economic democracy


as stated by Noam Chomsky 30 seconds into the documentary: can we do it ourselves (2015)..

Can We Do It Ourselves focuses on economic philosophy with an emphasis on the concept of economic democracy. The film helps viewers understand the difference between a market economy in which consumer demand drives a company’s supply of goods and services, and a capitalist economy in which private owners control production and hold a right to the profits. There is strong support for the potential promise of a democratic economic model in which workers have more of a say in business operations than either market or capitalist models.


2 min –

ola pettersson


bo rothstein

Political scientist Bo Rothstein argues that capitalism essentially sees workers selling themselves into slavery. Companies built around a workers’ cooperative, however, center more on the well-being of those providing labor over the maximization of profit. By making managers responsible to the workers, instead of the other way around, the quality of work improves. The driving philosophy in putting more power in the hands of the workers is that they will take more pride in what they’re doing when they are, in essence, working for themselves.

3 min –

janerik larsson

Janerik Larsson, former VP of the Confederation of the Swedish Enterprise, is the primary voice of dissent throughout the film, cautioning that proponents of a democratic economy are trying to make an ideology out of a reality that is too fluid and ever changing in nature. He claims that he has not seen effective, practical economic democracy, and weighs in favor of a market economy within a democratic society instead of an actual democratic economy.


david schweickart

He is an editor and contributing writer to, an online journal dedicated to economic democracy.


In After Capitalism and other works, Schweickart has developed the model of market socialism he refers to as “economic democracy“. In his own words “Economic Democracy is a market economy.”[2] It embodies several key ideas:

The firms and factories are owned by society and managed by the workers. These enterprises, so managed, compete in markets to sell their goods. Profit is shared by the workers. Each enterprise is taxed for the capital they employ, and that tax is distributed to public banks, who fund expansion of existing and new industry.

Roland Paulsen

roland paulsen: when people come to realize we can run this ourselves..then i think we’re on the path toward a higher level of democratic development

many people are confusing market econ with capitalism – bo

4 min – bo: it has been taken for granted that ownership of capital leads to power over production.. but capital’s power over production cannot be based on ownership.. because we have prohibited slavery.. you’re not allowed to sell yourself as a slave..

5 min – bo: capital’s power over production relies on the rental contract.. capital hires labor.. and that gives them power over production.. but in a market econ.. there is nothing that prohibits the reverse contract.. that is.. the labor hires capital.. you can start a production and rent the necessary capital.. and then it’s the workers who rented the capital who runs the production.. this means both the left and right have been wrong about the relationship between capitalism and market econ

bo: right: relies on power of ownership… left: to change it we need to socialize the ownership… but that’s not necessary.. you could have a democratic worker-controlled econ w/o socializing ownership because you can hire capital

6 min – part 1 – the democratic firm

bo: a surprising thing is that a super-capitalist country like the us has more democratic companies than sweden

equal exchange.. boston.. worker coop – rodney north.. largest in us


7 min – workers go out and hire money..

8 min – in co – profit/production matters.. in coop.. may look same.. but workers needs are foremost.. structure is there to increase the chances of decency.. – rodney

10 min – gustaf arrhenius – philosopher – stockholm uni

11 min – roland: the workplace is the most hierarchical institution we have.. what an employer can do to its employees is absolutely bizarre…when go to toilet.. when eat.. when come to work

sounds like school.. so yeah .. prep for work

12 min – workers are rented for a sum of money called a wage

13 min – mattias svensson

mattias: you don’t share the risk or the profit.. and have security of monthly wage

14 min – jessica gordon nembhard – coop researcher

14 min – noam: germs of future more just society.. changes mentality.. when participating.. than in following principle amount…

15 min – chca ny – michael elsas – largest worker coop in us.. (again..?) – 1 person.. 1 share.. 1 vote

18 min – jessica: benes of coops.. social capital… get used to speaking up .. used to transparency..

19 min – noam: john stewart mill took in for granted that workers should be in control.. adam smith – feature of human nature is sympathy for others.. also took for granted that society designed to provide most support for fulfillment of individual capacities.. creation of opps for fulfilling lives… if go beyond that.. quite consistent with conclusions of… econ democracy

21 min – janerik: to me it’s about efficiency and prosperity.. in capital market.. if something is efficient it spreads like wildfire and fact that we don’t have tons of worker owned enterprises shows they aren’t efficient

22 min – part 2 – free enterprise

23 min – lars magnusson: you can be ideological.. but everyone can’t start a business today.. that’s for people who have lots of money.. works at uni.. comes up with smart idea.. but clearly.. everyon cannot start a business

25 min – roland: power is the dominating principle on the market.. not efficiency

kajsa ekis ekman

Her book Being and Being Bought, compares the sex industry and the surrogacy industry and how they both commodify women’s bodies.

Her book Stolen Spring describes the eurocrisis as seen from Athens, and the way in which it affected the Greek economy. Ekman criticizes the view that the eurocrisis was caused by the Greek workers and instead traces it back to changes in capitalism.

Ekman was one of the key note speakers at the 2014 Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

In her Ted Talk “Everybody talks about Capitalism, but what is it?” she speaks about free market as a useful tool, but capitalism as a force unable of moral, responsibility and plan for the climate, the country and the world. She suggests regulation of the finance sector to avoid crises, and suggests “democracy in all sectors of society, also in the working place”.

She was one of the participants on the Freedom Flotilla 2015 to Gaza.

26 min – kajsa: all markets strive for monopoly/power.. historically this has led to wars, plundering and colonialism… the free market can be a means for certain capitalists to take over the market in order to abolish the free market.. because they want monopoly power

27 min – mattias: always possible to challenge.. that’s what free enterprise, property rights, basically what equal rights mean.. that competition is possible and we see it over time.. there’s a dynamic in liberal markets.. this creates new dominated corps every decade..

28 min – jessica: people don’t know that much about coops.. secret

29 min – gustaf: if want to start business (sweden) call and get tons of info about how to ie: do business plan.. if want to start coop.. no info… we’ve made it easy to start private companies and hard to start coops..

30 min – part 3 – the trade union

ola: our industry can’t respond to those kind of initiatives

31 min – anna clara bratt


anna:  you are  you and we are we and that’s how it’s going to be..  i rep workers.. you rep capital..  now let’s come to an agreement at some fancy hotel.. (contract signing)


anna: it’s for less influence.. pay fees.. and let someone else to talking for you..

rep and consensus ness

33 min – ola: trade union not the place to look for more democratic work.. we tried.. but couldn’t create the popular support for that development.. econ democracy charged topic.. and employers have resource to persuade public opinion: wage-earner funds

70s.. swedish agreemet.. portion of wage-eaner funds turned into union so could influence co’s

36 min – david: it’s easy to point out the problems with capitalism.. but argument was always… tina: there is no alternative (margaret thatcher)

37 min – david: no one knows what capitalism is.. so fear what would happen if gone… so to an alternative.. want it to not so different.. yet.. in some ways.. hugely diff..

radical econ ness

38 min – david: three markets.. and trying to keep consumer market.. but democratize labor and capital markets..

part 4 – problems of the present

39 min – roland: the problem is that the increasing production has no effect on our well-being..

at least not in our part of the world.. we produce more and more stuff but that doesn’t effect the happiness index.. in fact.. there is reason to believe the opposite..

we consume more and more psychotropics and antidepressants.. so does it really make us happier..

40 min – roland: also.. when productivity increases and working hours stay same..we’re forced to come up with new things to produce…

new goods/services that don’t fulfill any existing needs.. but the

needs have to be created by advertising..

this means more work is becoming meaningless.. in sense that difficult to see any purpose in it

bullshit jobs ness

roland: what’s important then, is not only not to question it but to be enthusiastic about the meaninglessness itself.

you learn to be nice to the right people.. what we call social competence..

the most important quality if you want to keep your job..

roland: so the diff between actually doing work and making it look as if you’re working well..

that’s becoming increasingly more important as i see it..

esse quam videri

42 min – david: you’ve got people working feeling overworked.. then all these unemployed people.. that’s kind of weird..  tech increases manpower (1/10 of horsepower to 100 times).. capitalist lays off workers.. democracy spreads work around.. shortens work day

43 min – david: problem in capitalism.. you’ve got workers and owners and their interests are opposed.. worker: make most money w/least work  owner: spend least money and get most work.. in slavery.. could just whip al… so.. gotta be able to fire people.. so we’ve got to have miserable unemployment and poverty

david: twice as rich and poverty level higher.. maybe poverty plays a disciplinary role..

45 min – in coop – don’t need that discipline.. not paid a salary but part of profit.. so you want co to do well..


david: don’t have systemic need to discipline the workforce… then too.. don’t have to keep growing (as in capitalism)

48 min – david: on healthy competition


49 min – part 5 – visions of the future

51 min – noam: you can’t get over fact that society.. as it exists .. has fundamental oppressive/unjust/inequitable properties.. have to deal with that when trying to create something more free/just w/in soceity

53 min – roland: i don’t think a revolution is necessary to achieve an econ of worker-owned firms

kajsa: doesn’t mean we’d have to get rid of markets.. employers have plenty of ideas..

sounds like stu voice ness.. ideas within an unnatural box.. ie: compulsory education.. money.. market.. consumerism.. et al..

i think this partial ness.. easing in ness.. is killing us.. keeping us at bay.. because we never see how we can dance if we’re bits and pieces ing it.. so we never let go enough..

54 min – roland: when people realize we can do this ourselves.. we don’t need boss to tell us what to do..

or perhaps.. we don’t need to be doing this (business, school, healthcare)… at all..

if we are living.. a nother way

56 min – back in day.. those in charge of capital also had interest/expertise in co.. today.. more investors.. no/little interest/expertise.. they want a return on capital but don’t care how it’s being used

57 min – gustaf – absurd that we should accept very authoritarian conditions there (work).. where few people make decisions and rest obey… that’s unreasonable for every person with a whit of liberal thinking.. who values freedom


George Pór (@technoshaman) tweeted at 7:33 AM on Wed, Oct 30, 2019:
When the time is right… when the bankruptcy of the old model becomes undeniable by even its beneficiaries, then #GameB will move into becoming the new normal.

26 min – oct 2019 – How to Make a Democratic Economy

4 min – ted: every community has innovative models.. public banking.. coop.. and these need to be developed so they can take center stage.. not alt

what we need is to try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence ie: ubi as temp placebo..

7 min – ted: big energy co’s blocking.. so how do we get them out of the way.. what would it take to buy all the oil co’s and just leave the oil in the ground.. even if we did.. still don’t make it.. real model in community.. but we need a new order of thinking (kiwi for the planet?)

book – making of a dem econ – by Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard.. forward by naomi klein

11 min – marjorie: on being diff purpose of co’s.. that’s what b corps are

23 min – ted: when we get into trouble.. we make sure everyone is working.. social safety net.. purpose is to provide decent ongoing secure work.. that’s a very fundamental diff

not deep enough.. let go of ie: security; earn a living ness; et al

25 min – marjorie: one of the things we’re trying to do in this book is help people wake up.. not legit and not the only option..

we need to wake up beyond money (any form of measuring/accounting)


platform coops

richard wolff – democracy at work