Saturday, October 31, 2009

With Respect to Mondragon

This, if it is true, is a very sad report.

The Mondragon Experiment, except for their ignorance of social ecology, was a very promising alternative socialist organization.

They formed successful workers' cooperatives, which spawned others, and they grew to relieve poverty and disaffection in their isolated region.

The problems started as they grew too big and began to need to integrate their business operations with the Capitalist world that surrounded them. The expediency of business operations and personal greed began to outweigh the egalitarian and solidarity principles based on the ICA principles.

Although they carefully built a very democratic cooperative corporate governance model, the complexity of large-scale operations and the accelerating pace eventually began to erode the vigilance and influence of the holders of the founding principles.

If I were beginning a socialist business entity, I would most certainly start with Mondragon, their founding principles and their early history as a positive example. I would study where they went wrong and try to devise mitigating interventions so that the new socialist economy was not corrupted.

The problem is that there IS a Capitalist system, where corporations have certain strategies and tactics (e.g. diversification, economy of scale, worker and environmental exploitation and the eschewing of those costs, etc.) to defeat small business. Otherwise, I'd suggest that the next Mondragon stick to the small mutualist business model and form community alliances only. However, that would not be realistic and successful. As long as there are corporate capitalist conglomerates, it will be impossible to build an alternative socialist economy.

We need world unity, understanding and cooperation.

Nothing less.

Mike Morin
Eugene, OR, USA

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