Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era: Creating Co-operative Economics
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It doesn't have to be this way. Featuring a remarkable roster of internationally renowned critical thinkers, Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era presents a feasible alternative for a more environmentally sustainable and equitable economic system - specifically, the co-operative business model. With more than 100 million people working in co-operatives and more than a billion members around the world, the time has never been better for co-operatives everywhere to recognise their potential to change the economic landscape.
An essential book for students, policymakers and concerned citizens looking for a practical way to change the current stagnant economic paradigm.
necessitate thinking about issues of oversight, accountability and representation, which, in Ostrom et al.’s discussion, must be handled in transparent, democratic processes. Indeed, democratic self-governance, a value that Vincent Ostrom would later develop more fully, stands out as a criterion for policy evaluation throughout Ostrom et al.’s analysis. The inhabitants of a community needed a voice in the activities of their public economy, they argued. Community leaders (whether elected or in
economic success has enabled the status quo, with blind trust in unfettered markets that have reduced government ability to regulate the economy to its bare bones. Yet it was precisely the stifling of government action that led to the 2008 economic collapse and the demands that governments had to bail out the banks and corporations grown too big to fail. Neoliberal policies produced a system for privatising profits and socialising losses for the wealthiest 20 per cent but are increasingly
the new ideas they might implement during the next moment of contingency. Implementing them immediately isn’t possible, because between shocks social systems tend to be too rigid. Nevertheless, during these periods people can develop new ideas and experiment with new forms of economic and social arrangement. Then, when the next shock happens and society is casting around for answers, these people will have ideas to put forward, and society as a whole will have some well-grounded responses to try.
such a way as to optimise financial return, considered in its conventional reductionist form. As Adam Smith himself understood well, systems and values have hierarchies. At a systemic level, financial return must be subordinated to the values we hold dear, and on which our very lives depend. The subtle but profound shift from thinking of financial return as the objective of investment, to seeing financial return as a constraint, guiding some higher purpose – I invest to build a business that
issues concerning environmental sustainability coming to the fore. This is an exciting new area for co-operatives of all kinds going forward, and an obvious area for further research. Notes 1 This chapter is based on a presentation at the International Conference on Co-operative Economics – Imagine 2012, held on 6–7 October 2012 in Quebec. 2 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) notes that ‘Only Turkey, Greece, France, Hungary, and Belgium recorded no increase or