Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Jan Feldman


Worker Ownership, Participation, Democratic Theory, Solidarity, Equality, Basque


Following the global financial crisis in 2008, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation was used as an example of an alternative to capitalist development. At the same time, much of the recent literature on Mondragon has questioned whether Mondragon’s democracy has degenerated, without drawing definitive conclusions. I review how democracy has been defined in the past and conclude that while Mondragon’s conception of democracy is applicable in small homogenous cooperatives, it needs to be reformulated in order to apply to large, diverse groups. In its current state, Mondragon cannot be considered a democracy. This is reflected in the way Mondragon confronted the 2008 economic crisis. Contrary to common belief, Mondragon has not shown abnormal resilience or provided a model of a more humane way of confronting economic crisis. In 2013, Fagor Electrodomésticos declared bankruptcy, the first and largest cooperative in the group. The bankruptcy highlights the urgent need to expand and consolidate democracy. This paper offers tentative solutions to revitalize the democratic institutions that made Mondragon the model for worker cooperative groups across the world.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.