Friday, August 29, 2014

Market Basket: A case study in Finance Capitalism


Market Basket was a profitable company, owned by one family. Paid employees well and was a good corporate citizen.

After some machinations in the owning family, it faced being sold up to powers of finance capital -- sold on Wall Street. Family members would get a huge payday. The new management would eventually required by its Wall Street investors to run the company like every other supermarket chain. Lower wages, lower benefits etc. etc.

I rag on and on about the difference between capitalism and finance capital. This is an example of what I am talking about.

The more that the productive wealth of the country is controlled on Wall Street, the behavior of individual companies will directed toward maximizing short term profits, in order that the company is an attractive investment on Wall Street. The success of a grocery chain depends on being more profitable than any other form of investment: resort chains in the tropics, gun manufacturers, medical marijuana distributors. It will not survive simply because it is a profitable and successful grocery store that gets groceries into the hands of people who need them at a fair market price.

The employees of Market Basket and the citizens of New England communities fought to keep the ownership and control of Market Basket local. They won. Good on them.

2 comments:

Steve LaBonne said...

The alliance between consumers and workers in this story is heartening, and the kind of thing we need more of.

Kate R said...

after a summer of bad news it was a nice thing to hear about. Did any churches that you know of support the workers?