The austerity agenda is often presented as inevitable, which is really just a way for corporatists and conservatives to dismiss any discussion or debate. “There are no alternatives!” they thunder. But as Co-operatives UK demonstrates in a brilliant new report, there are a growing array of highly practical alternatives that are both financially feasible and socially effective. They are known as multi-stakeholder co-operatives, or more simply as “social co-operatives.”
While most of us are familiar with consumer or worker coops, the social co-operative is a bit different. First, it welcomes many types of members – from paid staff and volunteers to service users and family members to social economy investors. While many coops look and feel like their market brethren, with a keen focus on profit and loss, social coops are committed to meeting social goals such as healthcare, eldercare, social services and workforce integration for former prisoners. They are able to blend market activity with social services provisioning and democratic participation, all in one swoop.
Read the full article on David Bollier's blog
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