Article (C-1-m) analysis of employee collective ownership projects

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Our article is based in particular on Article Work, Justice, and Collective Capital Institutions: Revisiting Rudolf Meidner and the Case for Wage-Earner Funds, a summary of which is attached.

Our article provides a critical analysis of the Swedish experience in the 1970s and 1980s of granting collective ownership of a fraction of a company’s capital to its employees.

It first presents the original trade union proposal, inspired by the economist Rudolf Meidner, its evolution and its implementation by the social democratic government. It also presents the variants proposed in the UK and the US in years 2019 and 2020.

It then analyses and criticizes the arguments and foundations of these proposals (arguments mobilizing moral statements), whose weakness, regarding the fundamental right of property, largely explains their rejection and abandonment as soon as the political majority changed.

Finally, by using the same legal solutions (the collective of employees is subject of law and collective owner of shares), our article proposes an argumentation and a much more solid basis to legitimize this collective ownership of employees: their effective contribution to the investment and to the means of production give them the right to be collective owners, in the same way as the shareholders because of their contribution named “social capital”.

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