In English: Cooperatives and Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises (original article).
[Ελληνική μετάφραση: Δείτε πιο κάτω]
An Interview with Richard Wolff on Counterpunch (by Ed Rampell).
Richard Wolff got his B.A. from Harvard, a Master’s in economics from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale. Wolff is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and a Visiting Professor in the graduate program for international affairs at the New School University in Manhattan, where Wolff lives. However, Wolff — who describes himself as “a critic of capitalism” — is not one of those apologist economists for the elite. Born in 1942 at Youngstown, Ohio, he’s the son of working class parents who were refugees from the Nazis. After his family moved around the Midwest they relocated to New York.
Today, Wolff has emerged as one of — if not the number one — most prominent leftist economist in America. In addition to teaching the Big Bad Wolff appears on Free Speech TV, Link TV, Pacifica Radio, does public speaking at the Brecht Forum and other venues, writes books such as Capitalism Hits the Fan, Occupy the Economy and Democracy at Work and has a substantial online presence, arguing there’s a better way to run the economy that’s in the interests of the 99%, instead of the 1%. In this interview, Wolff discusses his vision for changing the capitalist system. Fundamentally, he poses the question that if America has repeatedly gone to war abroad “to make the world safe for democracy,” isn’t it time that we brought the war home to make the American workplace safe for democracy, too?
Ed Rampell: What is the definition of a cooperative and of a collective?
Richard Wolff: The word “cooperative,” to define a business, is very old. Cooperatives have existed for many centuries, all around the world, as well as throughout the history of the U.S. It means a variety of things. Sometimes cooperative means a group of producers who make something will get together and share, cooperatively own one of their inputs. For example: A group of farmers, none of whom individually has enough money to buy the land they need to work, can sometimes form a cooperative so that they pool their money and then they can collectively afford to buy land… Then they agree to farm different portions of the land but to own the land cooperatively.
Another example is in winemaking. Around the world, particularly in Europe, it’s very common for wines to be produced and sold by a cooperative. The actual growing of the grapes and making of the wine is done by individual farmers, with or without employees. The word “co-op” doesn’t apply here to the actual work being done [but] the farmers get together and literally pool their wine. They pour the wine each of them has produced in their vats into one central vat and then cooperate to sell it. They can do better selling wine in larger quantities to larger buyers then they could doing it by themselves. This is sometimes called a marketing or sales co-op.
In America we debate everything: Education, sexuality, etc. — except for asking critical questions about capitalism… If there’s an institution in your society that’s above criticism you’re giving it a free pass to indulge all of its weaknesses and darker tendencies. In part the crisis we’re in now has to do with the inability of our society to face up to the fact that capitalism has its strength, but it also has its weaknesses. It has its time of growth and its time of shriveling and dying. And an honest, healthy society would never shrink away from debating where we’re at with capitalism — can we do better? How might that work?
Ed Rampell is an L.A.-based film historian, critic and author who wrote Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States. Rampell’s new book, about Hawaii’s movies and TV shows since 1995, will be published in September 2013 by Honolulu’s Mutual Publishing.
Η λέξη «κοοπερατίβα», για την περιγραφή μιας επιχείρησης, είναι πολύ παλιά. Οι κοοπερατίβες υπάρχουν εδώ και πολλούς αιώνες, σε όλο τον κόσμο, και διαχρονικά στην ιστορία των ΗΠΑ. «Κοοπερατίβα» σημαίνει μια πληθώρα πραγμάτων. Μερικές φορές αναφέρεται σε μια ομάδα παραγωγών που δημιουργούν και μοιράζονται από κοινού, κατέχοντας συνεταιριστικά τα μέσα παραγωγής. Για παράδειγμα: Μια ομάδα αγροτών, εκ των οποίων κανείς δεν έχει αρκετά χρήματα, ώστε να αγοράσει τη γη που χρειάζονται για να δουλέψουν, μπορούν συχνά να δημιουργήσουν μια κοοπερατίβα, όπου τοποθετούν από κοινού τα χρήματά τους, προκειμένου να καταφέρουν να αγοράσουν γη… Μπορούν να συμφωνήσουν, ώστε να διαχειρίζονται διαφορετικά κομμάτια της γης, αλλά τα χωράφια συνολικά θα ανήκουν σε όλους.
Ένα ακόμη παράδειγμα μπορεί να εντοπιστεί στην οινοποιεία. Ανά τον κόσμο, κυρίως στην…
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