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Movie Shows Potential Future of Capitalism

Leaders of a cooperative featured in Shift Change raise their fists in solidarity
Shift Change

In America, corporations are king. It’s hard to even think about capitalism without the corporate system that keeps it flowing here in the United States. A movie called "Shift Change" wants to transform the way you think about the economy. It highlights worker-owned businesses in North America and Spain that flip the paradigm of corporate control on its head.

Ruth Backstrom, one of the founders of Transition Durham -- the group showing the movie Monday at FullSteam Brewery --  says its important for people to know there are other, more humanitarian, ways of doing business.

“They are interested in the people and the jobs first,” she said. “Not the profits first.”

Sandy Smith-Nonini,, an adjunct assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is leading a discussion following Monday’s screening. She said these cooperative businesses are more prevalent than people realize.

“In certain parts of the country, they are very common,” she said. "And some of the names we associate with corporations in the supermarket are actually very successful cooperatives.”

She named companies like REI, Sunkist and Land O’Lakes, just to name a few.

Smith-Nonini also said that she thinks individuals in the Western world have become more interested in new ways of running the economy since the financial collapse of 2008.

Preview of Shift Change

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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