What is Economic Democracy?
‚ÄčEconomic Democracy can be understood as a spectrum of economic activity, both formal and informal, that privileges democratic participation, ownership and community empowerment and above all incorporates a common socioeconomic ethical philosophy that applies to the social relations inherent in the economy (Da Ros, 2007). The various types of models that fit within the spectrum of economic democracy run the gamut from non-profit organizations and foundations to worker cooperatives and self help mutual aid associations. What distinguishes them from other forms is their interest in multiple bottom lines (Perez de Mendiguren Castresana, Etxezarreta Etxarri, & Aldonondo, 2009). In other words, such organizations are not interested in profits only (some not at all), but instead act to change the social ramifications of economic processes. Their goal is not just monetary value but also humanistic values that lie in democratic participation as well as the social well being of the members of the organizations and the communities they come from (Da Ros, 2007). They all seek to impart or change the impacts of the economy, specifically where the state itself cannot or will not intervene, or where it should but does not.

Economic Democracy is an attempt at the opening up of the economy, especially with regards to private property, to ideals of democratic governance and ownership as well as increasing participation by the people that make the economy function. It is composed of a multiplicity of different types of projects, including but not limited to the three forms of cooperatives, worker, consumer, and producer, along with direct public control of public budgets, open book (transparent) and democratic management, city development projects geared around social justice goals, investment in public housing, and democratically-run schools among other initiatives (Carnoy & Shearer, 1980)
Simply said, Economic Democracy is a re-imagining, of creating an Economy that focuses on and redirects power to people over profits. Its a concept that seeks to empower workers and communities to have a stake in the decisions that affect their daily lives, at work, at home and in their communities.

Worker Cooperatives

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), defines cooperatives as, “autonomous associations of persons, united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratic controlled enterprise” Worker cooperatives attempt to change the social and economic relations at the level of production by equating ownership and decision-making power among the workers, thereby leveling and sharing profits more equitably. Worker Cooperatives are businesses owned and democratically controlled by the workers, where every worker shares equally in the value created by the businesses and every worker also has only one vote.

Public Ownership

Economic Democracy promotes increased public ownership and participation in that ownership, of goods and services that make sense to be owned collectively. These include but are not limited to the Postal Service, Hospitals, Utilities, Education, Public Transportation, Housing etc. Often these are seen as inefficient and are sought to be privatized, but their inefficiency stems from the lack of open book, transparent or democratic management. Economic Democracy advances increased democratic participation in the management of Public Ownership by involving more stake holders.


Media Resources

Solidarity Economy

Economic Democracy is rooted in empowering communities. At its base, it seeks to allow communities to participate more fully in projects and programs that affect the daily lives of all communities, especially those seen as economic in nature. It seeks to have communities participate in deciding city budgets and allocation of resources, community health and recreation projects and many others. And its seeks to do so in a way that promotes self-determination, collaboration, and solidarity for communities. It seeks to make communities active stakeholders in economic processes that condition their surrounding environments and seeks to support job creation and growth above just making profits.

* Videos are provided for information purposes only. We do not yet partner nor are currently affiliated with the organizations who produced the videos. We only seek to highlight and promote the great work that they are doing and do not intend to take any credit for these projects.
* Videos are provided for information purposes only. We do not yet partner nor are currently affiliated with the organizations who produced the videos. We only seek to highlight and promote the great work that they are doing and do not intend to take any credit for these projects.

Further Reading and Research

Economic Democracy by Martin Carnoy and Derek Shearer. 1980.
Radical Democracy by C. Douglas Lummis. 1997
Economic Democracy: The Working Class Alternative to Capitalism by Allan Engler. 2010
After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Democracy by Seymour Melman 2001.
Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism by Richard Wolff. 2012.
After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action by Dada Maheshvarananda. 2012
America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz. 2011
Wage-Labor and Capital, Value Price and Profit by Karl Marx. 1975
The Cleveland Model by Alperovitz, G., Williamson, T., & Howard, T. in The Nation. 2010.
A Preface to Economic Democracy by Robert Dahl. 1985.
Economic Democracy in the Age of Scarcity by Tom Hayden. 1979
The Port Huron Statement edited by Tom Hayden 2005.
Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control From the Commune to the Present. 2011
Economic Democracy and Private Enterprise by Michael O'Shaughnessy. 1945.
Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy by Costas Panayotakis. 2011.
A Future for Public Ownership by Malcolm Sawyer and Kathy O'Donnell. 1999.
In the Public Interest?: Privatization And Public Sector Reform by Brendan Martin. 1993.
Public Ownership in the U.S.A: Goals and Priorities edited by Helen Alfred. 1961.
Owning our Future by Majorie Kelly. 2012.
Humanizing the Economy: Cooperatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis. 2010.
Shift Change Documentary by Dworkin, M., & Young, M. 2012 Bull Frog Films.
Economia Solidaria: Aspectos teoricos y experencias. por Da Ros, G. S. Unircoop , 5 (1), 1-204. (2007).
Economia Social, Empresa Social y Economia Solidaria: diferentes conceptos para un mismo debate. Red de Economia Alternativa y Solidaria Euskadi. por Perez de Mendiguren Castresana, J. C., Etxezarreta Etxarri, E., & Aldonondo, L. G. (June 2009).

Economic Democracy: From Continual Crisis to a People Oriented Economy by Dr. Alfredo Carlos.pdf

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