A recent op-ed published by Fortune suggests that “shared company ownership may be the missing path to the American dream.” From today’s vantage point, it’s a tall order. Authors Darren Walker and Pete Stavros go on to say that “investors, financial institutions, and labor advocates are among a growing movement that believes that employee ownership would resolve the structural challenges faced by the economy.” A tall order, indeed.
We tend to forget that employee ownership largely built the American dream through the first hundred years of our country’s history. The “company” was typically a farm, stable, or dry goods store. Participation in the family business was a given, as was employee engagement. The “company” was handed down over generations. And not much changed until the 20th century made way for mass production.
Christos A. Makridis is an adjunct scholar at the Manhattan Institute. He is also a research professor at Arizona State University and the chief technology officer and head of research of Living Opera, an arts and education technology startup.
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