In Mondragon, all cooperatives must allocate a minimum of 10% of their net profits to the co-op’s social fund used for community investments. Today, it is the wealthiest, with the majority of its residents as worker-owners of Mondragon. The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC) is a holding company for 110 cooperatives and 147 subsidiary companies. There has been an increase in the number of women in managerial positions, conversations around using green energy in their R&D facility, and the development of a social transformation team. Thus, in a very significant way, the workers are directly responsible for the long-term strategic direction of the firm and they select their own boss, who reports to them. Power can assist us and we must guide it. The government pension program is an unfunded system (pay-as-you-go), while Lagun Aro is an individual capitalization system. They are given skill trainings and social safety nets to ensure sustainable employment. 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. Power can assist us and we must guide it. As a result, Mondragon had to set up its own social safety net, which it organized as a cooperative called Lagun Aro. The graduates of this school founded the city’s first cooperatives. Documentary Trailer—A New Economy from Domain7 Studios on Vimeo. In Mondragon and elsewhere, there are still far fewer women than men studying engineering, a critical issue in Mondragon’s engineering-heavy industrial economy. We visited one of the industrial cooperatives, ULMA Packaging, which makes machines that make packaging for perishable food products. Mondragon Worker Cooperative Documentary (---Must Watch---) It's 50 minutes and incredibly interesting. 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. In the end, I have come to believe the biggest impediments would be our culture and the weakness of our K-12 math and science education. Die Kooperativenmitglieder, die davon betroffen waren, hatten jedoch trotzdem weiter Arbeit. C'est une offre de voyages apprenants qui … The Mondragon Corporation is a corporation and federation of worker cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain. Second, as the environmental crisis worsens, it will create many new business opportunities for companies with the technical skills to address them. It was founded in the town of Mondragon in 1956 by José María Arizmendiarrieta and a group of his students at a technical college he founded. But always there is another day: so long as democracy continues, there is the opportunity for another vote, a different outcome. 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. Faculty of Humanities … Since its founding in 1956 by Father Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, Mondragon has become the world’s largest and most advanced cooperative economy. This observation prompted some musings about different approaches to social change — specifically, the differences between the goals of social responsibility, social justice and social transformation. And the capitalist model — at least for the 99% — may fare no better.  Sie hat ihren Sitz in Mondragón im spanischen Baskenland und ist global tätig. The film TOGETHER available to watch on line! The issues of individualism and the availability of talent are related. Benefits offered include health care, pensions, and unemployment. But only 98 of those are federated cooperatives, while the rest are international production subsidiaries. There is nothing in cooperativism that is inherently greener than any other structure. Size and success make Mondragon unique among cooperative experiments, and there is a great deal more that is admirable. Mondragon operates under the values of participation, innovation, social responsibility, and cooperation. This structure has created a group of people, who aren’t owners, but whose labor Mondragon now depends on. 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 The fundamental issues that are well addressed by cooperativism — a reduction in economic inequality and a better alignment of the interests of workers, owners and managers — are critical. In an export-led economy, such as Mondragon, much of the “local living economy” is based on what Michael Porter and others call “industrial clusters.” In fact, according to Etxeberria, Michael Porter created a strategic plan for the Basque government in the 1990s and helped to shape the industrial clusters operating today. As Ed Whitfield, Co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities recently put it, “ There are three kinds of power.  Auch zum Verbund gehören 15 Technologiezentren. There is a need to address societal and environmental issues, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to do so. Symone Jackson and Rebecca Fisher McGinty. It is the largest cooperative in the world. It has been successful in creating a democratic, sustainable, and secure living environment for its members. Your host throughout your stay will be a member of the Cooperative Outreach team, who will explain MONDRAGON’s story and its current situation, as well as answer your questions. Today, it consists of 98 cooperatives with more than 80,000 employees in areas of finance, industry, retail, and knowledge development. First, as environmental responsibility becomes an important consideration for both customers and worker-owners, it is likely to find its way into the mission and function of the cooperatives. Over and over, I was struck by the non-doctrinaire adaptability articulated by our guide and demonstrated by the history of the individual cooperatives. But all of these issues cited here exist in the United States and elsewhere, regardless of whether our economies are organized under capitalist or cooperative principles. the Social Council). As the documentary trailer says, Mondragon is a Federation of 120 worker cooperatives, which collectively have 100,000 employees and produce $25 billion in sales. Each of these inspired considerable envy among our American tour group. 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. Mondragon may offer a worthy alternative. The cooperatives are split into four main divisions of Industry, Retail, Finance, and Knowledge. There are several characteristics that make this an appropriate and potentially sustainable niche for a global competitor coming from a high wage country. Mondragon today consists of 102 individual cooperatives united in a federation called the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, which is also organized as a cooperative. 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. The vast majority of these worker-owners are in the industrial and distribution segments of the economy, competing successfully in global markets. General Assembly: In most of the Mondragon industrial cooperatives, this is the organization of all worker-owners. That’s advocacy. see review. Faculty of Business Studies 3. Mondragon gave me further cause for such reflection. That said, its members elect the Governing Council, which in turn selects the Managing Director. Second, the number of its Asian competitors was growing every day. 2. As I review my experience of Mondragon, I’m thinking this may well be its “secret sauce,” the key to its long-term success. While the rest of Spain struggled to maintain economic stability after the Great Recession of 2008, areas around Mondragon remained fairly unaffected. 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. That’s the type of future that I see my generation striving to create. In Mondragon, all cooperatives must allocate a minimum of 10% of their net profits to the co-op’s social fund used for community investments. On this issue, there is good news on three fronts. 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. 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. Der Grund: Sie wurden mit Maßnahmen gerettet, die heute noch in Krisenzeiten angewandt werden. The first, and most troubling, was the issue of international workers who are not members of the cooperatives. Our local guide was Ander Etxeberria, Director of Cooperative Dissemination. This means organizing and building institutions together for what we need.”. The third issue of concern had to do with the status of women. Third, each machine is customized to its specific application, thus requiring continued human intervention, providing continued employment. I went to Mondragon to see this system in action and to explore its relevance to the US. By the end of our tour, I was amazed by the complexity of Mondragon’s principles and mechanisms. Marjorie Kelly—an amazing author, champion of local and democratic economies, and a co-founder of Fifty-by-Fifty—also participated in the study tour. The legacy of the past and present of the Mondragon cooperative experience, capitalised through an inmense experience and knowledge accumulated during these years, offers the opportunity to share it through unique educational offers and research areas. Despite its many virtues, Mondragon is not utopia. This has necessitated hiring new workers in those new markets. Power than can crush us and we can and must resist it. Cities across the U.S. are embracing worker cooperatives, writes Oscar Perry Abello at Next City. First, I think it strikes the right balance between the economic survival of the firm and the economic benefits to the individual workers. The Mondragon Corporation has over 266 business and cooperatives, in 32 countries. The coops have retained members’ jobs in Spain’s Basque country even during economic crises. Within the global cooperative movement, the Basque town of Mondragon occupies a special place. 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. The Mondragon Cooperative Group, which is the 10th-largest entrepreneurial group in Spain, is one of the most outstanding examples of worker cooperatives in history (Mondragon Corporation, 2013). However, while individuals can evaluate complex issues, they don’t always take the time to do so. And, of course, not all people want to be worker-owners.”. On October 27th, the United Steelworkers and Mondragon Internacional, the worldwide network of cooperatives based in Basque territory, announced a new alliance: PITTSBURGH - The United Steelworkers (USW) and MONDRAGON Internacional, S.A. today announced a framework agreement for collaboration in establishing MONDRAGON cooperatives in the manufacturing sector within the United … And in times of trouble, the General Assembly is a place for the entire cooperative to thrash out difficult issues. That said, for the public part, the Mondragon system faces the same basic funding issues of defined benefit programs worldwide: uncertainty about where the money will come from in a volatile economy where current workers paying into the system are not keeping pace with the extended lifespans of retirees. Worker cooperative … The surprise was in the scale of the experiment. The governance structures supporting that critical difference are the General Assembly and the Social Council. 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 they experience a work culture of solidarity and alliances. Die Mondragon-Kooperative ist eine große Bewegung, die ihren Sitz in der Stadt Mondragon im Baskenland hat und in der der Besitz den Arbeitern gehört. Mondragon is an advanced industrial economy competing in global markets. Because of the principle of “intercooperation” among the Mondragon cooperative enterprises — that is, the idea of connectedness and reciprocity among all the participants in the system — most the employees were relocated to other cooperatives. 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. Definition: Was ist Mondragon-Kooperative? But it’s not just manufacturing. Michael Peck also offered specific examples of women in leadership positions, as the General Secretary for Mondragon’s Governing Council, the Mondragon Corporation’s CFO, and the CEO positions in several of the individual cooperatives. OUR AIM IS TO CONSTITUTE A BUSINESS Also at work, however, was the notion of the “tyranny of the majority.” In winner-take-all voting decisions, the will of the majority is imposed on all, including the dissenting minority. The Experience. While the rest of Spain struggled to maintain economic stability after the Great Recession of 2008, areas around Mondragon remained fairly unaffected. Our thoughts on changing the banking system for good and building the new economy. 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. Unless that shifts, the cooperative model will not work. Mondragon University is a cooperative university, founded in 1997 and officially recognised under Act 4/1997 of 30 May, albeit comprised of three educational cooperatives (Mondragon Higher Polytechnic School S.Coop, Enpresagintza S.Coop and Teacher Training School S.Coop). As with many successful firms, regardless of structure or industry, much of the growth in recent years has come from international markets, which now account for 70 percent of Mondragon sales. Like many Americans who are concerned with rising inequality and environmental degradation, I was seeking an alternative to our current system’s focus on maximizing shareholder value. Each coop is represented at the Cooperative Congress, where system-wide plans and business decisions are made. First, immediately prior to the recession, Fagor Electrodomésticos had expanded by buying a competitor in the household white goods sector; it financed the acquisition by taking on major debt. While I don’t have enough data to draw firm conclusions, I believe this structure produces decisions that are both different from and better than those of capitalist firms in two specific ways. “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. Votes in the General Assembly are strictly apportioned on a one-member, one-vote basis. Second, it is a highly technical niche, relatively insulated from competition from countries with large numbers of low-wage, unskilled workers. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. As for the availability of capital, all cooperatives — and the Mondragon cooperatives in particular — require that their member-owners invest seed capital in the enterprise, giving them a definite sense of “having skin in the game.” While these contributions are unlikely to be sufficient to meet the capital requirements of the enterprise, they are an important start. the General Assembly), where all three roles are united in a one-member, one-vote democratic system. In Mondragon, the worker democracy explicitly seeks to balance the general interests of the firm with the particular interests of the individual workers, which are not always internally aligned. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Fagor Electrodomésticos, the largest of the industrial cooperatives, failed, eliminating the jobs of 1,800 worker-owners in 2013. Here are ten takeaways from the trip: I was not aware of my assumptions about Mondragon until I arrived and found myself surprised. Faculty of Engineering 2. Workers in those other locations are not members of the cooperatives, and thus do no participate in democratic governance. … Mondragon Team Academy (LEINN) together with MONDRAGON and other companies, Foundations and NGOs united to mobilize young people to create solutions for the coronavirus. The most compelling reason we heard for why these international workers are not also owners is that there is not a culture of cooperatives in these foreign markets and Mondragon does not believe in, or have the capabilities for, proselytizing the cooperative form. Power than can crush us and we can and must resist it. Mondragon University (officially in Basque: Mondragon Unibertsitatea, MU) is a non-profit cooperative private university in the Basque Country, officially established and recognised in 1997.It is part of Mondragon Corporation.Its main campus is in Mondragón, Gipuzkoa.. As of February 2016 it had about 4000 students pursuing 22 bachelor's degrees, 13 master's degrees and several advanced courses. Founded in 1956 by Father José María Arizmendiarrieta, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation currently consists of 102 federated cooperatives employing over 73,000 people. Shelves: econ. To work properly, democracy assumes that voters take the necessary time to educate themselves on the issues and participate in the process. Mondragon has been slowly making changes to take on a larger role in pushing for equitable changes locally. Final reflections: Could the Mondragon system work in the US? One can imagine a sophisticated, cooperatively organized, service-based economy that would also require significant technical expertise. She notes that the biggest change is in the younger generation and further notes that men and women doing the same jobs receive the same pay — an obvious gender equity goal that has yet to be achieved in the US. 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. 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. The tour I took was organized and led by Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute. In a cooperative, the janitor and the CEO have the same voice in the General Assembly — in contrast to the capitalist shareholder system, where the number of votes is based on the amount of money invested in shares of the enterprise — typically by absentee shareholders who have no other interest in the firm. Lagun Aro pension funds are invested conservatively, thereby avoiding some of the self-inflicted insolvency problems created by the US profit-maximizing system. In the United States, a social justice culture focused more on creating our own alternatives, as opposed to fighting old paradigms needs further nurturance. Third, the sustainability orientation of Mondragon is potentially further along than I could observe on the ground. Auch aus dem großen Mondragon-Verbund überlebte eine Genossenschaft diesen Prozess der Deindustrialisierung nicht. STEM education is the right approach, but we are far from figuring out how to deliver it effectively. That said, when Father Arizmendiarrieta came to Mondragon, it was the poorest area of Spain. The surprise was in the scale of the experiment. A case in point: “intercooperation” and the bankruptcy of Fagor Electrodomésticos. The General Assembly meets at least once a year to act on what sounds like a mostly pro forma agenda. 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. Some received unemployment benefits from Lagun Aro, the social welfare cooperative. That’s oppression. How cooperatives show resilience to the crisis can be watched in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian and Korean here! I recently had the opportunity to visit Mondragon, Spain to immerse myself into the world of worker-cooperatives. The Mondragon pension system is now well aligned and fully integrated with the Spanish government system. Centro Corporativo de MONDRAGON Pº Jose Mª Arizmendiarrieta nº 5 20500 Mondragón – Gipuzkoa – Spain Tel: +34 943 779 300 In the course of our visit, three issues came to light that brought this truth home. Created in 1997 and officially recognised by Law 4/1997 of 30th May. Mondragon cooperatives. The second contradiction at Mondragon relates to environmental issues. The plant that we viewed was an assembly plant, which utilized components, materials and logistics provided by both cooperatives and non-cooperatives. Nonetheless, the Mondragon worker-owners are a fairly homogenous group, so one doesn’t have to travel far to experience empathy for “the other,” and the system is not being asked to address such intractable issues as homelessness, racism or multi-generational poverty, none of which were visible to me in Mondragon. Despite its many virtues, Mondragon is not utopia. The Mondragon cooperatives talk about social transformation, a more far-reaching, future-oriented goal that seeks the creation of social and economic systems that reinforce the best in human nature. By the time of our 2017 visit, only 60 former employees (three percent) remained unplaced. Qu'est ce que les "Learning Exploration" ? And third, just as the cooperative’s expanded capacity came on line, the recession hit and the bottom fell out of the market. 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. MONDRAGON is the outcome of a cooperative business project launched in 1956. This is an issue that I think Mondragon has figured out really well, striking an important balance between the need for democratic decision-making and managerial discretion. Some were offered employment in CATA Electrodomésticos, the private sector enterprise that took over the assets of Fagor Electrodomésticos. Shortly afterwards, these cooperative members founded a credit institution to support the work of the cooperatives – and to help … The Mondragon Cooperative Corporation is a business-based, socioeconomic program that is committed to serving the interests of the environment, individual competitive improvement, and customer satisfaction (Tremlett, 2013). Social Council: This is an entity that is, in some respects, like a labor union, because it represents the concerns of worker-owners, but from the lens of their experience as workers. Their method is sometimes incremental improvement toward the goal of reducing harm, while preserving the essential characteristics of the existing system. At MONDRAGON, we welcome people from all over the world who want to visit and learn about the MONDRAGON Cooperative Experience. Workers buy into the cooperative with a fixed sum of money; usually a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Building wealth thru worker coops. In Mondragon, “large is beautiful” because large makes it possible to compete in global markets and thereby maximize employment — the ultimate goal of the worker-owned system. Imagine the power of employee-ownership as a lever for creating social, economic, and environmental changes. Mondragon retirees receive 60 percent of their pension from the government and 40 percent from the Mondragon system. Although it may not be the perfect utopia many envision, there is room for growth and change. The cause of the failure was a “perfect storm” of three related issues. This means organizing and building institutions together for what we need.”. Cleveland, Rochester, Madison, Oakland, Austin and New York City, to name a few.
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