"The Corporation" and Large Scale Enterprises in the New Economy

Corporations, as they operate today are driven to grow and make a profit in a competitive environment. As long as they are the principal economic actors that we have, building a New Economy requires that they pursue very different objectives.

About the Discussion

Beginning in the 1970s, profitability pressures led the capitalist class in advanced countries to shift away from investment in industrial production at home toward the higher returns that financial products promised. Accompanying this was an absolute decline in the bargaining power of labor, a decline in wages and the dispersion of production throughout the developing world.  

Corporations, as they operate today, drive to maximize financial income in a competitive environment regardless of people, communities and nature. As long as they are the principal political and economic actors that we have, building a new economy requires that they redefine their relationship to capital and that they acknowledge their social and environmental responsibilities.

This NET discussion opens up a wide ranging discussion of new directions for large enterprise. It presents an agenda for creating new community-based and democratically accountable corporate structures that care about the well-being of humans and natural systems.

Gar Alperovitz (Democracy Collaborative) and Gus Speth (Demos) open the discussion with questions about the aims of the corporate sector. Marjorie Kelley (Tellus Institute) talks about “generative design.”  The Tellus Institute's Richard Rosen offers solutions on how enterprise might be regulated as a public utility. Christina A. Clamp of the Center for Cooperatives presents large scale (i.e, Mondragon) integrated cooperative models and Steve Dubb (The Democracy Collaborative) discusses public enterprise in Europe.

Suggested Background Readings 

Youtube playlist


The Minutes for this NET Session

These minutes (PDF) contain not only the presentations shown in the main video above, but also question and answer sessions that took place throughout the session.

Additional Resources

For questions and comments, see the forum for this NET Session

 Part of the NET Discussion series