Fair Exchange / Industrial Homestead

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DISCUSSION: Browse discussion to date                                Bootstrap Detroit project
July 21, 1999 to August 31, 2005                   
                      see project documents at the bottom of this page
September 1, 2005 to present

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Review the DRAFT write up of activity that occurred on this list up to May 2001.

Documents related to discussion of Ray Carey's book on Democratic Capitalism

The "Industrial Homestead Project." The Industrial Homestead Project’s purpose is to create policy alternatives that provide financial benefits and a voice to the general population in exchange for the protection and benefits governments provide to businesses. One such form would provide stock ownership to employees and/or the general population as a quid pro quo for government largesse to private corporations. American examples of this philosophy to date include the 1974 Chrysler bailout and the establishment of Conrail, which both mandated that a portion of the company is employee owned.

1) The historical precedent for the term "Homestead" is the United States Homestead Act of 1862 , which enabled a vast population of landless workers and immigrants to become landowning farmers through sweat-equity.

2) The Project will explore a wide range of policy ideas in this area, to arrive at agreement on a few deemed worthy of in-depth development and prioritizing use of future resources for their development. A few examples of these ideas include (without limiting our search for ideas in any way) proposals to:

a. Provide tax benefits to companies on a sliding scale depending on the quality and quantity of employee ownership and control;

b. Create an ownership impact audit process for bidding on government contracts, giving credit against pricing to companies that implement meaningful long term local ownership disbursement of their stock;

c. Open the US Federal Reserve discount window to promote employee ownership by providing very low interest loan funds (0.5%) for investment in companies using ESOPs, CSOP, and Community Investment Corporations. This proposal would require every bank which uses the Federal Reserve (or initially those in an experimental study) to make a specified percentage of its business loans to companies qualifying for these funds;

d. Discuss possible amendment of national constitutions, to require a quid pro quo to the common weal for government largesse (from every level of government) to corporations that would deter smaller government units from competition for corporate location by means that undermine local economies;

e. The definition of terms such as "common weal" and "government largesse", etc. and mechanisms for responsible parties, such as labor-venture funds, community development financial institutions, credit unions, and other certifiably locally controlled financial institutions to hold the quid pro quo stock responsibly in a manner that would encourage public markets to continue to invest in these companies and communities;

f. Create a public sky trust to receive payments in cash or stock for pollution by energy companies;

g. Work with the European Federation of Employed Shareholders (EFES) to develop a European policy direction that encourages broad ownership throughout Europe while allowing for the differences in cultures, laws and circumstances in the various countries;

h. Examine the benefits and limits of European CO-determination as now practiced, and develop a means to combine the best features of CO-determination with those of employee ownership while retaining or increasing access to necessary capital;

i. Explore mechanisms for labor-sponsored venture funds to use employee ownership as an exit strategy;

j. Create a hybrid of consumer and employee ownership for privatization of existing publicly owned companies such as utilities;

k. Research methods used by international organizations, such as the World Bank, to persuade global companies to indiginize their workforces to determine if such methods could be utilized to get similar companies to extend ownership to greater numbers of employees;

l. Model the effects of creating a sliding scale capital gains tax providing no tax on capital gains for families with incomes below $100,000 and increasing the capital gains tax in proportion to the combined earned and unearned income of individuals and families above that figure;

m. Model the financial, social and capital access impact of removing corporate income tax from all 100% employee owned companies;

n. Model the financial, social and capital access impact of creating time limits on returns capital investment (similar to copyright laws).

3) One of the difficulties in dealing with international corporate power is that corporations have outflanked national control by becoming global. To respond effectively, similar policies must be promulgated in as many countries as possible. This Project aims to focus the attention of an international Network toward creation of policies that could be viable in many countries. We hope to follow up with future projects elaborating the details of policy proposals and pilot projects testing the policies in practice.


Bootstrap Detroit documents