The graduates of this school founded the city’s first cooperatives. Die Mondragón Corporación Cooperativa (MCC) ist die größte Genossenschaft und das siebtgrößte Unternehmen Spaniens. I was impressed in my reading by the complexity of the decisions worker-owners were asked to make, collectively, about salary adjustments, unemployment benefits, overtime pay, required capital inputs, retirement benefits, and a myriad of other issues. The assumption of the dominant culture — reinforced by our current economic system — is that each of us is on our own, out for ourselves (and our immediate families), and that the pursuit of material rewards (including extraordinary rewards) is the primary motivation for our economic behavior. But there is growing evidence and support for alternatives that seek to satisfy deeper human needs, such as compassion for one’s fellows and the pursuit of meaning in one’s work. Georgia Kelly, our US-based tour organizer, countered that she has seen a definite increase in the number of women in managerial positions and training programs in the nine years she has been coming to Mondragon. Corporations tend to talk about social responsibility, by which they mean taking responsibility for both the positive and negative impacts of the activities they pursue in the normal course of doing business. At the heart of this transformation is the desire to emphasize cooperation as opposed to competition as the most likely path toward creating a future that maximizes the well-being of all. Zur MCC gehören mehr als 100 Unternehmen verschiedener Sektoren wie Maschinenbau, Automobilindustrie, Haushaltsgeräte, Bauindustrie, Einzelhandel (u. a. Supermarktkette Eroski), Banken und Versicherungen. I went to Mondragon to see this system in action and to explore its relevance to the US. The two other obstacles — culture and K-12 education — seem far more intractable at this point. We visited one of the industrial cooperatives, ULMA Packaging, which makes machines that make packaging for perishable food products. There are a host of intractable social problems in the US — homelessness, racism, addiction, obesity, violence, to name just a few — that may have economic elements, but cannot be solved even by a cooperative economic utopia. Third, each machine is customized to its specific application, thus requiring continued human intervention, providing continued employment. Today, it is the wealthiest, with the majority of its residents as worker-owners of Mondragon. The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. Mar 25, 2009 Kris rated it really liked it. This structure has created a group of people, who aren’t owners, but whose labor Mondragon now depends on. Housing cooperatives, which have been used to address the needs of seniors, students, mobile home park residents, and (occasionally) low-income communities. I also noticed a lack of emphases on social and environmental impacts. Workers in those other locations are not members of the cooperatives, and thus do no participate in democratic governance. The Mondragon pension system is now well aligned and fully integrated with the Spanish government system. … … The film TOGETHER available to watch on line! Spain has since revised its position on coverage for worker-owners and Lagun Aro now provides benefits side by side with those offered by the government. That’s oppression. Why doesn’t Malaysia hand out a RM1 trillion stimulus plan. However, while individuals can evaluate complex issues, they don’t always take the time to do so. As Winston Churchill and others have observed, “democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms.” I’ve certainly had occasion to reflect on that statement since the 2016 election and the advent of the Trump administration. That said, its members elect the Governing Council, which in turn selects the Managing Director. There is nothing in cooperativism that is inherently greener than any other structure. That’s advocacy. Finally, because these machines play a critical role in their customers’ production processes, they tend to compete on quality and reliability rather than price, and the customer necessity of maximizing “up-time” (that is, the time in which the machines are running properly and production is not halted) creates an important after-market service opportunity. And all participants in the system are free to make choices with broadly defined benefits — not the narrow capitalist dictates of maximizing returns to shareholders. [5] Es ist damit nach eigene… The structure of Mondragon University provides … But then we can also be power ourselves. Its first product was paraffin heaters. His goal was social transformation and the economic structure of the cooperative enterprises was simply a means to that end. Even with businesses they have acquired in Spain, an educational process must take place before assuming people are ready to be worker-owners. At one point our guide reminded us that Father Arizmendiarrieta was not interested in creating a cooperative economy. This cultural relationship and understanding of work highlights the MCC principle of the sovereignty of labor. 2. Second, the number of its Asian competitors was growing every day. Auch aus dem großen Mondragon-Verbund überlebte eine Genossenschaft diesen Prozess der Deindustrialisierung nicht. That’s oppression. “It takes a tremendous re-educational effort to bring people into a culture that carries the responsibilities of running a business and sharing in a democratic process. Die Genossenschaftler der Kooperative Mondragón im Baskenland erwirtschaften trotz Wirtschaftskrise immer noch 14 Milliarden Euro Umsatz im Jahr. Today, it consists of 98 cooperatives with more than 80,000 employees in areas of finance, industry, retail, and knowledge development. I am deeply grateful for the lessons learned in the 60 years of the Mondragon experiment and hope we can apply some of them here in the U.S. as we work to create a more equitable, sustainable economy. Even as “sustainability” issues have found a place in most global firms, I did not see much traction in Mondragon in either practice or articulated values. Mondragon retirees receive 60 percent of their pension from the government and 40 percent from the Mondragon system. Lagun Aro pension funds are invested conservatively, thereby avoiding some of the self-inflicted insolvency problems created by the US profit-maximizing system. OUR AIM IS TO CONSTITUTE A BUSINESS The thing that was so refreshing about Mondragon was its willingness and ability to deal with facts on the ground, to allow practice to modify theory without losing sight of values. Each coop is represented at the Cooperative Congress, where system-wide plans and business decisions are made. Power can assist us and we must guide it. How cooperatives show resilience to the crisis can be watched in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian and Korean here! Workers in Mondragon have the right to participate in a democratic decision-making governance structure. Mondragon today consists of 102 individual cooperatives united in a federation called the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, which is also organized as a cooperative. Second, it is a highly technical niche, relatively insulated from competition from countries with large numbers of low-wage, unskilled workers. Here are ten takeaways from the trip: I was not aware of my assumptions about Mondragon until I arrived and found myself surprised. Pragmatism is the only enduring “ism.”. Although it may not be the perfect utopia many envision, there is room for growth and change. The Mondragon Corporation has over 266 business and cooperatives, in 32 countries. Creating for Humanity is a massive call to action that invites social innovators to present ideas, solutions or start-ups that respond to the needs created by the health crisis WE ARE MONDRAGON A PROJECT SPANNING MORE THAN 60 YEARS, COMPETING IN GLOBAL MARKETS WITH ITS OWN MODEL BASED ON PEOPLE AND INTERCOOPERATION. Some received unemployment benefits from Lagun Aro, the social welfare cooperative. They were not very much in evidence on either the shop floor as worker-owners or at the management level. [4] Auch zum Verbund gehören 15 Technologiezentren. According to what I’ve read, this happens very rarely (as one would hope and expect), but when it has happened, the decisions of the General Assembly have gone both ways — sometimes supporting “management” (i.e. The Governing Council is roughly equivalent to the Board of Directors; the Audit function corresponds to the audit committee of the board; the Managing Director to the CEO; the Managing Council to the executive leadership team; and the Departments to standard departments, whether organized functionally, divisionally, geographically, or along some other line. Third, the sustainability orientation of Mondragon is potentially further along than I could observe on the ground. Mondragon has been slowly making changes to take on a larger role in pushing for equitable changes locally. Worker cooperative … As for K-12 education, the current U.S. educational establishment’s emphasis on improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education is not misplaced. The first, and most troubling, was the issue of international workers who are not members of the cooperatives. And third, just as the cooperative’s expanded capacity came on line, the recession hit and the bottom fell out of the market. In addition, the Mondragon cooperative system owns its own bank, university, social welfare agency, several business incubators, and a supermarket chain. On this issue, there is good news on three fronts. However, if an issue is particularly contentious and the Social Council is opposed to the decision of the Governing Council and Managing Director, it can bring the issue to the General Assembly for a vote of the broader membership. 3. In Spain, the state-run social safety net is designed to cover employees. And, of course, not all people want to be worker-owners.”. Its mission is encapsulated in its Corporate Values: intercooperation, grassroots management, corporate social responsibility, innovation, democratic organisation, education and social transformation, among others. Posted 23rd January 2017 by Unknown Labels: New Economy. And in times of trouble, the General Assembly is a place for the entire cooperative to thrash out difficult issues. A case in point: “intercooperation” and the bankruptcy of Fagor Electrodomésticos. When asked about specific issues at Mondragon that were troubling to me, our guide would sometimes shrug and say, “This is a democracy.” To me, that shrug said it all: sometimes people make thoughtful decisions, sometimes not; sometimes they take the time to participate in decision-making, sometimes not. [3] Sie hat ihren Sitz in Mondragón im spanischen Baskenland und ist global tätig. We heard (and read) many stories of economic crises and how the cooperatives, individually and collectively, weathered them. At MONDRAGON, we welcome people from all over the world who want to visit and learn about the MONDRAGON Cooperative Experience. By the time of our 2017 visit, only 60 former employees (three percent) remained unplaced. That’s the type of future that I see my generation striving to create. In the “second level” cooperatives, that is, the cooperatives that serve other cooperatives, such as the bank and the health system, member-owners include both employees and representatives of the cooperatives served. These values are well reflected in Mondragon’s operations. Although Mondragon cooperatives now operate in multiple sectors, the most significant cooperatives are worker-owned industrial enterprises competing globally in niche markets. C'est une offre de voyages apprenants qui … The governance structures supporting that critical difference are the General Assembly and the Social Council. As a consequence, they do not participate in the benefits of worker-ownership. She informed me about her work on mission-led employee-owned firms and their potential as the next generation enterprise design that could be key to building a just economy. This blog post reflects the author’s personal views and opinions, and does not represent the views and opinions of Beneficial State Bank and/or Beneficial State Foundation. The Experience. Disputes are resolved by the “owners” (i.e. We didn’t have an opportunity to discuss the thousand relevant details, large and small, that would give us the basis for a good comparison to the rest of the US system, but we already know our ailing system offers the worst care for the highest price of any system in the developed world. For U.S. citizens sharing an affinity for a leftist critique of capitalism, the very name “Mondragon” conjures up a humane, economic alternative in which the interests of workers trump the dictates of capital and the well-being of the many trumps the self-interest of the privileged few. Die Kooperativenmitglieder, die davon betroffen waren, hatten jedoch trotzdem weiter Arbeit. It has been successful in creating a democratic, sustainable, and secure living environment for its members. When facts fail to conform to theory, there is a strong tendency on both sides to throw out the facts in order to preserve the theory. the Governing Council and Managing Director) and sometimes supporting the “workers” (i.e. Our local guide was Ander Etxeberria, Director of Cooperative Dissemination. Admittedly, it might also be against their economic interest to include more worker-owners in the confederation. Together with the inhabitants of the town he founded a vocational school. 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