The United States—almost by accident, and almost alone among the world’s nations—has created an innovative, practical structure by which a company’s employees can own the business they work for. Today, according to the nonprofit National Center for Employee Ownership, about 7,000 U.S. companies are substantially or entirely owned by their employees. These are not tiny co-ops or buyouts of bankrupt firms; they are conventional profit-seeking businesses, most of them thriving. The companies employ about one out of every eight private-sector workers. They can be found in every state, in nearly every industry, and in virtually every size category—from the giant Publix supermarket chain to small engineering firm
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