Employee ownership of enterprise has become a prominent focus of public policy and private action both in the United States and abroad. This is the result, in considerable part, of an unusual convergence of economic thought from opposite ends of the political spectrum. On the left, recent years have brought the sudden and virtually complete collapse of state socialism as an economic ideal in both the East and the West. In the resulting ideological void, "workplace democracy" has emerged as the principal institutional reform that today commands widespread support among critics of capitalism; worker control of enterprise, it is hoped, will succeed where state control has failed in equalizing power and wealth and in decreasing worker alienation and exploitation. Reformers on the right, in turn, have become increasingly discouraged with the efficiency of traditional forms of labor-management relations. For an alternative, many have turned to employee ownership, hoping that it will improve productivity and increase worker identification with the interests of capital.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Hansmann, Henry, "When Does Worker Ownership Work? ESOPs, Law Firms, Codetermination, and Economic Democracy" (1990). Faculty Scholarship Series. 5037.