Can We do it Ourselves (Economic Democracy)

Can We do it Ourselves

In the 20th century we saw the rise of political democracy till it became at least an accepted part of the political life, even when it wasn’t working as well as it could or should be.

This Swedish-made film is about extending the same set of principles into the workplace in an attempt to produce a more equitable and just way of living in society.

At present capital owns businesses and hires labour, which is always under threat of dismissal, either because of lack of consumer demand, or because modernisation makes labour unnecessary.

The only alternative that was on offer in the last century was that the state own businesses and employ, and promise to provide for, the labour force. As in communism we have seen this doesn’t work any better.

The documentary examines a different way of organising work: the immediate workforce own the business and hire capital for investment in the products being produced.

It is simple model, which overturns the things which need to be changed, and yet can work with most of the structures already in place, like the market economy, means of distribution, etc.

This change in ownership from an adversarial to a cooperative model has already been tried, and consistently workers are reported to be more satisfied, work better, and be more concerned about the environment they are living in.

The film has interviews with many leading economists, both for and against the idea, and presents a clear case for economic democracy, without painting an overly rosy picture of what might emerge.

Amongst the interviewees are Noam Chomsky, Bo Rothstein and David Schweickart (whose book After Capitalism is part of the recommended reading).

 

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