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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

The Joust vs. The Potlatch

This paper examines two opposing organizational cultures: The Joust (competition) and The Potlatch (based on gifts and cooperation). The economic cases for The Joust and The Pot­latch are made, then the perceptions of each by the other are sketched with ensuing rebuttals by both.

The Joust, founded on substitution and economic conflict of interest, stresses material gain. The Potlatch thrives on nonphysical values, seeking complementarities in learning and social designs.

Jousters see The Potlatch as a system lacking incentives, without ambition or technical progress. Potlatchers view The Joust with frustration; selfish acquisitive values make cooperation impossible, as shortsightedness squanders scarce resources and threatens stability.

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