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The Myth of Mondragon: Cooperatives, Politics, and Working-Class Life in a Basque Town
This is the first critical account of the internationally renowned Mondragon cooperatives of the Basque region of Spain. The Mondragon cooperatives are seen as the leading alternative model to standard industrial organization; they are considered to be the most successful example of democratic decision making and worker ownership. However, the author argues that the vast s ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by State University of New York Press
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Despite her many visits there, she doesn't quite get the main point. Worker-owners in the MCC Coops are not going to have the same outlook as militant trade unionists because they are NOT wage-labor. They are associated producer-owners. Moreover, this is not a step back to the past, but a step to the future, to a type of class that exists in a socialist order, even if for now, it still resides in capitalist Europe. She is correct that this is not utopia and full of contradictions, but she lacks ...more
I found her analysis flawed and inconsistent. Further, since its publication, so much has changed as to make a lot of her critique irrelevant. However, it is one of the few Mondragon books that does not offer a glowing tribute. For that reason, it is worth the effort to read this ethnography.--John McNamara
Aug 20, 2011 Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea rated it really liked it
As a coop member in rochester, ny and as a person hearing managers of my coop glowing over mondragon i was really happy to find a critique of that system. I found some similar problems with managers/workers relations and it should be know that people who work at the coop are not necessarily member-owners. A good over view of rise of this Coop system in Basque, Spain and some good insight; this book really does a nice job of letting people know how important context is. Pretty good, but not sure ...more
This is an excellent book. A British sociologist with radical political symphathies studies the Mondragon cooperatives and also the labor unions in the Mondragon area of Spain. She provides very solid evidence that the class I call the coordinator class -- managers and high-end professionals like engineers and financial analysts -- are very much in control of the Mondragon coops, not the workers. In other words, there is a class division within the coops.