Instigator / Pro
40
1707
rating
32
debates
84.38%
won
Topic

Established Worker Cooperatives(worker owned businesses) are Better than Established Traditional Businesses, as of now.

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
18
0
Sources points
12
8
Spelling and grammar points
6
5
Conduct points
4
3

With 6 votes and 24 points ahead, the winner is ...

Trent0405
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Economics
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
4,000
Contender / Con
16
1664
rating
303
debates
67.0%
won
Description
~ 603 / 5,000

I will be arguing that worker cooperatives are better than traditional firms, my opponent will argue that traditional businesses are better than cooperatives. Also, I will not be arguing for a worker cooperative economy, just that businesses that are worker owned out perform traditional firms. Finally, we will be talking about businesses that currently exist. The BOP is shared.

DEFINITIONS
Established-Firms already in existence.
Better-of a more excellent or effective type or quality.

RULES
No K-ing the resolution

I'M NOT A MARKET SOCIALIST, I'M JUST SIDING WITH THEM ON THIS FOR THIS DEBATE.

Round 1
Pro
Established Worker Cooperatives are Better than Established Traditional Businesses 


A worker cooperative is a company operated by it’s employees. I will be arguing that cooperatives are generally better than traditional businesses, you will be arguing the opposite, I hope we both learn something from this debate.


Productivity

An International study by Virginie Pérotin came to the conclusion that worker cooperatives were more productive. Stating that cooperatives created better, smarter, and more organized production. This study stretches beyond borders and it most definitely agrees with me, with the facts, on balance, pointing in my direction. 
Also, a massive meta analysis of 43 studies came to the conclusion that worker ownership of a firm increased productivity. Remember, a meta analysis seeks to find a consensus amongst academics, so the people who spend their lives studying the complexities of economics are on my side, not my opponents. 


Resilience

There is a mountain of data that suggests worker cooperatives are more resilient than traditional businesses. 

An analysis of 3 Canadian provinces came to the conclusion that worker cooperatives had a failure rate which was about half of the failure rate of traditional companies. 
In 2005 Germany, cooperatives had a failure rate which was 10 times lower than the failure rate for traditional companies. 
A 2012 study came to the conclusion that worker cooperatives “have been more resilient than conventional enterprises during the economic crisis.” 
Traditional corporations in France have a three year survival rate of 66%. However, if we observe the three year survival rate for cooperatives in France it is 80-90%. If we extend this to 5 years, we see cooperatives with a survival rate of 61-82%, while the 5 year survival rate of traditional businesses is just 50%.

I can only side with the data, and the data is on my side.


The Workers

Benefit 1: WAGES

Worker cooperatives have been proven to have higher wages than traditional companies for the same or similar occupations. Remember though, the company does not seem to get hit hard by this, they are more resilient and more productive.

Benefit 2: HAPPINESS/SATISFACTION

A study looked at the impact of worker cooperatives and worker happiness. It came to the conclusion that worker cooperatives had a net positive impact on worker happiness, and again, this happiness does not seem to have a strong negative impact on the company's general performance.

Benefit 3: LAYOFFS

In 2014 the US general social survey observed layoffs in employee owned firms(worker cooperatives) and non employee owned firms. It found that employee owned firms layed off 1.6% of their workforce, but for non employee owned firms the layoff percentage was 9.6%. These results held up in 2002, 2006, and 2010. Keep in mind these stats took into account tenure, occupation, gender, age, race, and education.

Benefit 4: GENERAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR WORKERS

 A study entitled “Employee Ownership is Good for Your Health” came to the conclusion that...

“A study of three towns in Northern Italy showed that the town with the highest percentage of people employed in worker cooperatives had higher indices of social well-being in areas including health, education, crime, and social participation.”
Keep in mind that lower crime and better education have a lot of benefits of their own to take into account. For one, violent crime costs Seattle 305 million dollars, why not reduce this number by fixing parts of the city with worker cooperatives. Also, better education has an “incredibly positive” relationship with economic growth.

Conclusion

All I can say is the data is clear. Worker owned companies/worker cooperatives have been proven to generally be better than traditional businesses. 

Con
Every single massive corporation is the traditional kind. By 'massive' what I mean is that the very way you make a company so huge that noone can deny it's huge, is that you have a group of executives in charge, who 'work' to make decisions about the company and then you have the workers who 'decide' within a small range of how best to work to achieve ends dictated to them by the executives, assigned to each individual's role in the company.

It doesn't matter if (obviously) worker-owned companies pay their workers more and fire them less. The entire reason they can even afford to do that is that they are almost cult-like. What I mean by 'cult-like' is that they'd rather keep paying workers more and less, proportional the profit they're making, rather than hire more or less workers and only increase the salary of extremely proficient ones, to ensure not only the best for the company but also that the most people who could be hired, do get hired. By being rigid in your workforce and flexible in the wages, what you actually do is reduce the opportunity for the average unemployed person to have a chance to get hired by you during an upswing (a job which could be the difference between that person having any career at all, feeding their family without starving themselves in some very capitalist nations, so on and so forth). By hiring more workers and letting more fruitful competition occur during 'good times' economically, traditional corporations foster a fairer system that isn't cult-like in how 'loyal' it is to otherwise incompetent workers it may have that lead to its lossful periods.

I am going to dismiss the 'happiness' point because just because your workers are more satisfied with the fact that they're allowed to have a say in decisions, doesn't actually mean it's better for the company overall. 

I leave it at that, I don't even need a source. It's that simple, I will win by pure defence and plan on it.
Round 2
Pro
                                                     Established Worker Cooperatives are Better than Established Traditional Businesses 

Thanks for the argument RM.

                                                                                                          Rebuttals

Every single massive corporation is the traditional kind.”

Coops actually seem to be larger than regular corporations, and I have a source.
“Pérotin cites research studies from Italy, the US, Spain, France, and Uruguay, which all indicate that, on the whole, worker-owned cooperatives tend to be slightly larger than conventional firms.”[SOURCE]
For a specific example, Mondragon is a Spanish worker cooperative that generates €12.110 billion in revenue. It has 74,335 employees.[SOURCE]
The data is very clear here.

“It doesn't matter if (obviously) worker-owned companies pay their workers more and fire them less. The entire reason they can even afford to do that is that they are almost cult-like. What I mean by 'cult-like' is that they'd rather keep paying workers more and less, proportional the profit they're making, rather than hire more or less workers and only increase the salary of extremely proficient ones, to ensure not only the best for the company but also that the most people who could be hired, do get hired. By being rigid in your workforce and flexible in the wages, what you actually do is reduce the opportunity for the average unemployed person to have a chance to get hired by you during an upswing (a job which could be the difference between that person having any career at all, feeding their family without starving themselves in some very capitalist nations, so on and so forth)”

This point is also rather inaccurate, coops are a reliable resource to decrease unemployment, this workforce rigidity isn’t occurring, if you’re merely trying to hypothesize that coops could lead to unemployment rates increasing, why is it not born out in the data?

“Democratic worker-ownership offers a way forward. Throughout the world, worker-cooperatives have a proven track record of successfully combating unemployment, mitigating income disparities, expanding wealth-building business ownership opportunities, and promoting strong, sustainable local economies.”[SOURCE]

So they clearly ‘have a proven track record’ of lowering unemployment.
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Also, my opponent seems to think coops hire less people, but they have an average of 21 employees in France[SOURCE], compare this to the average where almost all french companies have between 0-9 employees.[SOURCE]
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“I don't even need a source. It's that simple, I will win by pure defence and plan on it.”

Yes you do, keep in mind that the description says. “my opponent will argue that traditional businesses are better than cooperatives.” You must offer an offence, and sources are basically a necessity in a debate like this.

Con
I admit defeat. It's too nitpicky for me to go into the details. Honestly both have pros and cons, netiher is 'better' but the worker coops are always smaller than the supergiants like microsoft, walmart etc.

It doesn't matter to me, I enjoy theoretical-flexing debates not nitpicking facts.
Round 3
Pro
My opponent has conceded.
Con
My opponent has succeeded.