David Ellerman

David Ellerman has written about the theory and practice of worker co-operatives and other forms of workplace democracy for over 40 years.  In the realm of theory, he developed the modern treatment of the labor theory of property (“Labor’s claim to the whole product of industry”) and the associated theory of inalienable rights that implies the neo-abolitionist call for the abolition of wage labor. This is in contrast to the more traditional Marxist call for the “socialization” (i.e., nationalization) of the employment relation, as seen in the book Property & Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy, 1993.

In the realm of practice, he co-founded the NGO, the Industrial Cooperative Association, in the late 1970s; which adapted the Mondragon model of a worker cooperative to the American legal system. In the early 90s, he was the founder and President of Employee Ownership Services (EOS) d.o.o. in Ljubljana, which helped privatize social ownership to worker ownership (See the book: The Democratic Worker-Owned Firm, 1989, reissued 2013).

Prior to retirement, he fought the World Bank "from the inside" finishing as speech-writer and senior advisor to Joseph Stiglitz when he was Chief Economist. See his most recent book: Helping People Help Themselves: From the World Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance. (Foreword by Albert O. Hirschman), 2005, which called for the World Bank to be wound up. He is now doing full-time research and writing, dividing his time between Riverside California (Winter) and Slovenia/Croatia (Summer).


About the author