Thursday, 4 February 2010


Just to say that this book is worth a read if you're at all interested in the ownership of companies. I'm about halfway through and finding it really informative. Lots of stuff about alternatives to investor-owned businesses and when and why they do and do not work. At lots of useful background info in there. I had no idea, for example, that companies like Ocean Spray and Sun Maid were agricultural co-ops. That said, it is NOT a book that advocates employee ownership, but it is a pretty dispassionate analytical take on why different types of company ownership emerge (including why they appear in particular industries).


Tim Worstall said...

You might need to read that book a little more accurately. Ocean Spray, for example, is a co-op, but its a marketing and processing one. Members can be (and indeed are, like Makepeace) traditional corporations underneath it, who do the growing and own the land etc.

There's also somthing which underpins a great deal of American farming practice there: marketing orders. The Dept of Agriculture decides who gets to grow what and where. Plus anyone growing has to pay into the marketing board funds whether they want to or not. The most important of these restrictions imposed by marketing orders is that they restrict new entrants to the business.

Tom Powdrill said...

Hi Tim

You might need to read my posts a little more accurately ;-)

All I said was that they were agricultural co-ops, which indeed they are. I'm well aware there are different types of co-ops and it would be hard not to be given that there are separate sections in the book dealing with the various different types.

As I said in the post this book is absolutely not a book about the merits of worker ownership or anything like that, and I wasn't suggesting that Ocean Spray etc are that model.