Next year, 2012, will be the official United Nations declared “Year of the Co-operative”.
I think, “why wait?”. We should make this and every year the year of the co-op. We should strive to not only build our co-operatives, but expand and develop more co-operatives. A generational change will soon sweep over the Earth as the so-called “Baby Boomers” slowly get forced to the sidelines of history. Worker co-operatives give these business owners an opportunity to create their legacy. Tax laws favor owners who sell to their workers in either ESOPs or worker co-ops. The owner not only saves capital gains tax, but creates a means for their creation to continue into perpetuity.
We need to start developing the means so that when the owners are ready to pass their legacy on to the next generation, the means exists to accept that challenge.
When I learned about “syndicalism” in community college years ago it struck me as a way to strike a balance between the (theoretical) efficiencies of that mythical beast — the “free market economy” — that could also give workers a stake in the system. The global economic crisis reminded me of Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta so I wrote a song about him: http://on.fb.me/fmCnRb … hope I’m not mangling his name too badly. Interesting to hear his ideas are alive and well: http://geo.coop/node/584