WELCOME to RETOOLING CAPITALISM, a site about employee-owned companies. Old-style capitalism has been around for 150 years or more. At its heart are conventional businesses—companies that are owned by investors or families
But the structure of today’s capitalism encourages abuse. Concerned with creating value for shareholders or (often) riches for top management, many companies mislead their customers and mistreat or underpay their employees. They abuse the environment, try to avoid regulations and taxation, and threaten to move their operations elsewhere if they don’t get their way. Little wonder business has such a bad name these days.
Little wonder, too, that people have been exploring alternative ways of organizing and running businesses. Which is what Retooling Capitalism is about.
So here’s what you’ll find:
This site is market friendly. We believe in free enterprise. But we think a free enterprise system has to work for the benefit of everyone, not just a few.
The sorriest economic statistic these days has to be this one: average household income for the lower four-fifths of the population has risen less than 15% in the last 40 years, while income at the top has soared. The next administration faces no greater economic challenge than boosting the fortunes of the poor and the vast middle class.
Unfortunately, most of the available tools are contentious and of uncertain effect. Boost the federal minimum wage and the earned income tax credit? Good luck getting those measures passed. Support collective bargaining? Fine—except that unions now represent only 7% of private-sector workers.
But one idea might make a big long-term difference, and it already has bipartisan support. It’s usually called employee ownership, but the term lacks a certain pizzazz. Think of it instead as capitalism for people. The incoming president has a chance to christen the idea, explain it, develop it, and throw the full weight of the federal government behind it.
Here are the facts. The United States—almost by accident, and almost alone among the world’s nations—has created an innovative, practical structure by which a company’s employees can own the business they work for. Today, according to the nonprofit National … Read more >