There are no laws stating that a group of workers cannot group together and form a cooperative business. Why aren't these popping up everywhere? Because it's a bad idea.
There's no denying it, Socialism is on the rise. You can see it with the success of politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren. The core tenant of today's Democratic Socialism is a production economy that is owned by the workers.
Sanders and Warren have both introduced plans to turn over ownership of America's largest corporations to the workers. Sanders' plan would require all public companies to offer 20% ownership of their company to their workers. In addition to the issuance of new stock, the workers would also have "Right of first refusal" if the company wants to offer itself up for sale. Who will finance the purchase of the company if the workers don't have the capital to purchase the company? The government, of course.
What does it mean to be an "owner?'
While workers are rallying to vote for worker ownership of their employers, people have completely forgotten what it means to be an owner of a company. 70% of businesses fail to last more than 10 years. Most businesses on the public market are not even profitable.
The part of ownership that these workers fail to account for is this: Risk. Being an owner means that you are risking everything to potentially make nothing. Today's Socialists don't care for that side of the equation. Instead, they'd rather point towards 10-15 hyper-successful companies and cry for ownership of those businesses. Where are the people clamoring for ownership of all corporations, including the ones that routinely close after bankruptcy?
The problem with Democratic Socialists is this: While they all want to share in the profits, none of them want to share in the losses.
It's easy to make the argument that the workers at Amazon should receive more money when the company sees larger profits, but where are the people fighting for lower paychecks when a company is losing money? Would you expect to receive $0 if your employer lost money next month? Even further, would you expect to pay into your employers bank account if they lost money next month? The answer is a resounding "No." Now, offer people a percentage of the profits from a successful business, and they line up around the block.
Under Capitalism, we're all free to live under Socialism
The argument for "worker ownership" goes something like this: If we had worker owned corporations, the focus on profit would be reduced, the service would be better, the products would be cheaper, and the workers would be happier.
The perfect response for that claim is, "Good, then do it." There is no law preventing the 2.3 million workers at Walmart from starting a coop bank account, and each putting in $100 towards starting a worker--owned corporation. Why then, have they not done it? If a worker owned business can offer a better product for a cheaper price, all while making all of the workers happy, then someone would surely decide to start this venture.
No one has done it because it's a terrible idea. Looking throughout the world, you can find a handful of examples where a worker-owned co-op has survived the market, and you can find millions of examples of privately owned businesses surviving the market. No one has done it, because it's an impossible feat. Socialism requires Capitalism to start new businesses, innovate new production, create new things, and further new inventions. Then, like a perverse version of Robin Hood, Socialists can swoop in to take ownership of others' successful creations.
I've said it plenty of times before: Socialism does not create, it only takes from what has already been created. Capitalism creates. The free market creates.
If you want to start your socialist revolution, you are free to do so, but leave me out of it. Unfortunately, that ideology does not fit within the tenantS of Democratic Socialism.