This evening I met with Ethan Earle, former U.S. director of The Working World and former loan agent and coordinator at La Base in Argentina. Michael Johnson suggested we meet and Ethan was most gracious to meet with me last minute while I’m here in NYC. It turns out that he lives only a few blocks from where I’m staying.
The Working World is a non-profit organization that provides investment capital and technical support for worker cooperatives. It was founded to help “design, fund, and carry out productive projects only requiring that cooperatives pay [them] back with the revenues the investments generate. As active partners, [they] are more motivated to ensure that these projects are successful” and “that finance is only used as a tool to create real, lasting wealth for those that it serves.” Brendan Martin, began the Working World in 2004. He created a small loan fund in Argentina called La Base into which he invested $50,000 of his own money saved up from working on Wall Street. The Working World begain providing small loans to (mostly) worker co-operatives in Argentina and expanded into Nicaragua and more recently into the US, making low/no interest loans in NYC and Chicago.
Ethan lived in Buenos Aires for several years and had a bunch of excellent advice about who and which organizations I should contact during my visit to Argentina. Among contacts, he suggested two author/professors (Esteban Magnani and Andres Ruggeri) and several organizations including La Facultad Abierta. See entrees in August for more on the work of these men and the movement.
Ethan currently works with the Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung a German non-profit affiliated with Germany’s left party.