Gleanings

"We are at a pivotal cooperative moment in history. More and more people feel excluded, both economically and societally.  The challenges ae sweeping: the changing nature of worke, increasing inequality and accelerating information technology that passes some people by and exploits others. People are looking for answers..."

What would happen if workers ran their own businesses? Would worker-managed firms make the same decisions as their capitalist counterparts? Could such an economy be efficient? What policies could be deployed to promote a cooperative sector?

Abstract:
This article describes the appearance of a solidarity economy movement in different national and continental contexts, stressing the diversity of practices within civil society at local and international level. Emerging in the last decades, these initiatives, which are both political and economic in nature, have extended and renewed the social economy, thereby offering a concrete alternative at a time of capitalist crisis. As such, the movement cannot be overlooked in the quest for a new economic model and public action.

It may seem like the soft side of business, but values are at the heart of every example of co-operative excellence – and core to the advisory work of Co-operatives UK.

The International Co-operative Alliance has codified 10 values – six co-operative and four ethical. The co-operative values – self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity – describe the design of the business. The ethical values – honesty, openness, social responsibility, caring for others – describe its operation.

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Failure to understand and implement co-op values can lead to co-op failure. A 2016 study by Peter Couchman and Murray Fulton – When Big Co-ops Fail – indicates that co-ops which fail present similar early warning signs. These include falling silent on co-op identity and having managers with no interest or belief in the model.

Gutierrez was determined to spur economic change and, to that end, decided that her neighborhood needed more community-minded businesses in which workers shared management and ownership — in other words, it needed more worker cooperatives.

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