1. The New School hosted an all day Conference on THE NEW ECONOMY. 4/13/13. Described in several paragraphs are the visions of several educators and students, espousing a PARALLEL SOCIETY, A COOPERATIVE for the production of GOODS AND SERVICES, RUN BY PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. THEIR GOAL IS TO DEVELOP COOPS WITHIN AMERICAN CITIES, CEASING TO RELY ON THE LARGE CORPORATIONS over time. This concept could, conceivably, take 30 years to develop. It’s up to individual Communities to decide if it’s a viable alternative to ” Capitalism”?
2. MONDRAGON , in Spain , IS THE LARGEST EXISTING COOP IN THE WORLD. It employs 83,000 workers and 5000 students. It’s business model, is similar to other business models with the exception of Community participation and social responsibility. This co- op, has grown to the 7 th largest business in Spain. The Mondragon is divided into 4 main areas: Finance, Industry, Retail and Knowledge. They were founded after the Spanish Civil War necessitating a way out of poverty.
Their concept has been exported to other Countries. In America, The United Steel Workers and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center , have proposed to join the co- op model. An education facility and their own employee managed financial institution join with the Community to promote social goals while remaining competitive. For further reference on the coop model, see Econmist Richard Wolff’s latest book, ” Democracy at Work”.
3. Going into the New School Community has led to many insights into innovation to overcome social inequities. I attended a Conference at The Center for Public Scholarship and Food Studies Program. One of the Speakers was Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind The Kitchen Door. Founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC UNITED) I learned, to my dismay, about discrimination and sexual harassment that continues to exist in our restaurants. Additionally, we were informed that the new minimum wage does not pertain to any staff who gets tips. Their wage has been frozen at $2.13/ hr for 20 years. Their tips are their wage.
The keynote speaker was Dolores Huerta, co founder of The United Farm Workers of America. She noted the long struggle for adequate child care for migrant workers, the growth of large Agri- businesses and the incorporation recently of on site sanitary facilities. She also noted, that Michigan has been in the forefront of providing a stable life for migrant workers from Texas and Florida. Her slogan, Yes we can! Lent hope to millions of people.
4. LOL Private equity cranks up debt to lift dividends. In Europe , private equity is returning dividends by adding debt at the fastest pace seen since the financial crisis. They are using a technique known as dividend recapitalization to return cash to investors.