Radio 4 In Business is doing a programme focusing on the worker owned businesses of Mondragon in the Basque Region of Spain. Jo Grimond and Robert Oakeshott visited these successful enterprises. Today over 100,000 people work in these worker owned businesses. The mutual bank they set up has been described as the most successful entrepreneurial support system ever.
Grimond and Oakeshott returned and together set up a group to promote employee owned businesses. For generations this has been central to Liberal Party thinking . The model of shareowner capitalism under which Britain suffers need radical reform and employee ownership should once again become a core part of the Liberal platform. Such a system redistributes wealth, tackles mega pay, improves productivity, ensures business look to the long term as opposed to the short term interests of building shareholder value and can be begun now.
Many of us will have been frustrated by Milliband's tokenist response to high pay suggesting an employee should be put on the committee looking at board room pay. For Liberal who have argued that as a minimum their should be parity between shareholder and employees- and not just in relation to decisions on pay- that is not good enough. Shareholders, as they are at present constituted, are not the answer they are part of the problem not the solution.
Radio 4 website says:
In these tough times, are there better ways of doing business: worker cooperatives, for example?
In crisis-battered Spain, Peter Day visits the world's biggest worker coop in Mondragon, to find out what makes it different. And, in the UK where the cooperative movement began, will 2012, designated the year of the cooperative see the rise of the mutual business model?
The programme can be heard on BBC iplayer here