In line with the trend of nationalization in Bolivia, President Evo Morales recently ousted a Swiss multi-national corporation from the valuable Colquiri mine located near La Paz. The most lucrative part of the mine is said to have nearly 5 billion mineral deposits. Morales divided control for the mine between the two camps, which are now at the heart of the conflict.The author is at a loss to explain this conflict. Strewn throughout the article are words like complicated and complex. This situation illustrates that worker cooperatives are not the final answer to social conflict, as many on the left believe. Yugoslavia was organized this way and they had numerous inter-cooperative conflicts. Such arrangements tend to reproduce the values and psychology of private ownership among workers in cooperatives and ultimately pits workers against each other.
I think this conflict illustrates two problems. One, the difficulties of introducing collective ownership in one area of a capitalist world. Profit-seeking capitalists are willing to pay premium prices for diminishing raw materials that seduce cooperatives, even entire state administrations as in Bolivia, into meeting their requests. Second, a society needs to create political institutions that will insure that worker produced wealth is shared justly and equitably among all members of society.