Louis Kelso

Creator of the employee stock ownership plan and more.

  • Louis Kelso was born in Denver, Colorado, and attended the University of Colorado for his undergraduate and law degree.
  • His first employee ownership experiment was with the Penninsula Newspapers in Palo Alto.

Democracy and Economic Power

Kelso, Louis O. and Patricia Hetter Kelso. Democracy and Economic Power: Extending the ESOP Revolution. Ballinger, 1986.

  • Part I “Understanding Economic Democracy” (though throughout they more often use the term “democratic capitalism”)
  • Part II “Getting There”, “Financing Tools for Democratizing Capitalism”
    • ESOP - employee stock ownership plan
    • MUSOP - mutual stock ownership plan
      • Among smaller companies, allows workers across several companies to set up a fund that the companies could then draw from for capitalization
    • CSOP - consumer stock ownership plan
      • Likens it to a producer co-op (or consumer co-op)
      • For companies or utilities with consistent, long-term customer base, customers could finance and gain ownership through patronage commitments
      • After the first experiment in California, laws were changed to
    • GSOP - general stock ownership plan
      • under specific authorizing legislation, would allow low-capitalized people to become shareholders in public works
    • ICOP - individual capital ownership plan
      • enabling undercapitalized people to invest in undercapitalized businesses through special allowances
    • COMCOP - commercial capital ownership plan
      • a plan for distributing ownership of commercial real estate
    • PUBCOP - public capital ownership plan
      • For privatization of public assets and services
    • RECOP - residential capital ownership plan
      • capital credit for homebuyers
  • Part III “Unions' New Role”