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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy


August 5, 2021

Why Italy Might See a Worker Co-operative Boom


With Covid’s impacts still being felt and a decade of business sales about to erupt it is key that we learn how to make WBOs as easy as possible for prospective worker-owners.

July 29, 2021

Italy's Worker Buyouts in Times of Crisis


A report on the factors that lead to Worker Buyouts of failing firms and those without succession plans in Italy.

February 7, 2022

Italian co-ops hire inmates to make food and fashion


Prisoners in Italy pay for their own detention, and often leave prison in debt and without skills. A network of co-ops is trying to change this.

Democratizing Social Care in Italy

Social co-ops arose in Italy in the late seventies following the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients and the dissatisfaction of caregivers and families with the quality of care provided by the state. In theory, Italian public bodies were expected to provide key social services. Indeed, charitable and private social care organisations were taken over and integrated into public bodies under legislation dating back to 1890.[5] Local authorities were at the core of education, health and social services.

What has Italy got right?

In Italy around ten per cent of the economy (gross domestic product) is organised through co-operatives, with around eleven per cent of the workforce employed by co-ops, including many large-scale worker co-ops of course.

The response of co-ops in Italy to the health, social and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to draw on their values, for sure, but also to find ways to co-operate between co-operatives.

WEconomics: Italy

The first in a new series from the makers of SHIFT CHANGE, WEconomics: Italy reports on the extensive and innovative cooperative economy in the region around Bologna.

Dr. Alberto Corbino is a human geographer, born and raised in the South of Italy, a beautiful but complicated place. He is currently teaching Economics of Organized Crime and Social Innovation at Arcadia University Centre for Italian Studies in Rome. In the last two years he has worked as part-time professor in Environmental economics and law at University of Naples - Federico II. For some 20 years, as a professional and a community builder, he has been working to understand how the theories of sustainable development could be turned into practices, thus becoming an expert on the co-existence of legitimate and illegitimate systems of government and economies. He transformed this experience into training processes for students of any grade, a job he loves: in his vision, learning and understanding are essential to change.

In 2004 Dr. Corbino completed an executive program in Innovation in Governance at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, MA; in 2000 he received a Ph.d from the University of Padua and in 1992 he graduated with honors in Political Sciences at University of Naples – Federico II. In 1998 he worked as national expert at the European Commission in Bruxelles as coordinator of IMPEL - European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law.

In 1999 he co-funded the Campania regional branch of the NGO Mani Tese (fighting the imbalances between North and South of the world); he currently manages the non-profit organization Il Vagabondo (The tramp) to promote responsible tourism in the South of Italy. He volunteers for Banca Popolare Etica to make the social assessments of projects.

Contact him at: corbinoa [at]; albertocorbino [at]; skype: labuonaeconomia
blog: (In Italian)

Rozanna Travis is a writer based in Turin, Italy. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, US.

Christopher Michael is completing a JD/PhD (Politics) at the City University of New York with a focus on cooperative financial structures, community economic development, and labor law. He is currently co-editing a companion volume to “Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present,” for which he wrote a chapter comparing unionized worker cooperatives in the U.S., Italy, Argentina, and Canada. Chris is also a founding director of NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives.

William Cerf received his Master of Arts in Business Communication (MABC) from Jones International University in November 2011 and began doctoral studies in January 2012 at Union Institute & University with a Concentration in Ethical and Creative Leadership and a Specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies. Additionally he is an active participant in the Poverty Scholars Program of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and an advocate for empowerment of low-income people through involvement in Community Voices Heard (CVH). He is passionate about the development of worker-owned cooperatives and is a member of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives (NYC NoWC).

Law Department, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Brazil);
Università degli Studi di Camerino (Italy)