Cooperative Movement goes on the Rise

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Jacob Richter
Cooperative Movement goes on the Rise

Quote:
But there is something very interesting about the three people I’ve mentioned: they all work directly with a new business-model that challenges the old and tired notion that workers must be led by bosses at the helm.

More: http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/corporate_globalization/2013/01/31...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've been in involved in co-operatives of one kind or another since the mid-1970s. Probably others here have been in co-ops longer than I have.

mmphosis

Canada's co-operative movement is on the rise (2013) (rabble.ca)

 

When Workers Own Their Companies, Everyone Wins (newrepublic.com)

How a very old economic model could help the new economy

MegB

More horizontal, less siloed, management style is more and more the norm. However, when push comes to shove, the hierarchy asserts itself. Few organizations are truly non-hierarchical.

There is a failure to distinguish between leadership and hierarchy.

6079_Smith_W

MegB wrote:

There is a failure to distinguish between leadership and hierarchy.

And between hierarchy and concentration of power (and exploitation). I think you are implying the latter, and I agree.

As for hierarchy, I'm not in favour of organizations that put it above practical structure, and I think too many are needlessly top-heavy, but most organizations simply can't function without one at a certain point. That's not actually a bad thing, because there is no organization without specific people who have a great deal of power (like the book keeper, or the one looking after inventory), or people who exert it. And then there's the natural jealousy, territorialism, and greater and lesser involvement that happens in all organizations. So the potential for that exploitation is there in an ad hoc way even where there is little formal structure.

Like many here, I am sure, I have several personal experiences with collective and cooperative organizations that suffered badly from lack of structure. I still think that if one is working in a group and not alone, a collective structure is the best way. The thing is striking the right balance.

 

 

Slumberjack

In the experience of many, hierarchy represents a seemingly intractable legacy issue.  Hierarchy is present whenever you have a number of problems defying solutions because the hierarchy's interests are at stake.  It's when collective solutions run up against barricades and logical, collective decision making goes out the window.  Assigning an implementer of collective decision making is different than a class of deciders who impose themselves and won't go away.

6079_Smith_W

That is true, though that class can assert itself just as easily, and sometimes moreso, when there is no adequate structure in place.

Another model, not strictly cooperative, that is growing is the Urban Reserve:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/urban-reserves-successful-in-sask...

 

Doug Woodard

U.S. Rust Belt Survival Strategy: Giving Workers Control:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/this-rust-belt-town-s-survival-st...

 

Doug Woodard

A traditional cooperative institution: irrigation in Bali, going for a millenium or so:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9ozS8BKUFI

 

Doug Woodard

Problems of socialism - "Inside Spain's Utopia" (Marinaleda village in Andalusia):

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/04/spain-utopia-160418120...

Apparently a "cult of personality" in a nominal cooperative. There are reasons why some attempts at practical socialism emphasize democracy, for example the Israeli kibbutzim and in the U.S.

http://www.thefec.org

http://www.twinoaks.org

coming up on 49 years.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I don't think that there are any magic solutions to the question of hierarchy.    I just think that it's a continual and ongoing process of overthrowing them whenever they occur.

Pondering

Doug Woodard wrote:

Problems of socialism - "Inside Spain's Utopia" (Marinaleda village in Anadlusia):

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/04/spain-utopia-160418120...

Apparently a "cult of personality" in a nominal cooperative. There are reasons why some attempts at practical socialism emphasize democracy, for example the Israeli kibbutzim and in the U.S.

The criticism was very weak, nothing more than a bit of gossip. It seems most people living there are very satisfied which isn't to say they couldn't improve. Within the article they acknowledge that they are far better off than the surrounding areas. So maybe it isn't utopia, but that is a goal rather than a destination that we will ever reach.

Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune. The great thing about democracy is that people are free to set up their communities however they please.

We could transform Canada if we choose to. The biggest problem we have is not the media or the government. Most people are relatively content with the status quo, or don't know how or where to channel their discontent. The biggest problem we have is our failure to deliver the message in a manner that people can and are willing to absorb.

susan davis

Pondering wrote:

 

Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune. The great thing about democracy is that people are free to set up their communities however they please.

 

 

sure pondering....whatever you say....unless we are a community you don't like or a cooperative model which supports a community you think should be eliminated...just saying....it's kind of ironic you would say this

quizzical

susan davis wrote:
Pondering wrote:
Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune. The great thing about democracy is that people are free to set up their communities however they please.

 

sure pondering....whatever you say....unless we are a community you don't like or a cooperative model which supports a community you think should be eliminated...just saying....it's kind of ironic you would say this

 

just sayin...i think this post of yours crossed a boundary and is close to targeted stalking.

you came into a thread, made no comment on it and attacked pondering for her opinion. like wtf?

Pondering

susan davis wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune. The great thing about democracy is that people are free to set up their communities however they please.

sure pondering....whatever you say....unless we are a community you don't like or a cooperative model which supports a community you think should be eliminated...just saying....it's kind of ironic you would say this

Just because people associate with one another or have the same perspective on a topic doesn't make it a community. For example, fast food workers are not a community.

Perhaps I should have added "as long as they are not breaking the laws of the country the community is in". Nothing in the current laws on prostitution prevent prostitutes from using a cooperative approach.

http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/new-extreme-massage-parlour-worries-plateau-r...

“They have a permit under personal care, but we're wondering what kind of personal care is needed in a residential area 24 hours a day,” said Amy Lilien, who owns a property near the business, which is on Roy St. between St. Dominique and St. Laurent Sts.

LIlien noted that the online application form for Extreme Massage requires applicants who want to be 'extreme girls’ provide their height, weight and photos – but no proof of certification in massage therapy.

“We're wondering why they're looking for ‘extreme girls’ and not certified massage therapists,” she said.

Lilien and other residents in the area fear Extreme Massage – adjacent to a daycare and a children's park – will only add to gang-related problems they've already seen in their neighbourhood.

Going to have to work to get that place shut down but if it located itself in a non-residencial spot it would probably survive. It's nothing a bunch of enterprising sex workers who want to start a cooperative couldn't do. They could even advertise. They could also form a cooperative Escort Service. So just go ahead and start up a cooperative. You can even advertise that you are setting up a coop Escort Service to let women who want to get involved get together. All an Escort Service needs is a small office with a receptionist and a website with pictures. It should be really easy in Vancouver. You can even get a few shared apartments.

So go ahead Susan. You want to start a coop, do it. You won't be breaking the law as long as you don't advertise prostitution. Given that this is such a lucrative profession collecting enough to start up shouldn't be a problem. You are a "community" so communication shouldn't be a problem.

susan davis

we did start a cooperative..... the first in canada.....

and you telling me how to do it is ludicris.....you are the expert on how to open an agency...you know all about it.....

tell the workers in calgary who were just arrested about how they can......

iyraste1313

Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune. The great thing about democracy is that people are free to set up their communities however they please....

...I nearly fell off my chair reading this one...thankfully the system has very successful efficient ways of turning people off the idea, or once established, corrupting people out of it.....and if that doesn't work, they just bring in their authorities, the regional districts and provincial agencies, the social workers...or if you're far enough removed, they'll just log and mine poison you out...

...the great thing about democracy? I was curious to know which part of the planet you're from to experience democracy!!

Doug Woodard

Joseph Stiglitz proposes co-op models as an alternative to trickle-down economics:

http://www.thenews.coop/110090/news/business/joseph-stiglitz-proposes-co...

and

https://www.sommetinter.coop/en

 

Doug Woodard

"Is hierachy the enemy of co-operation?"

I wouldn't say the question is answered, but it's used as a jumping-off point for a useful review and discussion:

http://www.thenews.coop/112205/news/co-operatives/hierachy-enemy-co-oper...

 

 

Ward

Funny what we think about. But I was just pondering this.  

 Could Beethoven's works be produced by a cooperative committee ?

Would the name Beethoven mean anything if it was only up to Ludwig himself?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Not everyone wants to live in a full on commune.

Communes were probably a great idea back when everyone in a certain area worshipped the same God, had the same priorities, ate the same food and followed the same ruler.

Jacob Richter

The coop economy can't thrive without some extent of taxpayer funding / state aid / dirigisme at the beginning of the coop's life.

Doug Woodard

Jacob Richter wrote:

The coop economy can't thrive without some extent of taxpayer funding / state aid / dirigisme at the beginning of the coop's life.

Some favourable tax treatment might be all that is needed. That could be justified by the lower external costs (including social costs) imposed by the co-op sector of the economy.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The coop economy can't thrive without some extent of taxpayer funding / state aid / dirigisme at the beginning of the coop's life.

Can you tell us more?

One would think that cutting out "middlemen", cutting out an "owner" and giving control to members would all be advantages, not disadvantages.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The coop housing I live in was built because the federal government instituted a program. Most of the cost of the land and buildings was borne by the subsequent 30 year mortgage. However there were still the costs associated with project management and oversight plus training for proper Board management and of course the all important CMHC financing guarantee. 

To foster a syndicalist movement in Canada it would require support akin to the coop startups in the 1980's and access to mortgage capital. 

Its a viable option to help build a sustainable economy. 

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

Co-operatives are businesses owned and run by and for their members. Whether the members are the customers, employees or residents they have an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits.

As businesses driven by values not just profit, co-operatives share internationally agreed principles and act together to build a better world through co-operation. 

http://ica.coop/

Jacob Richter

Doug Woodard wrote:

Jacob Richter wrote:

The coop economy can't thrive without some extent of taxpayer funding / state aid / dirigisme at the beginning of the coop's life.

Some favourable tax treatment might be all that is needed. That could be justified by the lower external costs (including social costs) imposed by the co-op sector of the economy.

I have to disagree.  I think the Lassalleans in Germany were right about the extent of "government interference" required, unlike the more timid social-democratic calls for favourable tax treatment or generous state loans and mortgages.

The kind of taxpayer funding / state aid / dirigisme required at the outset would be like a multiple-whammy combination of:

1) obtaining investment funds from a venture capitalist
2) obtaining those same funds even though the other side knows that the short- and medium-term rate of return won't be as high
3) obtaining favourable "management services" arrangements
4) obtaining favourable credit rating services
5) obtaining favourable mortgages
6) obtaining favourable loans and lines of credit
7) obtaining favourable tax treatment
8) obtaining favourable labour law treatment from an employer's perspective
9) obtaining favourable environmental treatment from a "moderate" polluter's perspective, and
10) obtaining favourable miscellaneous regulatory treatment

Again, all rolled into one.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It's still not clear which of those -- #'s 1 through 10 -- apply only to co-ops.

And to be honest, I have to think that if a private developer said "we expect favourable tax treatment, favourable labour law treatment from an employer's perspective and favourable environmental treatment from a "moderate" polluter's perspective" we'd say "hehehehehe.

Jacob Richter

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It's still not clear which of those -- #'s 1 through 10 -- apply only to co-ops.

Individually no, but collectively yes.

However, small business lobbies don't care much about 1, 3, or 4.  Venture capitalists fund businesses bigger than the usual small business, and management services are the stuff of larger enterprises.  Credit rating regulation and "interference" goes against "free market principles."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Ok.  But you're still not saying why one person can do this alone, but 1000 people collectively joining forces needs the state to intervene in the form of money or special exceptions.