The rise of the capitalist kibbutz

This isn't new news, but it's a nice comprehensive discussion of the power of commercial forces:

Today, Ms Ozeri brandishes a business card that identifies her as the "global sales coordinator" of Aran Packaging, a company that produces liquids packaging for the food industry. Located on the kibbutz, and owned by its members, the business boasts sales of almost $40m (€28m, £25m) a year and ships its goods to 35 countries across the world. Ms Ozeri receives a salary which she is not only entitled to keep, but that is also considerably higher than the pay awarded to farmhands and workers on the assembly line. She says Aran's pay scale is broadly similar to other private sector companies.

Equality, once at the core of the kibbutz ideology, has been breached in other ways, too. Tasks that used to be performed by kibbutzniks regardless of their education and background – such as washing the dishes – are today largely the preserve of hired workers from outside the community.

Attitudes towards business have also changed radically. As recently as the 1980s, Nachshon members voted down a plan to open a petrol station on a nearby highway, because it would force the proud kibbutzniks to "serve" motorists.

Today, many kibbutzim not only have thriving businesses – including in the tourism industry – that operate exactly like other private enterprises, but some have even decided to embrace the capital market: 22 kibbutz companies are currently listed on stock exchanges in Tel Aviv, New York and London. With annual sales worth Shk37bn ($10bn, €7bn, £6bn), the kibbutz companies account for about 10 per cent of Israel's industrial production.

The full story is here.


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