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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses evidence that the design of business as a human institution can be improved far beyond the current template of corporations owned by financial institutions, a template which led to the near collapse of the global economy in 2008, with costly consequences for generations of taxpayers. Re-evaluating business theory from a perspective of human evolution leads to the recognition that human autonomy and voluntary co-operation in every business require the rights currently bundled as ‘ownership’—the rights to information, influence, and wealth—to be allocated, not to financiers, but to the individuals directly co-operating as participants in the wealth-creation process. Evidence is discussed showing that member-owned enterprises perform as well or better than conventionally structured business in terms of human and economic sustainability, and that the problems of financing such enterprises are soluble.

Keywords: re-evaluating business theory, ownership, wealth-creation process, member-owned enterprises, economic sustainability, human sustainability

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