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Cooperative Firms as a New Mode of Production


  • Bruno Jossa


The importance of the notion of ‘the mode of production’ is emphasised by all those scholars who hold that the ‘history-as-totality’ approach is the core of Marx's theory of society. Among them, Gramsci argued that while scientific advancements could shed little light on the issues with which philosophers and economists had traditionally been concerned, concepts such as ‘social relations of production’ and ‘mode of production’ had provided valuable insights for philosophical and economic inquiry. Hence our interest in the question of whether a system of producer cooperatives would actually lead to the establishment of a new mode of production. Opinions in the matter diverge greatly, and major implications stem from the distinction between worker managed firms (WMFs) and labour managed firms (LMFs), where the latter strictly segregate capital incomes from labour incomes. We conclude that LMF cooperatives do implement a new mode of production because they reverse the typical capital--labour relation right within a capitalistic system. An additional major point addressed in some detail is the main contradiction in capitalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Jossa, 2012. "Cooperative Firms as a New Mode of Production," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 399-416, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:24:y:2012:i:3:p:399-416
    DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2012.701915

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (II): Distribution," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 2, number mill1848-2.
    2. Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (III): Exchange," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 3, number mill1848-3.
    3. Bruno Jossa & Gaetano Cuomo, 1997. "The Economic Theory of Socialism and the Labour-managed Firm," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1091.
    4. Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (I): Production," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number mill1848-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Jossa, 2013. "Marxismo, dialettica ed economia politica," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(110), pages 5-25.
    2. Marina Albanese & Cecilia Navarra & Ermanno Tortia, 2017. "Equilibrium unemployment as a worker insurance device: Worker insurance and wage setting in worker owned enterprises," DEM Working Papers 2017/09, Department of Economics and Management.
    3. Tortia, Ermanno C., 2017. "The firm as a common. The case of the accumulation and use of capital resources in co-operative enterprises," MPRA Paper 76735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1023-:d:138853 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gaetano Cuomo, 2015. "Imprese cooperative e democrazia economica," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(116), pages 5-38.
    6. albanese, marina & navarra, cecilia & Tortia, Ermanno, 2017. "EQUILIBRIUM UNEMPLOYMENT AS A WORKER INSURANCE DEVICE. Wage setting in worker owned enterprises," MPRA Paper 77031, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. David Ellerman, 2016. "Reply to Commentaries on ‘The Labour Theory of Property and Marginal Productivity Theory’," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 5(2), pages 44-61, September.

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