In the more than ten years we’ve been blogging, we’ve collected innumerable articles from The New York Times dedicated to our country. Their way of looking at our reality has led us to consider “The Gray Lady” one of our greatest allies in bringing forth the image of our reality to the world. And this consideration does not derive from their always speaking “well” of us, because they don’t. It derives from the fact that their opinions, whether positive or negative, are born of their own criteria and not from a mere parroting of thinfirmation shared by French or Spanish media, embassies, or ministries.
We bring all this up because this US daily, one of the most influential in the world, has taken to discussing the Basque Cooperative System, specifically Mondragon. And this is hardly the first time they have.
Peter S. Goodman, their economy correspondant for Europe, has written a detailed article on how the covid-19 crisis has been handled by different Basque co-ops.
His article explains not only how these co-ops have faced the economic problems caused by the crisis, but also gives a good overview of their history, of how they work, and of the challenges faced by an organization that employs 70,000 people nationwide and has over €12 billion in annual revenue. That makes this co-op one of the largest companies in Iberia and the largest co-op in the world.
He also goes over the huge blow the collapse of Fagor meant for the co-op, and the tensions during the global expansion between the partner and hired employees.
It’s a great summary for our American, and global, readers to understand what the Basque co-op system is like, as well as its deep roots in the community Basque culture. It might help explain its success in our country.
By the way, we can’t help but mention that the Southern Basque Country is not a “region of Spain”. It’s part of a country, the Basque Country, that straddles the Pyrenees. The part under Spanish administration is divided into two autonomous communities that have their own “nationality” status and even collect their own taxes. We can’t imagine an American journalist calling Texas “a region”.
The New York Times – 29/12/2020 – USA
Co-ops in Spain’s Basque Region Soften Capitalism’s Rough Edges
If the Erreka Group operated like most businesses, the pandemic would have delivered a traumatic blow to its workers. Based in the rugged Basque region of Spain, the company produces a variety of goods, including sliding doors, plastic parts used in cars and medical devices sold around the world. As the coronavirus ravaged Europe in late March, the Spanish government ordered the company to shut two of its three local factories, threatening the livelihoods of the 210 workers there.