Tribune. The planetary shock of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic shows the absolute need to rethink our economic system. Health and climate emergencies no longer leave a choice. Without structural change, the risks of social, political or environmental tensions will become more important every day.
We submit to collective debate the idea of a socially different business model: a company with cooperative capital, a company whose return on capital is shared between shareholders and employees thanks to a set-up allowing employees to collect directly part of the dividends, in the event of distribution. The ownership of capital is a factor of exclusion of populations, in particular vis-à-vis the young generations, labor force. If we want to build a sustainable and harmonious future, it is crucial to resolve the issue of a fair redistribution of the value created by growth and therefore by the company.
Today, the shareholder owns the ownership of the capital, the wage earners provide its exploitation. Their destinies are intimately correlated, yet no direct link really exists between them. We believe it is possible to bring them together by establishing a convergence of their interests, thanks to new rules where employees become usufructuaries of part of the company’s capital. The shareholders provide the funds, the workers deliver the added value. And ultimately, everyone deserves their share.
An entrepreneurial reasoning of dynamic reconciliation
The idea is there, it may seem iconoclastic but it is fundamentally realistic: that of a company whose dividends are now shared between shareholders and employees in a fundamental way by attributing to employees a share of use of the capital. . This is what we call the cooperative capital enterprise. To become so, the company incorporates a special provision in its articles of association which allows employees to receive a share of the profits in the event of the triggering of dividends.
The company thus grants them a place of usufructuary shareholder. As for them, the shareholders remain bearers of the capital and are owners of the securities, with the difference that they decide to place themselves in bare ownership for a specific part of the capital, the return value of which they cede to the employee collective. To do this, they accept a reduction in the nominal value of their share – for example through the effect of a capital increase in the issuance of securities – and cede the difference to those who “manufacture growth”, the employees. Idealist? Astonishing? Weird? Not far from here.
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