Employee ownership makes stakeholder capitalism real,
says Marjorie Kelly in Boston Globe
In a letter to the Boston Globe, Fifty by Fifty co-founder Marjorie Kelly responds to an op ed from Denison College President Adam Weinberg who offers his perspective on reforming undergraduate education to prepare students for an economy that works for the many, not the few.
Weinberg was responding to the Business Roundtable statement on the purpose of the corporation, rejecting “the primacy of the shareholder” as the sole purpose of business. In her response, Kelly notes that it isn’t only undergraduate education that should change; business leaders need to be schooled in stakeholder capitalism, including broad-based ownership. She writes:
“Only a handful of business schools include courses on employee ownership or other models of broad-based ownership.
“In recent research we conducted at the Democracy Collaborative, we found that mission-driven and employee-owned companies are exceptionally successful at delivering sustainable and equitable outcomes. These companies include well-known brands such as Eileen Fisher, King Arthur Flour, and Clif Bar. The next generation of enterprise can be seen in these companies — firms such as Recology, the San Francisco-based waste-hauling and recycling firm, with $1.2 billion in revenue, that is 100 percent employee owned. Garbage truck drivers there earn $100,000 a year, because when absentee shareholders aren’t extracting wealth, there’s more for workers.
“Broad-based ownership is the missing piece to make stakeholder service real for companies. Young business leaders need to learn about businesses with stakeholder service in their DNA, supported by ownership cultures in which workers share in the value created.”
Find out more about Marjorie Kelly’s new book, The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few.