How to Make a Democratic Economy

How to Make a Democratic Economy


>>>LAURA FLANDERS: THE US ECONOMY WEAK OR STRONG IS THE QUESTION AT THE HEART OF THE ELECTION, BUT IT DOESN’T GET TO THE REALITY WHICH IS THAT WHATEVER ELSE IT MAY BE, THE US ECONOMY IS NOT DEMOCRATIC OR GOOD FOR THE PLANET, BUT IT COULD BE. MARJORIE KELLY AND TED HOWARD OF THE DEMOCRACY COLLABORATIVE SAY HOW IN THEIR NEW BOOK, THE MAKING OF A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY. THAT’S THIS WEEK ON THE LAURA FLANDERS SHOW, THE PLACE WHERE THE PEOPLE WHO SAY IT CAN’T BE DONE TAKE A BACK SEAT TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING IT. WELCOME. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ IT’S SCARY OUT THERE. FROM PUTIN’S RUSSIA TO TRUMP’S US RIGHT WING DEMAGOGUES ARE RILING PEOPLE UP AROUND A SENSE THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN OR RIGGED. POLLS SUGGEST THAT 71% OF AMERICANS ACTUALLY AGREE LEAVING DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS DEFENDING A STATUS QUO THAT’S PRODUCED A LEVEL OF INEQUALITY THAT’S FRANKLY PRETTY HARD TO DEFEND. THE AUTHORS OF A NEW BOOK AGREE THAT ALL SORTS OF SYSTEMS ARE BROKEN FROM OUR ECONOMY TO OUR DEMOCRACY, BUT THAT’S NO REASON FOR DESPAIR OR FIGHTING WITH OUR NEIGHBORS OVER THE WRECKAGE. NEW MODELS ARE OUT THERE AND THEY JUST MAY BE ADDING UP TO A NEW SYSTEM. MARJORIE KELLY AND TED HOWARD OF THE DEMOCRACY COLLABORATIVE ARE THE COAUTHORS OF THE MAKING OF A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY. KELLY’S PREVIOUS BOOK ON THE DIVINE RIGHT OF CAPITAL HELPED INSPIRE THE B CORP MOVEMENT. HOWARD’S BEEN DEEPLY INVOLVED IN THE EVERGREEN COOPERATIVES IN CLEVELAND AND HELPED DEVELOP THE COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING MODEL IMPRESSED IN ENGLAND THE ONE WE’VE REPORTED ON THIS SHOW. I’M SO GLAD TO HAVE YOU ACTUALLY BOTH HERE IN STUDIO. THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU, WE WERE TREKKING AROUND THE MOUNTAINS OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY, VISITING THE MONDRAGON CO-OPS TOGETHER.>>>TED HOWARD: INDEED.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: ABOUT WHICH PEOPLE WILL SEE ON THIS SHOW IN AN UPCOMING EPISODE. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: WELL, THANKS LAURA, IT’S GREAT TO BE HERE. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: SO CONGRATULATIONS FIRST ON THE BOOK. LET’S START WITH THE BREAKDOWN PART. YOU SAY IN IT, THIS IS A PERIOD OF BREAKDOWN, BUT ALSO DEEP REDESIGN. HOW DO YOU SEE IT MARJORIE? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: WELL, YOU KNOW, WE’RE TOLD THE ECONOMY’S DOING WELL. GDP IS GROWING, THE STOCK MARKET’S UP. UNEMPLOYMENT IS LOW, BUT IN FACT THERE’S REALLY TWO ECONOMIES. 45% OF JOBS TODAY ARE INSECURE. THEY’RE PART-TIME CONTRACT UBER’IZED TYPE JOBS. AND THAT’S THE NUMBER WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT. WAGES HAVE BEEN STAGNANT FOR DECADES AND THERE ARE REASONS FOR THAT. THAT’S WHAT WE TALK ABOUT IN THE BOOK IS THAT THE ECONOMY IS DESIGNED FOR THE OUTCOMES THAT WE HAVE WHERE THREE BILLIONAIRES HAVE MORE WEALTH THAN THE BOTTOM HALF OF AMERICANS COMBINED. BUT A DIFFERENT KIND OF ECONOMY IS GROWING. AND THAT’S WHAT WE TRAVEL AROUND AND VISIT.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: IS IT AN ECONOMY, TED, OR IS IT JUST LIKE A SMATTERING OF LOTS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF THINGS?>>>TED HOWARD: WELL, WITHIN THE OVERALL HYPER CASINO CAPITALISM THAT WE LIVE IN, OUR THESIS AND OUR BELIEF IS THERE IS LITERALLY A NEW ECONOMY BEING BORN. IT’S SHOWING UP IN DIFFERENT MODELS AND INNOVATIONS IN DIFFERENT PLACES. IT REMINDS US OF THE PERIOD AS THE GREAT DEPRESSION WAS GEARING UP. THE GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME UNDER HERBERT HOOVER WAS NOT COMING TO SAVE ANYBODY, SAID THE FREE MARKET’S GOING TO HANDLE THE DEPRESSION. SO PEOPLE IN COMMUNITIES STARTED INNOVATING AND CREATING REALLY EXCITING NEW MODELS REALLY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. AND WHEN THE POLITICS CHANGED UNDER ROOSEVELT IN THE NEW DEAL, HIS GOVERNMENT LOOKED AROUND THE COUNTRY AT THESE LITTLE MODELS AND SCALED THEM UP INTO THINGS LIKE THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, OUR MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL SAFETY NET. SO OUR VIEW IS THAT EVERY COMMUNITY HAS MANY, MANY INNOVATIVE MODELS, PUBLIC BANKING, COOPERATIVES, LAND TRUSTS, EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP, SOCIAL ENTERPRISE. AND THEY USED TO NEED TO BE DEVELOPED SO THAT WHEN THE TIME’S RIGHT, THEY CAN TAKE CENTER STAGE IN THE ECONOMY, NOT BE THE ALTERNATIVE, BE THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC OF AMERICAN’S ECONOMY. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: I MEAN, THAT’S VERY INTERESTING. THE NEW DEAL WASN’T BROUGHT TO US BY GOVERNMENT. REALLY, GOVERNMENT GOT IT FROM US. THAT MAKES US FEEL KIND OF->>>TED HOWARD: YOU KNOW, WE OFTEN THINK, WELL IT’S THE WISE MEN SITTING AROUND THE TABLE IN WASHINGTON DC WITH FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT. BUT IT WASN’T. IT WAS PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES CREATING THE IDEAS OR IN YOUR COUNTRY, IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CAME FROM A VERY SMALL MODEL IN WALES THAT WAS THEN LIFTED UP DECADES LATER BY BEVIN AND BECAME ONE OF THE GREAT HEALTH SYSTEMS IN THE WORLD. AND THAT’S HOW THESE THINGS HAPPENED. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: SO YOU START IN SOUTH DAKOTA ON THE PINE RIDGE RESERVATION. WHY THERE AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN THERE ABOUT HOW THE NEW ECONOMY IS MAYBE NOT SO NEW?>>>MARJORIE KELLY: WE GO TO PINE RIDGE, WHICH IS OF COURSE AN INDIAN RESERVATION AND SEE THE REGENERATIVE COMMUNITY THAT’S BEING BUILT THERE, WHICH IS BUILDING ALL KINDS OF COMMUNITY WEALTH AND YOUTH SKILLS. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: BUT PEOPLE DON’T THINK SOUTH DAKOTA, INDIAN COUNTRY AND WEALTH VERY OFTEN. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT. YOU’VE GOT 80% UNEMPLOYMENT ON PINE RIDGE. YOU’VE GOT BEATEN DOWN COMMUNITY WHERE THERE AREN’T JOBS, THERE AREN’T HOUSES. FIRST OF ALL, IF YOU CAN GET SOMETHING STARTED ON PINE RIDGE, YOU CAN GET SOMETHING STARTED ANYWHERE. SO THAT’S VERY, VERY HOPEFUL WHAT’S BEING BUILT THERE. BUT THE OTHER THING IS THAT THIS IS REALLY WHERE OUR ECONOMY TOOK A BIG TURN. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, USED TO BE NATIVE AMERICANS WITH A COMMUNITY SPIRIT. AND THAT ECONOMY WERE SUPPLANTED BY THE ROBBER BARONS WHO CAME IN AND BROUGHT THE RAILROADS WEST AND PUSHED THE INDIANS OFF THE LAND. SO WE START WITH THE ROBBER BARONS WHO WERE TRYING TO MAKE THEMSELVES RICH AND THAT IS THE ATHOS THAT WE STILL HAVE TODAY IN OUR ECONOMY OF BILLIONAIRES IN SILICON VALLEY WHERE THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS, ONE OUT OF THREE CHILDREN ARE GOING HUNGRY. SO WE HAVE THIS HYPER INDIVIDUALIZED ECONOMY AND GETTING BACK TO A COMMUNITY ORIENTED ECONOMY, WE CALL IT A NEW ECONOMY, BUT REALLY IT’S A RETURN TO WHAT THEIR ANCESTORS ALWAYS KNEW. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM, YOU HAVE PLANS AROUND THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND QUANTITATIVE EASING FOR THE PLANET. THAT’S BEEN SURPRISINGLY EXCITING AND POPULAR TOPIC ON THIS SHOW AMONG OTHER PLACES. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN IT AND HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN QUANTITATIVE EASING FOR THE PLANET? >>>TED HOWARD: WELL, VERY SIMPLY WHAT WE LOOKED AT WAS DEFINED. IF WE DON’T GET ON TOP OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS THIS COUNTRY AND COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD ARE GOING TO BE SWAMPED WITH THE CRISIS AND NOT JUST THE WATER, BUT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AFFECTED. THE PROBLEM IS WE HAVE THESE LARGE ENERGY COMPANIES THAT ARE IN THE WAY OF ANY MEANINGFUL CHANGE. THEY WILL BLOCK IT CONSISTENTLY. SO WE ASKED OURSELVES, HOW DO WE GET THEM OUT OF THE WAY? AND THEN WE RECALLED 10 YEARS AGO AT THE HEIGHT OF THE GREAT RECESSION WHEN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND THE FEDERAL RESERVE BASICALLY IMPLEMENTED SOMETHING CALLED QUANTITATIVE EASING. THEY LITERALLY CREATED MONEY OUT OF NOWHERE IN ORDER TO BAIL OUT BANKS, INSURANCE COMPANIES, THE AUTO COMPANIES TO STABILIZE THE ECONOMY. THEY CREATED OVER $3 TRILLION. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: THAT’S A LOT. >>>TED HOWARD: LITERALLY AND OUT OF NOWHERE. IT HAPPENED IN EUROPE AS WELL. GOT THOSE INSTITUTIONS RIGHTED. THEY WERE PUBLICLY OWNED FOR AWHILE AND THEN GAVE THEM BACK. SO WE SAID, WELL, IF THEY COULD DO THAT, WE HAVE A MUCH GREATER CRISIS NOW, THE CLIMATE CRISIS. WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO BUY OUT ALL THE OIL COMPANIES AND JUST STRAND THE OIL IN THE GROUND? JUST TAKE THEM OVER, GET THEM OUT OF THE WAY, AND LEAVE THE FOSSIL FUEL IN THE GROUND. SO WE CREATED A TERM CALLED QUANTITATIVE EASING FOR THE PLANET. HOW MANY HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OR TRILLION DOLLARS PERHAPS NEED TO BE CREATED IN ORDER TO TAKE OVER AMERICA’S OIL INFRASTRUCTURE AND JUST LEAVE THE OIL IN THE GROUND. IT WAS A COMPLETELY OUTSIDE THE BOX IDEA, BUT WE REALIZED THAT EVEN IF EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD DID EVERYTHING IT’S COMMITTED THROUGH THE PARIS ACCORDS AND OF COURSE THE US PULLED OUT THEM. EVEN IF WE DID THAT, WE STILL DON’T MAKE IT TO TWO DEGREES OR LESS. SO WE NEED SOME RADICAL INTERVENTIONS. SO THE DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY IS JUST BEING BUILT IN COMMUNITIES THROUGH MODELS AND INNOVATIONS. BUT WE NEED A NEW ORDER OF THINKING. YOU KNOW, ALBERT EINSTEIN SAID, WE CAN’T SOLVE THE PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING WITH THE SAME THINKING THAT CREATED THE PROBLEMS IN THE FIRST PLACE. SO QE FOR THE PLANET IS A VERY NEW APPROACH TO HANDLING THE BIGGEST CRISIS OF OUR TIME.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: AND I TOUCHED ON HOW INTERESTED PEOPLE ARE IN THIS. YOU’VE BEEN ON BOOK TOUR WITH YOUR BOOK. RUMOR HAS IT, YOU HAD A PRETTY SUCCESSFUL EVENT RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK WHERE PEOPLE SEE REAL NEED FOR CHANGE. ARE THERE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS TO YOUR MAKING OF A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY THAT PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING FOR TODAY, MARJORIE? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: OH, ALL OVER. ALL OVER. LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE WORKING FOR MORE EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP. FOR EXAMPLE, RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, THE MAYOR HAS PUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BEHIND GROWING WORKER CO-OPS AND THERE HAVE BEEN OVER A HUNDRED STARTED. THERE ARE OTHER CITIES ARE SUPPORTING THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT PUBLICLY OWNED BANKS. IN NORTH DAKOTA, THEY HAVE THE BANK OF NORTH DAKOTA, HELPED THAT STATE SURVIVE THE RECESSION IN GREAT SHAPE. AND THE NEW GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA IS TALKING ABOUT STATE OWNED BANK CITIES. YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT CITY OWNED BANKS. AND THAT WOULD HELP BRING LENDING BACK TO SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZE BUSINESSES, WHICH ARE NOT GETTING LOANS FROM THE BIG BANKS. THEY’VE ESSENTIALLY BECOME HEDGE FUNDS. SO, YES, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT REALLY PRACTICAL THINGS. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: YOU WERE HERE DURING BLACKOUT SEASON. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YES. RIGHT. CON ED- >>>LAURA FLANDERS: NEW YORK USED TO BE IN THE DARK THINKING SURELY WE COULD DO ENERGY DIFFERENTLY. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: RIGHT. SO WHO MADE THE DECISION TO BLACKOUT WHICH COMMUNITIES? IT WAS CON ED. IT WAS AN INVESTOR OWNED UTILITY. PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE IN NEW YORK, THEY’RE SAYING WE NEED PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THIS UTILITY AND THERE ARE ALREADY UTILITIES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY THAT ARE OWNED BY THE PEOPLE. YOU CAN HAVE A DIFFERENT KIND OF ECONOMY WITH THAT KIND OF OWNERSHIP. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: WE’VE COVERED COOPERATIVE HOME CARE ASSOCIATES HERE IN NEW YORK, ONE OF THE LARGEST WORK AROUND COOPERATIVES IN THE COUNTRY. WHY IS IT STILL SO ALONE IN SCALE IN NEW YORK… I MEAN, IN THE US DO YOU THINK? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: WELL, THAT’S STARTING TO CHANGE LAURA. I MEAN COOPERATIVE HOME CARE ASSOCIATES EMPLOYS 1200 PEOPLE, MOSTLY LATINOS AND AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN. IT’S BEEN AROUND 33 YEARS AND THERE IS NOW A MOVEMENT TO REPLICATE IT. SO THERE ARE 15 OF THESE COMPANIES THAT ARE EITHER IN FORMATION OR HAVE ALREADY BEEN FORMED. SO THERE IS A MOVEMENT FOR THAT. BUT YOU’RE RIGHT. WHY ISN’T WORKER OWNERSHIP MORE OF A PHENOMENON? I THINK IT’S BECAUSE A LOT OF IT IS THE MINDSET THAT TED TALKED ABOUT. WE’RE SO FOCUSED ON WALL STREET. WE’RE SO FOCUSED ON WHAT CAPITAL IS DOING AND WHERE CAN YOU INVEST IN THESE CAPITOL OWNED COMPANIES THAT THIS IDEA THAT WORKERS CAN OWN THEIR COMPANIES AND THAT CAN BE A SUCCESSFUL PROFITABLE MODEL THAT IT DOESN’T KIND OF PENETRATE THE MIND. SO I THINK THAT MIND SHIFT IS CRITICAL.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: YOU TALK ABOUT CORPORATIONS, I MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN SORT OF SPARKING THIS “B CORPORATE” MOVEMENT. THAT’S KIND OF A MIDDLE STAGE. DO YOU WANT TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT B CORPS KIND OF ARE, WHAT B CORPS ARE? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH, WELL, IF YOU STEP BACK FOR A MOMENT AND YOU SAY WHAT DO WE THINK THE PURPOSE OF COMPANIES IS TODAY? MAXIMIZE RETURNS TO SHAREHOLDERS. THIS IS KIND OF TAUGHT IN THE BUSINESS SCHOOLS, ENFORCED IN THE COURTS. WELL WHAT IF THERE WERE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE INSIDE COMPANIES TO SERVE THE PUBLIC GOOD? TO CREATE PUBLIC BENEFITS? SO THAT’S WHAT B CORPS ARE. THEY’RE SAYING THESE ARE FOR BENEFIT COMPANIES. THEY ARE COMPANIES THAT TAKE INTO THEIR BYLAWS, THEIR ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION, THIS LEGAL COMMITMENT TO SERVING THE PUBLIC GOOD AS WELL AS SERVING EMPLOYEES AND SHAREHOLDERS. AND THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THESE COMPANIES OUT THERE ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND THEY’RE SUCCEEDING. THEY ARE SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING COMPANIES, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY’RE COMBINED WITH BROAD-BASED OWNERSHIP. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: DOES IT REQUIRE A PARTICULAR KIND OF SHAREHOLDERS, SOMEBODY WHO DOESN’T REALLY WANT THAT MUCH MONEY BACK? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: IT REQUIRES, I THINK, LEADERS AND INVESTORS WHO THINK THAT THERE’S A BROADER AND MORE IMPORTANT PURPOSE OF BUSINESS. BUT YES, YOU CAN STILL MAKE MONEY, YOU CAN STILL MAKE PLENTY OF MONEY FOR INVESTORS. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: WE LAST TALKED, I THINK, TED ON CAMERA WHEN WE WERE REPORTING ON THE PRESTON MODEL, WHICH HAS ALSO BEEN ABOUT LEVERAGING INVESTMENT CAPITAL, SOME OF IT PUBLIC MONEY TO INVEST LOCALLY AND CREATE LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AND BETTER LIVING CONDITIONS. HOW’S THAT GOING AS FAR AS YOU KNOW? >>>TED HOWARD: THE PRESTON MODEL IS REALLY AN EXTRAORDINARY REPRESENTATION OF WHAT CAN OCCUR IN A PLACE WHEN A FULL RANGE OF COMMUNITY WEALTH AND DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY TOOLS ARE DEPLOYED. PRESTON IS AN OLDER INDUSTRIAL CITY OF 150,000 PEOPLE IN LANCASHIRE. FIVE, SIX YEARS AGO, THEY BEGAN THIS JOURNEY THAT THEY’RE ON TO CREATE A NEW MODEL FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY. AT THE TIME THE HIGH STREET WAS SHUTTERED, UNEMPLOYMENT WAS HIGH. THERE WAS REALLY NO FUTURE FOR THE CITY. THEY’VE LEVERAGED A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS OF PUBLIC… A HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSION FUNDS. THEY’RE CREATING COOPERATIVES IN THE CITY THROUGH THE UNIVERSITY. THEY’RE CREATING A PUBLIC BANK THAT WILL BE CAPITALIZED BY THE RESERVES OF THE CITY COUNCIL. THEY’VE CHANGED PURCHASING SO THAT 70 MILLION POUNDS OF PURCHASING IS BROUGHT BACK TO THE CITY THAT USED TO GO INTERNATIONALLY OR TO THE CITY IN LONDON. THE END RESULT IS WHEN THIS ALL BEGAN JUST FIVE, SIX YEARS AGO, PRESTON WAS LISTED IN THE BOTTOM 20% OF THE MOST DEPRIVED CITIES AND COMMUNITIES IN ALL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM. EARLIER THIS YEAR, THIS VERY RADICAL LEFT-WING GROUP CALLED PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS [LAUGHING] DID AN ASSESSMENT->>>LAURA FLANDERS: IRONY THERE. >>>TED HOWARD: … DID AN ASSESSMENT OF THE MOST IMPROVED COMMUNITIES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE NUMBER ONE LISTED WAS PRESTON, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. NOW THERE’S A LONG WAY TO GO, BUT IT SHOWS WHAT’S POSSIBLE WHEN PEOPLE PUT THEIR SHOULDER TO THE WHEEL AND INSTITUTIONS START TO WORK FOR LOCAL BENEFIT.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: WERE THERE QUALMS ABOUT PUTTING PENSION FUNDS INTO PROGRAMS LIKE THAT? I MEAN WE’VE HEARD SINCE WE BROADCAST THAT SHOW ANXIETIES ABOUT RESPONSIBILITIES HAVING TO DO WITH PENSION FUNDS. IF YOU’RE THE PENSION FUND MANAGER, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE RETURN? PARTICULARLY IN THIS COUNTRY, FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE RELYING ON THEIR PENSIONS, IF THEY’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE THEM FOR THEIR FUTURES, THEY MAY NOT HAVE A WELFARE SYSTEM TO SUPPORT THEM. >>>TED HOWARD: YEAH. WELL, MARJORIE MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THIS TOO, BUT YOU KNOW, IN THE UNITED STATES THERE IS A MOVEMENT TO USE PUBLIC PENSIONS. IN CALIFORNIA, CALPERS, IS MULTI, MULTIBILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENTS BEING MADE, AND THEY’RE NOT TAKING ALL OF THEIR MONEY OUT OF WALL STREET, BUT THEY’RE TAKING SOME FOR LOCAL IMPACT. THE HISTORY IS SHOWING THAT THESE ARE RETURNING VERY GOOD VALUE TO THE PENSION FUNDS. SO IT’S NOT THAT THE LABORERS WHOSE PENSION FUNDS ARE INVESTED ARE NOW TAKING DRAMATICALLY LOWER RETURNS. IT CAN BE DONE WELL, AND IT’S BEING DONE AROUND THE COUNTRY. IT’S VERY INTERESTING, THIS WHOLE FIELD THAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE, IF WE’D SAT HERE 40 YEARS AGO, FIRST I’D HAVE DARK HAIR, BUT WE WOULDN’T BE TALKING ABOUT EMPLOYEE STOCK OWNERSHIP PLANS. THEY DIDN’T EXIST. PEOPLE WERE NOT TALKING ABOUT PUBLIC BANKING. COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS HAD NOT STARTED. SO ALL OF THESE INNOVATION, IMPACT INVESTING, B CORP, ALL OF THESE WERE TO BE INVENTED. AND NOW WE HAVE DECADES OF HISTORY PROVING THE EFFICACY OF THESE MODELS.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: WE HAVE, AS YOU SAID, A WIDE ARRAY OF STORIES TO TELL. AND YOU PICK SOME GREAT ONES. YOU ALSO LEAVE OUT SOME THAT HAVE GOTTEN A LOT OF ATTENTION. AND I WANTED TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THAT BECAUSE I DO SOMETIMES FEEL AS SOMEBODY WHO’S A PARTNER OF YOURS OFTEN AND FEELS VERY MUCH LIKE YOU, THAT THESE STORIES NEED TO BE LIFTED UP TO GIVE PEOPLE MODELS OF CHANGE. I SOMETIMES FEEL, AM I EXAGGERATING THE SCALE OF SOME OF THESE INITIATIVES BECAUSE WE’RE SO STARVED FOR GOOD EXAMPLES? I NOTICED THAT JACKSON, FOR EXAMPLE, IN MISSISSIPPI ISN’T IN YOUR BOOK, A STORY THAT WAS LIFTED UP AND CELEBRATED A LOT IN THE LAST FEW YEARS AND THAT WE COVERED AT THE VERY BEGINNING WHEN IT WAS STILL AN IDEA WITH THE FORMER MAYOR CHOKWE LUMUMBA BEFORE HE DIED. >>>CHOKWE LUMUMBA: I THINK WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THINGS HAPPEN IN HISTORY WHEN YOU GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. AND I THINK THAT’S WHERE WE ARE. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A BUILDING WHICH IS DESIGNATED AS BEING BUILT BY SLAVES, THAT’S THE RIGHT PLACE. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN UNDER THIS OPPRESSION, ALL OF THEIR ANCESTORS LIVES AND UNDER THEIR LIVES, THOSE ARE THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO MAKE THE CHANGE. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: IT’S AN IDEA THAT HAS HAD CHALLENGES AND I DON’T THINK ANYBODY INVOLVED WOULD DENY IT. I ONLY MENTIONED IT AS AN EXAMPLE THAT SOME OF THESE THINGS AREN’T EASY. THEY DON’T WORK SO WELL. THE NARRATIVE IS NOT SO SIMPLE. AS PEOPLE THAT COVER THIS WHO WERE INTIMATELY INVOLVED, HOW DO YOU APPROACH IT AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY FOR US ALL TO APPROACH IT? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH. WELL LAURA, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AND THE HARDSHIPS OF ALL THESE PROJECTS AND WE DO THAT IN EVERY CHAPTER. FOR EXAMPLE, COOPERATIVE HOME CARE ASSOCIATES, THEY TOLD US THAT THEY ARE IN THE FIGHT OF THEIR LIVES. THIS YEAR THE MINIMUM WAGE WENT FROM 11 TO 15. MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT WENT UP, MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT WENT UP, BUT IT’S NOT ALL BEING PASSED THROUGH TO THEM. IT’S A ROUGH TIME FOR THEM RIGHT NOW. ALSO THEIR WORKER OWNERSHIP, EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE 100% OWNED BY WORKERS, ONLY ABOUT HALF THEIR WORKERS DECIDE TO BECOME OWNERS. WE’RE THE FIRST ONES WHO’VE WRITTEN ABOUT THAT AND THERE ARE REASONS. YOU HAVE TO BUY IN. IT’S COMPLICATED. SO YES, THERE ARE CHALLENGES. IN OTHER CHAPTERS WE TALK ABOUT STEP UP TO U.H., WHICH IS UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS IN CLEVELAND, DELIBERATELY HIRING DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE FROM THE LOW INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS AROUND THE HOSPITAL. THIS PROGRAM IS EVERY YEAR ON THE VERGE OF GOING OUT OF BUSINESS BECAUSE THEY CAN’T AFFORD IT.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: THE HOSPITAL SOMETIMES IS THE VERY INSTITUTION THAT’S PRICING THOSE LOW INCOME PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS BY ENCROACHING INTO IT. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH, IT’S TRUE. THERE’S LOTS OF CHALLENGES HERE AND THEN WE DON’T NEED TO WHITEWASH THAT. I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: ANY THOUGHTS ON SORT OF HEALTHY APPROACH FOR JOURNALISTS TO ALL OF THIS? BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT JUST WANT TO DO HAPPY STORIES.>>>TED HOWARD: NO, WE SHOULDN’T DO HAPPY STORIES.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: I’M ALL FOR A LITTLE HAPPINESS.>>>TED HOWARD: ESPECIALLY IN THESE TIMES. I THINK YOUR POINT IS REALLY GOOD. THIS IS NOT JUST POSITIVE NEWS. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TO TELL AUTHENTIC STORIES OF THE STRUGGLE WITHIN THIS WHAT SOME HAVE CALLED A CASINO CAPITALIST SOCIETY AND ECONOMY TO BUILD AN ALTERNATIVE. AND LITERALLY ALMOST EVERYTHING IS GOING AGAINST THIS TREND, BUT THE TREND IS CONTINUING TO ESCALATE. WITH EVERGREEN IN CLEVELAND THAT I’VE BEEN INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN, I LIKE TO SAY IN THE NINE YEARS SINCE WE STARTED EVERGREEN, WE PROBABLY HAVE MADE LITERALLY EVERY MISTAKE YOU COULD MAKE. AND YET WE’RE STILL STANDING. BUT NONE OF THE MISTAKES WE MADE ARE AS BIG AS THE MISTAKES THAT ENRON MADE. THE THOUGHT THAT, WELL, COOPERATIVE HOME CARE IS HAVING THIS PROBLEM OR EVERGREEN HAD THAT PROBLEM, AND SO, THEREFORE, THESE MODELS DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE. WELL, THERE’S A MUCH BIGGER HISTORY TO LOOK AT.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: WHAT ARE OUR CHANCES OF GETTING THESE IDEAS INTO POPULAR DISCOURSE AT THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL CANDIDATES, CAMPAIGNS? ARE WE GOING TO HEAR IT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THIS YEAR? >>>TED HOWARD: WELL, YES. IN FACT, AT THE DEMOCRACY COLLABORATIVE, WHILE WE’RE A NONPROFIT AND THEREFORE NONPARTISAN AND DON’T ENDORSE CANDIDATES AND SO FORTH, MANY CANDIDATES, MOSTLY DEMOCRATS, IT’S TRUE, ARE COMING TO US PEOPLE RUNNING FOR STATE SENATE OR US SENATOR, CITY COUNCIL, AND SOME OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SAYING, WE WANT TO BUILD THESE OWNERSHIP IDEAS INTO OUR STRATEGIES. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: GO ON. GIVE US A FEW NAMES. WHO’S COME TO YOU?>>>TED HOWARD: WELL, ONE OF THE OFFICES WE’VE WORKED WITH IS SENATOR SANDERS, BERNIE SANDERS’ OFFICE. IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE LABOR PARTY ANNOUNCED SOMETHING CALLED THE INCLUSIVE OWNERSHIP FUND. WE HAD A ROLE IN THAT OVER THERE. THIS IS AN IDEA TO CREATE A SHARE LEVY EACH YEAR FOR 10 YEARS THAT WOULD TRANSFER 1% OF THE OWNERSHIP OF COMPANIES OVERTURNED TO 50 EMPLOYEES TO A TRUST THAT WOULD BE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THEIR WORKERS. AFTER A DECADE IT WOULD BE 10% OF THE COMPANY. VERY INTERESTING WAY TO BUILD BROADER OWNERSHIP AMONG WORKERS. BERNIE SANDERS LOOKED AT THAT IDEA AND CAME BACK AND DOUBLED DOWN ON IT AND SAID, 10% THAT’S NOT ENOUGH. LET’S GO FOR 20%. PERHAPS THE WHOLE FRAME OF A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY IS NOT YET BEING EMBRACED, BUT ELEMENTS OF IT ARE. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD TO THAT MARJORIE? >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH, I WOULD. ELIZABETH WARREN HAS THE ACCOUNTABLE CAPITALISM ACT, AND SHE’S SAYING COMPANIES OVER $1 BILLION IN REVENUE NEED A FEDERAL CHARTER AS OPPOSED TO RIGHT NOW COMPANIES ARE CHARTED AT THE STATE LEVEL. THEY WOULD HAVE A NEW FIDUCIARY DUTY, NOT JUST TO SHAREHOLDERS, BUT TO COMMUNITIES, EMPLOYEES AND THE ENVIRONMENT. AND THAT TAKES US BEYOND, FOR EXAMPLE, ANTITRUST. WE NEED ANTITRUST, BUT THE ONLY ISSUE IS NOT SIZE OF COMPANIES, IT’S THEIR PURPOSE. WHO ARE THEY SERVING AT THEIR VERY CORE? SHE IS SUGGESTING THEY NEED A BROADER FIDUCIARY DUTY. THAT’S RADICAL.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: THE QUESTION OF SERVICE, WHO ARE YOU SERVING, TAKES ME BACK TO MONDRAGON AND TO YOUR BOOK. YOU MENTIONED AT THE BEGINNING THIS QUESTION OF MINDSET. SUFFICE TO SAY, THE THING THAT I TOOK AWAY MOST STRONGLY FROM OUR VISIT THERE THIS SUMMER WAS THE MINDSET CHANGE IN THAT PART OF SPAIN IN BASQUE COUNTRY SUCH THAT WHEN WE TALKED TO SOME PEOPLE WHO HAD JUST STARTED A NEW COMPANY, IT WAS A MEDIA CO-OP, I ASKED THEM, WHY DID THEY MAKE IT A CO-OP AND THEY SAID, WELL, THAT’S JUST WHAT PEOPLE DO HERE. TALK A BIT ABOUT YOUR TAKEAWAYS FROM THAT TRIP.>>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH. I THINK WHAT WAS STRIKING ABOUT VISITING SOME OF THE COMPANIES OF MONDRAGON- >>>LAURA FLANDERS: WE SHOULD SAY MONDRAGON IS THE BIGGEST, THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FEDERATION OF COOPERATIVES, A THOUSAND COOPERATIVES IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY OF NORTHWEST SPAIN. IT’S BEEN AROUND FOR OVER 50 YEARS. GREW UP UNDER FASCISM AND IS STILL THERE TODAY, BRINGING ON NEW TYPES OF INDUSTRIES AS WELL AS MAINTAINING SOME OLD ONES.>>>MARJORIE KELLY: AND $11 BILLION OF INCOME COMING IN TO THOSE COMPANIES. SO THEY’RE QUITE SUBSTANTIAL. I WAS STRUCK BY HOW ORDINARY THESE COMPANIES ARE. THEY’RE MAKING THINGS LIKE ELEVATORS, LIKE PACKAGING, PACKAGING MACHINES, AND THEY’RE DOING IT WELL. THEY’RE SELLING ALL OVER THE WORLD AND THEY’RE JUST A HUNDRED PERCENT OWNED BY THEIR WORKERS. AND THAT’S JUST AN ORDINARY BUSINESS THERE. THAT WAS VERY STRIKING TO ME.>>>TED HOWARD: AND FOR ME THAT WAS MY SIXTH TRIP TO BASQUE COUNTRY, AND EVERY TIME I LEARNED SOMETHING. BUT FOR ME THE FUNDAMENTAL LESSON WAS ON ONE TRIP I ASKED A BASQUE LEADER, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR SYSTEM AND OUR SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES? AND HE SAID IT SO ELOQUENTLY, HE SAID IN YOUR SYSTEM CAPITAL IS IN FIRST PLACE OVER LABOR, SO IF YOU GET IN TROUBLE DURING A RECESSION OR DOWNTIME, THE DRIVE IS PRESERVE CAPITAL FOR THE INVESTORS, AND A WAY TO DO THAT IS SHED AS MUCH LABOR AS YOU CAN. IT’S A RATIONAL DECISION IN YOUR SYSTEM. IN OUR SYSTEM, WE KNOW CAPITAL’S ESSENTIAL, BUT WE PLACE LABOR ABOVE CAPITAL. SO WHEN WE GET INTO TROUBLE, WE FIND WAYS TO KEEP EVERYBODY WORKING. WE ABSORB THEM INTO DIFFERENT COMPANIES. WE HAVE A DIFFERENT KIND OF SOCIAL SAFETY NET BECAUSE THEIR PURPOSE IS NOT TO GENERATE A MAXIMUM SHAREHOLDER VALUE, THEIR PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE DECENT, ONGOING, SECURE WORK FOR THE BASQUE PEOPLE. AND THAT’S JUST A VERY FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE. AND YOU COULD IMAGINE, YOU KNOW, I LIVE IN CLEVELAND, OHIO. OUTSIDE OF CLEVELAND THERE’S A TOWN CALLED LORDSTOWN AND ONE OF THE BIG AUTO COMPANIES JUST CLOSED THE PLANT THERE. THREE TO FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOB. IT’S JUST NATURAL. MONDRAGON A FEW YEARS AGO, ONE OF THEIR BIGGEST COMPANIES COLLAPSED CALLED FAGOR. IN THIS COUNTRY, WE PROBABLY JUST WOULD’VE LET ALL THOSE PEOPLE BE UNEMPLOYED. WHO KNOWS WHAT WOULD’VE HAPPENED TO THEM. BASQUE SAID NO. OUR COMMITMENT IS TO KEEP PEOPLE WORKING. AND AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF EFFORT, THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT 150 PEOPLE FROM THOSE COUPLE THOUSAND WHO YET HAVE NOT BEEN ABSORBED INTO NEW COMPANIES. VERY DIFFERENT STRATEGY FOR AN ECONOMY. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: IT GOES BACK TO THE DIVINE RIGHT OF CAPITAL THAT YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT. WE HAVE TO TOPPLE IT. YOU SAY SEXISM IS STILL BAD, RACISM IS STILL BAD, EVERY OTHER KIND OF -ISM IS STILL BAD, BUT SEEN AS BAD. PRO CAPITAL BIAS SOMEHOW IS STILL OKAY. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: YEAH. RIGHT. CAPITALISM IS THAT FORM OF CAPITAL BIAS WHERE WE JUST THINK CAPITAL COMES FIRST. MAXIMIZING RETURNS TO SHAREHOLDERS IS THE PURPOSE OF THE COMPANY. ONLY SHAREHOLDERS ARE REPRESENTED ON CORPORATE BOARDS AND EVEN IN THE INCOME STATEMENT. YOU DEFINE PROFIT IS INCOME TO SHAREHOLDERS, THAT’S GOOD. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE AS MUCH OF IT AS POSSIBLE. INCOME TO WORKERS IS AN EXPENSE. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE AS LITTLE OF THAT AS POSSIBLE, SO IT’S ALL DESIGNED IN. CAPITOL MATTERS. WORKERS DON’T MATTER. THE ENVIRONMENT IS INVISIBLE. COMMUNITIES ARE POWERLESS. THAT’S DESIGNED INTO THE BASIC STRUCTURES OF THE ECONOMY. ONE OF THE THINGS WE’RE TRYING TO DO WITH THIS BOOK IS TO HELP US ALL WAKE UP AND JUST SEE THAT ALL THIS THAT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED, IN FACT, IS NOT LEGITIMATE. >>>LAURA FLANDERS: NOT LEGITIMATE AND NOT THE ONLY OPTION. >>>MARJORIE KELLY: RIGHT.>>>LAURA FLANDERS: YOU TELL A LOT OF STORIES IN THIS BOOK AS WELL AS GIVING US A LOT TO THINK ABOUT. THANK YOU SO MUCH, BOTH OF YOU. THE BOOK, THE MAKING OF A DEMOCRATIC ECONOMY, BUILDING PROSPERITY FOR THE MANY, NOT JUST THE FEW, IS OUT NOW FROM BERRETT-KOEHLER, AN EMPLOYEE OWNED COMPANY. YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION AT OUR WEBSITE AND ASK FOR IT AT YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENTLY OWNED BOOKSTORE. THANKS. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

4 Comments on "How to Make a Democratic Economy"


  1. This thinking is EXACTLY what we need and in line with Sanders' way of economic progress. We have heroes, thinkers, we just need to elect them then let them populate their agencies with people like your guests.

    Reply

  2. Warren ¨radical¨ good one. She is a former republican, a fake progressive, no do not try to sell her. Up to then I was very interested in your approach to solving poverty.

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  3. Everybody needs to watch this, and learn about the amazing work the folks at The Democracy Collaborative have been doing. They've been a huge inspiration to me for years.

    Reply

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