3. Business

Take Back Business: Distributing Surplus

Chapter 3 of Take Back the Economy asks questions such as what is the role of business in our societies? Is business about employing people? Is business about making profit for the owners? Is business about growing economies?

To take back business we focus on the ways that business generates what’s called ‘surplus value’ and how this surplus is distributed to benefit people and the planet.

Taking Back Business, Chapter 3 Tool

You might find the Chapter 3 Template useful when using this tool.


Extra Resources

If you are teaching Take Back the Economy, you will find materials and extra resources (including films) for this Chapter in the Lectures 5 and 6 section on Teaching TBTE in Hong Kong

This chapter also relates to the framing essay, by Jenny Cameron, on diverse enterprise in The Handbook of Diverse Economies (published in 2020). See Framing Essay: The Diversity of Enterprise

The authors received Australian Research Council funding (2016 to 2019) to study manufacturing firms in Australia that are running viable businesses, and also addressing social justice and environmental concerns. These manufacturers are examples of how surplus can be produced and distributed in ways that benefit people and the planet. The research findings are summarised in the Beyond Business as Usual final report. There is also the Roepke Lecture based on this research, which was presented by Katherine Gibson at the 2018 AAG (Association of American Geographers) Annual Meeting, and subsequently published in the journal Economic Geography. A pre-publication version is available here.

Jenny Cameron has researched a number of food-based enterprises and the types of ethical decisions they make about how to produce and distribute surplus. The following are a range of resources based on this research:

Brosney, M., 2015. Negotiating and Cooperating in Food Cooperatives (Documentary), Christchurch, NZ: Mahi Pai Media. Online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_DeDTKkCDk.

Cameron, J. and Pekin, R., 2015. 2015, ‘Food Connects.’ In K. Gibson, D. Bird Rose & R. Fincher (eds) Manifesto for Living in the Anthropocene, New York: Punctum, Chapter 11.

Cameron, J., 2015, ‘Enterprise Innovation and Economic Diversity in Community Supported Agriculture: Sustaining the Agricultural Commons.’ In J.K. Gibson-Graham, G. Roelvink & K. St Martin (eds) Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Chapter 2.