Apparently Europeans think socialism "works" or they would not elect so many socialist governments. The smaller and more homogeneous a community is, the more likely socialism or some form of collectivism will work.
I never said that the Mondragon model "couldn't" work in the US, but I think it is less likely to work here because we lack the ethnic homogeneity that make collectivism work in some places.
BTW the Japanese are very collectivist and communal oriented. They are not particularly egalitarian though.
"Those who think egalitarianism is better also seem to think government must promote or mandate it". "I think this tells us precisely nothing about the merits of egalitarianism". I think it tells us a great deal about the merits of egalitarianism.
Does socialism -- by which I assume you mean *state* socialism, not the voluntary kind practiced in families, communes, and other non-government endeavors -- really "work better" in Europe than it does in the U.S.? My impression is that it does not work anywhere, if by "work" we mean either "fulfill the goals of most of its supporters" or " produce a better and more just society". To the extent state socialism is *more popular* in Europe, I imagine there are many and complex historical and sociological reasons for that. For if it were mainly a matter of ethnic homogeneity, then we should expect to find this political philosophy even more popular in highly homogenous places like Japan.
In this context, as in many others, I don't think we can correlate relative scarcity with lack of merit. If there are many more apples than blueberries in the world, does that mean apples are "better" than blueberries? Is human superiority to other species disproved or called into question by the fact that there are many more insects, or pine trees, than there are human beings?
"Those who think egalitarianism is better also seem to think government must promote it or even mandate it" -- I believe this tells us precisely nothing about the merits of egalitarianism. Consider that those who think streets without graffiti are better than streets with graffiti also tend to think that government must promote or even mandate their preference. Ditto for those who think public parks are better when homeless people are not allowed to camp in them.
Probably you are right however that Mondragon having happened in the Basque region of Spain is not an accident. Besides the presence of the Basques themselves, I suspect the legacy of the Spanish Civil War may also be a factor. Spain, after all, was where self-identified anarchists came closest, during the last century, to taking power, and the Basques were mainly allied with the losing republican/anarchist side of the struggle, which was more supportive of their autonomy.
Do these circumstances mean that something like the Mondragon Cooperatives could not work in other places, such as the United States? That would seem to be drawing a sweeping conclusion based on scant evidence. Presumably the soil is more fertile for such a model in some places than others, but that's true for everything, isn't it?
You may be interested to know that there is a successful example of a business operating along non-hierarchical lines right here in California -- the largest tomato processing company in the world. In fact it so happens that the company was founded by a libertarian who has been a major donor to the Libertarian Party -- http://reason.com/reasontv/2012/12/27/morningstar .
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
This does sound interesting. Two issues come to my mind
1. This Mondragon Coop movement is based in the Basque region of northern Spain. The Basques are an ethnic minority speaking a language that has no known relatives any else in the world. I wonder if there might be an ethnic dimension to this "egalitarianism". That is, some of those at the top could choose to work at a Basque co-op rather than an Spanish speaking company where they could make more money in order to be in a Basque environment. Socialism works better in Europe partly because most European countries a more ethnically uniform than the US
and so people feel more solidarity.
2. If worker co-ops and egalitarian structures are superior to other arrangements, one wonders why there are not more of them. Claiming that egalitarianism is superior to hierarchianism is rather like claiming that dodos are superior to pigeons. If so, then why are there so few dodos around and so many pigeons? Curiously those who think egalitarianism is better also seem to think government must promote it or even mandate it, which seems self-contradictory to me.
When it comes to government, libertarians are often and rightly skeptical of if not outright hostile toward central planning, top-down systems of control, and so on. But in the voluntary sector, libertarians, like many if not most other people, have tended to take such hierarchical models for granted and assume this is just the natural way of things -- that any worker-owned or democratically-run business that tries to operate along more egalitarian lines is likely to suffer the fate of the 20th Century Motor Company in Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged".
Clearly, communal-type ventures face pitfalls and many have failed. But is such failure inevitable? Is it natural or necessary to have an administrative or managerial class set above other workers to tell them how to do their jobs? Do members of this class tend to be far better compensated than other workers because their skills truly command so much more value in a free market, or do current compensation levels merely reflect the fact that their class controls management and administration and thus they are generally the ones setting the rules for compensation? Might there be a viable free market approach that would be more empowering to individuals and thus more conducive to bolstering self-government and bottom-up control in society, while still adhering to the Non-Aggression Principle?
A forum happening next weekend in Palo Alto on an interesting economic experiment that's been happening in Spain (Wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_cooperatives) could help shed some light on these questions, or at least provide food for thought for free-thinking libertarians interested in topics like mutualism, individual empowerment, agorism, and so on.
I'm interested in attending myself if anyone can offer a ride from SF (can chip in for gas).
Love & Liberty,
From: Bay Area Atheists/Agnostics/Humanists/Freethinkers/Skeptics <email@example.com>
Date: July 14, 2014 1:07:32 PM PDT
Subject: Sunday: Can you make "Forum: The Mondragon Cooperatives (Richard Hobbs)"?
Forum: The Mondragon Cooperatives (Richard Hobbs)
Bay Area Atheists/Agnostics/Humanists/Freethinkers/Skeptics
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Palo Alto High School
50 Embarcadero Rd
Palo Alto, CA 94301