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Well, I guess there is kind of a paradox here: an employee owned company would eventually cease to be an employee owned company if employees individually sold their shares to third parties. Or at the very least you would have to keep issuing new shares to employees as they got sold in order to keep the proportion of ownership by majority in the hands of the employees which would presumably end up devaluing them massively.

There is a degree of incompatibility between employee ownership and how we think about equity in traditional companies. This isn't to say that selling the company needs to be impossible, but it may only be possible with collective decision making rather than individual shares being easy to buy and sell as they are on a public stock exchange.

The problem I see with Huawei in this case is less to do with being able to treat your ownership share as an easily fungible asset and more to do with the fact that it appears the employees do not have effective control over the company. i.e. they don't get a say in who's on the board, financing decisions or anything like that. If employees through a fair, democratic system effectively have sovereignty over what the company does (and there's no one with a massive ownership stake to veto them hanging around) then you have some semblance of legitimate employee ownership.

The buy-back mechanism isn't great either, if that is how you want it to work then it should be based off of a fair and independent valuation of the company which it appears that it isn't.

I also think it's unlikely that an employee owned company could have the kind of control over the company that it should have when it's operating from a literal dictatorship.

And you know, even this is all assuming that this article is accurate and not just a FUD think-piece to support the American government's stance on the company, having not really done a great deal of independent research on Huawei myself.




https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation I assume they found a way to juggle employee ownership.


Oh certainly. My comment wasn't to try to imply that employee ownership or to a stronger extent worker co-operatives were somehow impossible or impractical. I'm actually very optimistic about worker co-operatives in general. My point was more that their ownership structure isn't going to be quite like owning shares in a publicly listed company (as alluded to in the comment I replied to). I understand this is true for Mondragon, at least, where instead workers hold a capital account representing their 'social share' (or ownership stake) that they pay a membership fee into, that profits from the company are paid in to, and from which they can withdraw when they leave or retire.


Yeah I was agreeing with you all along. It requires a different notion of ownership and that's important to point out as you did. I just wanted to point out the preeminent coop navigating what seems like a conundrum from our Capitalist perspective.




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