Capitalism and community ( Oxymoron ) ?


Community based capitalism. In today’s world , a statement like “Community based capitalism” would be a complete oxymoron. Capitalism is all about “ME” , Community is all about “US”. So the two can never co-exist. 

But I was wrong. My friend sent me a link to “Mondragon Corporation”.  It was first hard for me to believe, especially in this age of capitalism where the mantra is “Survival of the fittest” , that a company , a corporation exists that thinks, talks and acts for the overall benefit of the community not just for itself.

I did some googl’ng and whatever I read so far, makes me believe , this is worth reading and spending time to learn more about it.  Some of the highlights of this corporation

  • 10 % of the annual net profits is donated to charity;
  • 40 % is retained in the collective internal account. This collective internal account is regarded as the portion of profits that is collectively owned and managed for the common good; if the cooperative ever ceased to exist, this portion would go to charity.
  • The remaining 50 % is open for use by the owner employees because it can be used as collateral at the bank for a loan at an interest rate only a point or two above the six percent it is earning, yet the cooperative has the use of the capital at the same time.

Source: http://www.iisd.org/50comm/commdb/desc/d13.htm

  • Mondragon companies are worker-owned and governed.
  • Workers are required to invest capital in the company, generally one year’s wages, and they earn the lion’s share of profits, which are used for company reserves, profit-sharing and funding community projects.
  • The average worker retiring after 25 years receives a $100,000 lump sum payment, and a pension of 70 percent of average earnings for the last five years.
  • Mondragon companies are interdependent, doing business with each other, covering each other’s losses, absorbing laid-off workers from one company to another.
  • Though they compete successfully in the global economy, they are anchored in local communities, and they credit their community orientation for their success.
  • Mondragon uses the same economic engine and the same set of economic principles, but harnesses them to the goals of the “we” rather than the “me.” This new brand of community-focused free enterprise may be the synthesis we need to take us beyond the old and deeply dysfunctional industrial capitalism.

source: http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/1998/02/02/smallb6.html

Other interesting reads

  1. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/24405084/Mondragon-Cooperative—A-Spanish-Success-Story
  2. http://www.ownershipassociates.com/mcc-intro.shtm
  3. http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/long_mondragon.html
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondrag%C3%B3n_Cooperative_Corporation

Some contradicting views

http://www.sunypress.edu/p-2383-the-myth-of-mondragon.aspx

more later …..

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One thought on “Capitalism and community ( Oxymoron ) ?

Add yours

  1. Cool ! Suresh, you made my day and yes, the critical input is the time it takes to read and digest the full import of the social organization.

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