Cooperative Firms as a New Mode of Production

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* Essay: Cooperative Firms as a New Mode of Production. Bruno Jossa. Review of Political Economy. Volume 24, Issue 3, 2012.



"The importance of the notion of ‘the mode of production’ is emphasised by all those scholars who hold that the ‘history-as-totality’ approach is the core of Marx's theory of society. Among them, Gramsci argued that while scientific advancements could shed little light on the issues with which philosophers and economists had traditionally been concerned, concepts such as ‘social relations of production’ and ‘mode of production’ had provided valuable insights for philosophical and economic inquiry. Hence our interest in the question of whether a system of producer cooperatives would actually lead to the establishment of a new mode of production. Opinions in the matter diverge greatly, and major implications stem from the distinction between worker managed firms (WMFs) and labour managed firms (LMFs), where the latter strictly segregate capital incomes from labour incomes. We conclude that LMF cooperatives do implement a new mode of production because they reverse the typical capital–labour relation right within a capitalistic system. An additional major point addressed in some detail is the main contradiction in capitalism."