I’m loving this important critique of social enterprise from a Marxist perspective. We shouldn’t forget that although social enterprise can create deep social impact and advance change it may not empower workers as Marx would have liked therefore leaving the working class still powerless against the might of capital. Just a thought.
Social enterprises are problematic from this standpoint. Yes, accepting Cox’s examples at face value, it is laudable and welcome that good work has been done and lives have been transformed for the better. But in this regard it is akin to guerilla Fabianism. The crucial difference between social objectives performed through commercial activity and reforms won by workers through old-fashioned struggle is that our class grows in confidence and experience, and enters the next round of confrontations a more powerful collective. Social enterprise does not differ from Fabian programmes of reform – both bypass the workers and do not directly strengthen its power. (This of course does not rule out the possibility such outcomes could provide a more favourable context for class struggle).