible starting point from which to build a model of a democratic economy, along with a guide to the necessary institutions. Due to the length of this piece, we also attach the original Word document, should readers wish to consume it that way.