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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.

April 10, 2023

Exploring Italian Social Cooperatives with Vera Negri Zamagni


Last week’s seminar with guest speaker Professor Vera Zamagni explored the various forms of value generated by Italian social cooperatives.

Let’s defend the occupied GKN factory in Italy now

What is at stake at GKN Florence? And why now?

On 9 July 2021, the automotive factory GKN Florence made the Italian news: on that day, one email fired all of its 422 workers. This sparked a struggle that will go down in history: the factory takeover by the GKN workers’ permanent assembly, the Insorgiamo (Let’s rise up) slogan, the convergence between labour and environmental struggles, and much more.

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.

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.

Italy’s Tradition of Self-Organized Services

Italy has numerous traditions of cooperatives (Ammirato, 1994, 2018). In particular, the Italian coop sector evolved from both secular liberal thought, socialist and communist traditions, as well as from Catholic social thought. They have managed to become a class of principles-based enterprises strongly embedded in all sectors of the Italian economy.

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.

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)

April 27, 2023

Foster & Iaione Probe Commoning in the City


How might the commons paradigm be applied to cities in a more focused, effective way?  To find some answers, I recently interviewed two leading thinkers and advocates for urban commons, Sheila R. Foster and Christian Iaione.