Carlos Perez de Alejo is a the co-founder and Executive Director of Cooperation Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit that helps organize and raise awareness of worker-owned cooperatives.
Economics has been a regular theme in The Conversation but, from David Korten to John Fullerton, many of our discussions have focused on systemic issues and top-down reform. While we at The Conversation love big theories and grand visions, we’re equally interested in projects. Worker-owned cooperatives fall in this latter category and, while they are hardly new, the changing economic landscape and success of Spain’s Mondragon Corporation have raised their prominence considerably.
In this episode, Carlos and I talk about how cooperatives critique our current economic paradigm, even as they function within it. That theme leads into a discussion of whether cooperatives will ever be able to grow large enough to meaningfully change the economic paradigm or if they will always be overshadowed by the competition of traditional corporations.
In our concluding discussion of Walter Block, Neil suggested that conversation isn’t always possible. Carlos agrees, but also points to situations where people abandon old ideologies without conversation. Micah and I kick these ideas around a bit more in our conclusion.