Broader topic: Decentralized Organizations

Ownership Model 1 Ownership Model 2 Ownership Model 3


  • May look like other businesses, but are actually owned by stakeholders (customers, employees, residents or suppliers), who have a say in most decisions
    • In the UK they contribute 37B per year
    • In 2020 less than 1% of UK businesses are co-ops
  • Worker-owned vs. multi-stakeholder owned
    • ”multi-stakeholder co-operative is any co-op that draws its membership from two or more different classes of stakeholders”
Platform Coops

Stephen’s article

  • While platform companies like Airbnb & Uber create lots of benefits, they’re often also exploitative, monopolistic and extractivist.
  • Platform coops are a cooperatively owned, democratically governed alternative
    • Like a normal coop, but online


Steward Ownership

  • Seems to be an “in-between” a coop and a normal company
  • Steward-owned companies are committed to two principles:

(1) Self-governance — Control remains inside the company with the people directly connected to stewarding its operation and mission. With the control of the company held in a trust, it can no longer be bought or sold. (2) Profits serve purpose — Wealth generated by these businesses cannot be privatized. Instead, profits serve the mission of the company, and are either reinvested in the company, stakeholders, or donated. Investors and founders are fairly compensated with capped returns/ dividends.

Purpose’s Booklet


  • Ownership as responsibility vs. ownership as investment (one issue of Capitalismmoney on money return)

    Our laws today define corporate ownership not as an office or a responsibility, but as an investment and a tool for generating personal wealth. If we viewed ownership as a responsibility or appointed office, could we in good conscience use business as a mechanism for generating personal wealth?

  • Often investors are “absentee owners” in it for the money, but not caring about the business’ practice, goals, purpose etc…
  • Trend of concentration and centralization in the market is worsening the problem of ownership as investment
    • Large, public companies are buying out smaller, independently owned companies
  • Steward-owned companies…

    have all implemented ownership structures that permanently anchor their values and independence into their legal DNA. Like the Romans, responsibility is passed from one generation of stewards to the next based on their skills and values. Ownership in these organization is viewed as a responsibility. The stewards of a company control the “steering wheel” - the voting rights - of the company. The company is not viewed primarily as a source of personal profit; instead, profits serve as the “seed” for the future, and are largely reinvested rather than privatized. Decisions are never made by absentee owners or foreign investors, but by people who are deeply committed to the company, its mission, its values, its employees, and its consumers.

    • Keep themselves value aligned and keep a long-term horizon (fighting our Present Bias)
    • Tend to have better, more democratic governance