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Idea: University Administered by a Worker Cooperative?

March 6, 2013

Thinking broadly about these two stories, I wonder how an educational institution—whether primary, secondary, or university/college—would operate as a workers’ cooperative? I don’t think an edu institution would require as much start-up money as an industrial plant, that’s for sure. What would be different? Fewer administrators, for sure. And probably fewer frills for the students. Better salary equitability. What would be the same? Faculty (with fewer research obligations), the physical plant, some amenities needed by everyone on campus (dining, exercise, library, etc.). Help me figure out what would be different in the comments. – TL

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Update: Here are the basic characteristics of a workers’ cooperative—lifted from the Wikepedia link above.

1. They have the objective of creating and maintaining sustainable jobs and generating wealth, to improve the quality of life of the worker-members, dignify human work, allow workers’ democratic self-management and promote community and local development.
2. The free and voluntary membership of their members, in order to contribute with their personal work and economic resources, is conditioned by the existence of workplaces.
3. As a general rule, work shall be carried out by the members. This implies that the majority of the workers in a given worker cooperative enterprise are members and vice versa.
4. The worker-members’ relation with their cooperative shall be considered as different to that of conventional wage-based labour and to that of autonomous individual work.
5. Their internal regulation is formally defined by regimes that are democratically agreed upon and accepted by the worker-members.
6. They shall be autonomous and independent, before the State and third parties, in their labour relations and management, and in the usage and management of the means of production.

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