This news is a bit old, but I can't believe there's not a thread on this amazing initiative.
[quote]“Most people you talk to wouldn’t be able to tell you they’re a member of a co-op even if they’re a member of five.” As the Director of Youth Programs at the BC Co-op Association (BCCA), Chelsea Lake is integrally invested in engaging people with the co-operative movement. “You tell them VanCity, Mountain Equipment Co-op, MODO, and they say ‘Oh, yeah yeah yeah…’ But they wouldn’t be able to tell you what that means. And those are the people that should be yelling it from the rooftops.”
Co-operatives like the Vancouver Tool Library, for example, allow members to rent endless amounts of power tools for free upon payment of a yearly maintenance fee. This saves people like Craig hundreds of dollars (and tons of closet space), as the alternative likely entails purchasing those same big tools for a one-time job.
If this is true, and co-ops really are something worth shouting about, then why do we seem to have such ambiguity about their role in our lives? Two key things: At a fundamental level, our lack of understanding might have something to do with our business-as-usual education system, and; at a political level, our governing structures and regulations might be partly to blame.
“First year economics is flawed,” says Lake, in ardent fashion. “OK, so there’s supply and demand, but there’s also people who want to do the right thing in this world. We aren’t all profit-seeking monsters. There are other facets to the way we do business, and it’s not just communism.”
Either by ignorance or design, however, the “co-operative” chapters of our economics, business, and social studies textbooks never quite made it to press. This void in traditional teachings has left the heavy lifting to those working “out of the goodness of their hearts” to redefine concepts we take for granted like service, economy, work, and exchange.
Charlie Latimer is one such person in Vancouver.
“When people say business is for profit, I lose my shit,” he explains. “The only reason to have a business is to support a service to community.”[/quote]