Employee ownership in Sweden

In the 1970s, the Swedish labor movement developed
a plan to gradually socialize ownership.
What can we learn from it today?

We’ve seen what happens when ownership pays a dividend.  Those who own gradually come to own more and more, until, inevitably, wealth and power is dangerously concentrated in the hands of a few.

Confronting the power of capital in the United States will require a plan.We may be confident that the concentration of capital in the hands of a tiny minority represents both the primary obstacle to economic equality and one of the most fundamental threats to democracy in America, but without a concrete agenda capable of securing control over capital for the people, we will never succeed in overcoming these problems.

The Swedish labor movement has been here before.  They created a plan to divert some corporate profits from dividends to new corporate stock, issued to labor unions.  They fought an uphill political battle to implement the plan, and were defeated by a global rightward swing through the 1980s.  But their reasoning and their plan was sound.  American labor today can learn from their experience, and use their plan as a template.

Article in Jacobin by Peter Gowan and Mio Tastas Viktorsson

A 1968 demonstration in Stockholm. Sten-Åke Stenberg / Flickr

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