1920s With the newly founded USSR and a Europe licking the wounds of World War I, the division into the historic communist and capitalist blocs simmered. Ernest Bader, a Swiss businessman based in London, fell short of this segregation and, as a good student of the Plato or Hegel dialectics, he decided to seek a third solution, a synthesis between the two models to grow his company. Thirty years later, he succeeded.
The Scott Bader Chemicals Company was founded in 1921 in the British capital and run for 30 years under the conventional capitalist model. However, its founder, a member of the Quaker community , was never convinced of the efficiency of an organization based on the accumulation of capital and the division into two blocks: the labor force and the owners of the means of production. Managers and directors. Employees and owners.
The communist model was not to the taste of the Swiss either. Bader defended private property, but he was equally firm with respect to a distribution of wealth that he considered necessary to add value to society from entrepreneurship. Thus, from the confrontation between capitalism and communism under the Quaker spiritual pillars of the businessman, he found a solution, a ‘third way’ that took him 30 years to devise and that has brought him 70 years of success to date.
In 1951, Ernest Bader turned his company into a kind of company owned by his workers, inviting them to become fully involved in the development and destiny of the company.
Thus was born The Scott Bader Commonwealth, founded on the principles of the Quakers, a religious community founded in England in the seventeenth century that preached the spirituality of the individual and rejected any ecclesiastical hierarchy. Bader employees became partners of the firm and, therefore, responsible for its future.
The Quakers communed with values around the development of the individual, equal opportunities, participation and involvement in the community and the resolution of conflicts in a peaceful way. At the business level, this meant that Bader’s company had a responsibility to encourage its employees – and partners – to develop their potential optimally, to facilitate their access to company benefits, to give them a true voice and vote in the company strategies and impose dialogue in the face of any challenge.
The Scott Bader Commonwealth laid out some simple rules for its operation. Thus, the highest remuneration in the company could only multiply the lowest salary by seven; half of the net profit would go to charitable purposes, and its products would not be sold to customers for war purposes.
Bader’s ‘third way’ was immediately perceived as a new utopia of work, in the style of the socialist Robert Owen, and received the worst omens. Reality, however, proved the pessimists wrong. The Scott Bader firm grew within its limits internationally and has 700 employees hired today. Currently, ecology, business and humanity make up the three axes on which the entire business strategy rotates.