Altorg2 from Patricia Murphy on Vimeo.
Patricia Murphy is an award-winning documentary film-maker. The short teaser for her new project can be seen here. She needs money to make the full film, and will be crowd-funding part of it. Watch this space.
For the producer, Mary-Ann Beyster, I recently screened the film ‘We The Owners’ at the Subversive Film Festival in Zagreb. About 70 people came, and the debate afterwards finished only when we were thrown out of the cinema to make way for the next film. About half of the young people in Croatia are unemployed – but the country’s financiers continue to get rich, and their politicians continue to reduce the cash for the unemployed, so that they can join the EU in July. No wonder there is interest in an alternative, which treats people as people, which listens to their views, which enables them to make a full contribution, and which ensures that they share in the wealth they create together.
This project is hugely important and needs cash.
The first of four workshops was held recently in Glasgow, in the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, on the theme of Strengthening Democracy. The key topic was to look at the ways that employee ownership strengthens democracy in the communities around the employee owned firms. David Ellerman opened, with a survey of his search, when he was a young philosopher, for the intellectual basis on which capitalism is founded. He was at that time (1960s) convinced that capitalism was by far the best system in the world, and so set off on his quest for its philosophical foundations with some confidence. However, what he discovered was that there is no valid basis for the key relationship on which our current system depends: employment. Examined dispassionately, the employment contract is a fraud – a way to remove from people the wealth that they create through voluntary cooperation with their work-mates; and to force them into a subservient role instead of acknowledging their autonomy. By contrast, when a company is owned by its employees the business consistently outperforms similar businesses conventionally structured. Why? Because people cannot give up their autonomy, and when they are forced in the conventional employment relationship to pretend to do so, they perform less well: they don’t identify with the business to anything like the same extent, and so they don’t think about it, they don’t feel so confident, nor so cooperative, they end up competing with their colleagues for hierarchical position instead of cooperating to innovate. There is overwhelming evidence that employee-owned companies are more productive, and the reason is that they treat people as the partners they actually are, whatever contracts they have to sign to get a conventional job.