Mondragon Spain – One Giant Step Beyond Capitalism


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    One of the things I like about this blog are the ideas about the economy. Here is a really nice model of a working possibility for the future.

    My friend Gus went on a trip to the Mondragon Coops in the Basque part of Spain this year.

    “Praxis Peace Institute is organizing its fourth 5-day workshop/seminar with the Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque country of Spain. The purpose of the seminar is to learn about worker owned businesses from the leading consortium of cooperatives in the world. Praxis organized two previous seminars at the Mondragon Cooperatives (2008 and 2010).”

    Here are two reports from the trip two years ago.
    1) An Alternative to Cutthroat Capitalism by Georgia Kelly – October 12, 2010

    2) Mondragon Diaries: Five Days Studying Cutting-Edge People and Tools for Change by Carl Davidson – Sept 19, 2010

    Here is what Gus put on his blog this year.

    One Step Beyond Capitalism, 27 Sep 2012

    “From September 8 to 14 I took the opportunity to join a study-tour of the worker owned Mondragon Cooperatives in the Basque Country of northern Spain. It had been organized by the Praxis Peace Institute to expose Americans to the reality of what an economy of worker owned and operated businesses actually looks like. It was an eye opener and this is the first of several posts I will do on my experience.

    Much of the Basque region is a land of heavily forested mountains laced with narrow valleys, and the town of Mondragon (Arrasate in Basque) is nestled within one of them. As the pictures demonstrate, the region is extraordinarily beautiful. What the pictures do not show is that the valley in which Mondragon lies is filled with factories, apartments, and a string of small towns that runs on for miles. I was amazed at the density of development along the valley floor.

    As many know, Spain is in the midst of a major economic crisis, brought about by the same financial interests that have done so much damage to our own country. The country’s unemployment level is around 24-25%. One reason I wanted to go this year was to see how the Mondragon co-operatives were handling this crisis.

    The Basque Country overall is in better shape. The regions exports to Europe as a whole rather than focusing mostly on the Spanish market, and so is suffering much less. Their unemployment, I was told, was around 12%. And in the Mondragon co-operatives?

    0%. That is ZERO. There are no unemployed cooperative members.

    This region is now the most prosperous in Spain, but before the cooperatives were created it was the poorest. It is hard to farm beautiful mountain scenery.”

    For more see:

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