SchwartzReport: Market Basket — Board Fires Progressive CEO, Boomers Go on Strike to Reinstate — Mutuality Economics from the Bottom-Up

03 Economy, 11 Society, Civil Society, Commerce, Ethics
Stephan A. Schwartz
Stephan A. Schwartz

This is a lovely story of how capitalism could be run. It illustrates very clearly the difference between the vampire capitalism that dominates our economy, and the compassionate capitalism we could have.

Market Basket: The Return of Boomer Activism

Workers at the Market Basket supermarket chain just successfully undertook a high-risk job action with potentially historic repercussions. But this was more than just a fight for leadership control. It was also a story about boomers standing up for workplace values.

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Arthur T. ran Market Basket with a straightforward and progressive management philosophy: treat its 25,000 employees (and customers) with respect and attention; promote from within; provide great pay and retirement benefits and continually invest in your staff. As a result, he developed an extraordinarily devoted workforce of people who grew up at the company and remained for decades and took great pride in making the stores so successful.

Over time, though, Arthur T.’s pension programs and above-market salaries were criticized by the board, who felt such generosity depressed shareholder dividends. On June 23, the board ultimately voted to remove Arthur T. as president.

The Employees Push to Bring Back Their Boss

That’s when the chain’s employees – many of them boomers – rose up in revolt. Some went on strike; others played key roles in protests including rallies attended by thousands.

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Phi Beta Iota: The public conversation about restoring economic integrity and balance is in its very early days. Below is a single paragraph from a new article:

Language remains an issue – there is a great deal of confusion, some overlap, and many bits of unclear thinking in relation to varied terms associated with emerging economic practices. Terms include circular (Lovins et al 2014), collaborative (Lowitt 2013, Schwartz 2014), ecological (Daly 2010) ethical (Arvidsson and Peitersen 2013) , free (Sirico 2012), gift (Eisenstein 2011), inclusive (Scott 2013), mutuality (Roche 2014, Badger et al 2014), new (Kelly 1999), open source (Lerner and Tirole 2002, Benkler 2005, Steele 2012), purpose (Hurst 2014), peer-to-peer (Bauwens 2011), regenerative (Tillman, 1996), redemptive (Rinaldi 2014), resilient (Briguglio et al 2006), sharing (Botsman and Rogers 2010, Gansky 2012)), and solidarity (Davidson 2010). Other terms in vogue include cognitive surplus (Shirky 2011), conscious manufacturing (Kutz 2007), direct economic democracy (Boik 2014), social enterprise (Frankel and Bromberger 2013), and the triple-bottom line (Savitz 2013). This is a partial list, merely the most prominent among the descriptors.

See Especially:

Mutuality Economics @ Phi Beta Iota