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  • There's a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York,

  • with sales per square foot 4 times as high as any other grocery store

  • in the area.

  • 10,000 people work there, and it doesn't have a CEO.

  • This place is the Park Slope Food Co-op,

  • and it's one of 3 million cooperatives, or co-ops for short, around the world.

  • Co-ops are a big part of the global economy:

  • they employ 280 million people— 10% of the world's workforce

  • and the equivalent of over $2 trillion flow through their doors every year.

  • How is it possible that a business with 10,000 workers doesn't have a CEO?

  • To answer that, we have to talk about what a co-op is and why they were founded.

  • Let's rewind to 1844.

  • A group of 28 weavers in Rochdale, England

  • came together to create and co-own a store.

  • By buying in bulk directly from suppliers, they could negotiate prices,

  • which allowed all of them to buy stuff they couldn't otherwise afford.

  • They ran the store collectively and democratically,

  • which was remarkable at the time.

  • The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers wasn't the world's first co-op,

  • but it was the first to publicize its principles

  • principles that guide co-ops to this day.

  • Today, there are all kinds of co-ops:

  • REI in the US and S-Group in Finland are large consumer co-ops.

  • Credit unions and mutual insurance companies are financial sector co-ops.

  • And when farmers or other producers come together, that's a producer co-op.

  • And then there are worker co-ops,

  • like Mondragon in Spain or The Cheeseboard in Berkeley, California,

  • which are founded to provide jobs to people in the community.

  • Some consumer co-ops, like Park Slope,

  • require their members to work shifts in the store.

  • In exchange for their work, members pay 15 to 50% less for groceries,

  • and they influence what products areor aren't— sold there.

  • Three crucial things to know about co-ops:

  • first, all co-ops are jointly owned by their members,

  • whether those members are consumers, producers, workers, or whoever.

  • Unlike traditional companies, which can have outside shareholders,

  • all owners of a co-op are also members.

  • Second, co-ops are not founded to maximize profit.

  • Many do turn a significant profit, but that's not their core mission.

  • So evaluating a co-op purely by traditional business metrics

  • ignores the most important reason for their existence:

  • how well do they serve their members?

  • And third: co-ops are controlled democratically by their members.

  • But how do decisions get made?

  • It varies.

  • At a small worker co-op like The Cheeseboard,

  • day-to-day operational decisions are just made by the workers.

  • As co-ops get larger, they do institute some form of leadership or management.

  • Park Slope has a general manager who leads the 80 or so employees.

  • And the largest network of worker and consumer co-ops in the world,

  • Mondragon, has a president and managers who lead

  • the roughly 30,000 worker-owners and 50,000 contract workers.

  • But leadership roles in a co-op are very different than in a traditional company.

  • The leadership implements policies that its members or worker-owners

  • have agreed upon, by vote.

  • And at Mondragon workers, can vote to fire the president.

  • At a co-op, there's no single person

  • with overarching, top-down power over everyone else,

  • like a CEO would have in a traditional company.

  • Meanwhile, in both co-ops and traditional companies,

  • major company-wide decisions are made by voting.

  • But who votes and how is wildly different.

  • In a traditional company, voting rights usually come with shares of stock.

  • The more shares you own, the more votes you have.

  • Take Alphabet, the parent company of Google:

  • there are thousands of shareholders,

  • but the two founders control 51% of the votes

  • and therefore the direction of the company.

  • In a co-op, every member has the right to vote,

  • and in most co-ops, every member gets one vote.

  • That difference results in radically different policies

  • than you'd find at traditional companies.

  • For example, Mondragon limits the salaries of its management

  • to about 6 times what the lowest paid worker makes.

  • In Spain, CEOs of traditional companies make, on average,

  • 143 times as much as a typical worker.

  • At Park Slope, there's a monthly general meeting,

  • where any member can show up to vote,

  • and a motion needs a simple majority to pass.

  • It then gets taken up by the Board of directors,

  • which is composed of co-op members, for official approval.

  • At The Cheeseboard, the worker-owners try to reach consensus on major decisions.

  • This means that some decisions can take a long time.

  • For example, in the late 1970s,

  • the workers debated whether to post a sign outside declaring

  • that The Cheeseboard was a collective for one and a half years.

  • But the extensive discussion, and disagreements,

  • around that decision made it a solid one

  • The Cheeseboard still advertises the fact that it's a collective

  • almost 50 years later.

  • And that's not all that's working well at co-ops.

  • Studies in the UK show that co-op start-ups are almost half as likely

  • to close within five years as traditional businesses.

  • And in one study, researchers polled 600 workers

  • at two in-home healthcare businesses:

  • one was a worker co-op and the other was a traditional company.

  • The workers did similar work with similar salaries.

  • The biggest difference?

  • Co-op workers were about 40% happier with their jobs.

There's a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York,

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沒有CEO的公司正在蓬勃發展(These companies with no CEO are thriving)

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    shuting1215 發佈於 2022 年 10 月 02 日
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