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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Supportive wisdom from a reflective champion of worker co-ops and a cooperative economy

July 21, 2010
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Nancy Folbre teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She posts regularly on the NY Times blog, Economix.  I discovered her when she posted two blogs on worker cooperatives--The Case for Worker Co-ops and Workers of the World, Incorporate.  Her wit is razor sharp, her analysis of specific problems penetrating, her compassion clearly out there, and her pragmatic inquiry of issues so wonderfully disturbing to hope-inflated confidence.  In a word, what she offers is of immense value to real change.

 Yesterday she came through with another one--Is Another Economics Possible.  Before I say any more I need to own up to my personal relationship with her.  I work with the Valley Alliance of Worker Cooperatives as a volunteer organizer.  I contacted her after her reading her earlier pieces. This led to her meeting with VAWC, and this led to further meetings with more and more professors, students, etc., and this led to a project that is developing a curriculum on cooperative economics at UMass.  So be alert: I may just be charming her with this post.

Her latest post is classic Folbre.  She starts off with a snapashot of the USSF, then effortlessly rolls on to the media's almost non-existent treatment of the Forum, then to the Tea Party, and then runs through a brief but highly relevant review of the literature on co-ops and other economics (with links). 

She ends with this:

One could say, therefore, that another economics is now under way. Still, it seems fragmentary and incomplete and not yet adequate to the task of institutional design. We still don?t know how best to organize cooperative efforts or how to mobilize the capital necessary to support them on a large scale.

Like the better world it could help deliver, another economics remains merely possible but profoundly necessary.


 The slogan for this year?s worker co-op conference is ?The work we do is the solution.?  Nancy has given us a sobering and supportive backdrop for that slogan.

I am thinking of nominating her to keynote our next conference. 


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