Worker co-operatives and the phenomenon of empresas recuperadas in Argentina: an analysis of their potential for replication

Co-operative College Paper 11

The Argentinean experience detailed in this paper takes place over 150 years after the industrial revolution in the UK. Yet in many ways it reflects a common response by human society to turmoil and disintegration brought about by rapid economic change, resulting in workers’ livelihoods and those of their families being placed in jeopardy.

The workers’ response was instinctive – to work together to safeguard jobs, and the skills and competencies on which their livelihoods and those of their communities depended. They did not know of, did not work with, and did not draw upon the vast collective memory and experience of the global co operative movement. They simply organised collectively to take over and keep the businesses running. They set up co-operatives – even if they did not use that term or even know that is what they were doing.

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