Michael Leung is something of a wizard on the intricacies of co-operative financing. He has opened a new web site, Worker Cooperative Development. It’s goal is to “address strategic barriers limiting the creation and growth of worker cooperatives and show how they can be overcome.”
The site is geared primarily towards entrepreneurs, worker co-operative developers, academics, co-op accountants, co-op lawyers, and those thinking about converting an existing business to a worker co-operative. There will be a heavy emphasis on worker co-operative fundamentals, in particular financial transactions and capital structure. The hope is to clearly lay out what is need to achieve a higher growth rate for worker co-operatives. What is proposed is a substantial rethinking of how we perceive worker ownership and startup financing, and what we hold as our core co-operative values.
With regards to “a substantial re-thinking” the site seeks to examine the lack of worker co-operatives, identify the fundamental problems limiting their proliferation, and map out a solution.
The barriers to startups and growth are traced back to assumptions in modern finance that are incompatible with worker co-operatives, the use of an accounting system which incorrectly describes basic transactions, and, ultimately, to inconsistencies in the co-operative principles. Overcoming these barriers will require a rethinking of worker ownership and the cherished co-operative identity. However, these major conceptual shifts are essential to take worker co-operatives from the economic fringe into the mainstream.
Read more at the web site, http://development.abolishhumanrentals.org .