Contemporary Economic Systems: A Regional and Country Approach

By Nicholas V. Gianaris | Go to book overview

4 Employee Ownership and Share Economy as Alternatives

INTRODUCTION

In the previous review of the two major systems, capitalism and communism, their main advantages and disadvantages were examined. Economic fluctuations or business cycles, associated with unemployemnt and inflation, constitute the main dilemmas of capitalism and the free-market economy. Bureaucracy, inefficiency, and lack of economic and political freedom are the main disadvantages of communism or the centrally planned economy. The question then is whether there is an alternative viable system that reduces or eliminates some of the disadvantages of both extreme economic systems.

In recent decades, a remarkable development in industrial organization has been introduced in a number of countries, signifying a deviation from both the private and public sectors. Gradually and quietly, workplace committees of workers and employees have come to play a significant role in enterprise decision making concerning wages, working conditions, investment, and similar matters. Such work groups have been developing in the EC countries and recently in the United States. In cooperation with capital, or under a system of employee ownership, they aim at stimulating incentives and improving productivity and welfare. Although they grow at the expense of the traditional labor unions, which behave like tamed dogs presently, they do not seem to raise questions of replacing the authority of owners of property and state. From the standpoint of the public sector, such a trend unloads the government subsidy expenditures to moribund enterprises and undesirable controls to a new form of decentralized social activity.

In a number of instances, management encourages labor representation in enterprise decision making, especially in the EC and the United States, so that strikes and other union disturbances may be avoided as workers become responsible for decisions affecting them. Moreover, when enterprises, public or

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Contemporary Economic Systems: A Regional and Country Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Economics of Capitalism: History and Theory 12
  • 3 - Socialism and Economic Planning 26
  • 4 - Employee Ownership and Share Economy as Alternatives 39
  • 5 - The United States 53
  • 6 - The European Community 68
  • 7 - Japan: A Miracle Economy 89
  • 8 - Swedish Democratic Socialism 100
  • 9 - The Soviet System and Its Collapse 110
  • 10 Reforms of the Eastern European Economies 126
  • 11 - The Chinese Experience 144
  • 12 - Development Strategies, Convergence, and Integration 160
  • Notes 176
  • Bibliography 185
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 196
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