Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era: Creating Co-operative Economics

Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era: Creating Co-operative Economics

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1783600772

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For the past three decades, neoclassical doctrine has dominated economic theory and policy. The balance of power has shifted to protect private interests, resulting in unprecedented damage to the environment and society, with no solution in sight as more austerity and less government continues to be posited as the answer to the oncoming waves of crisis.

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.















thinking was the study of rules and how rules ordered our relationships. The aim of an analytical framework was to offer a way to think about rules and rule-ordered relationships or, in short, ‘institutional arrangements’. Institutions ‘are the sets of rules governing the number of decision makers, allowable actions and strategies, authorised results, transformations internal to decision situations, and linkages among decision situations’ (Kiser and Ostrom 1982: 64–5). Institutional arrangements

concentrated markets, some current institutional developments in co-operatives promote the status quo in the economy. Therefore, some challenging questions for the co-operative movement remain relevant. Is ‘labour for hire’ acceptable in co-operative economic systems or should workers share in membership? Is venture capital an acceptable investment form? Co-operative economics needs supporting institutions, from legal frameworks to norms and self-governing rules. Until these questions are

century, economic theory, regardless of its realism, was allowed to direct policies – some self-fulfilling, and some disastrously different from their announced intentions. We must move to a theory that not only is based on observed reality, but also pays attention to what kind of economy is necessary, possible and desirable. Therefore the first challenge to the old economic theory is the question: what are the goals for the economy? The existing theory claims no overt goals, but it has implicit

systems. We need to shift from seeing the world as being composed mainly of simple machines to seeing it as composed largely of complex systems. When I explain this idea to my students I show them an early twentieth-century wind-up mantelpiece clock – the kind that chimes every fifteen minutes and gongs every hour. I note to my students that I can take the thing apart and break it down into its bits and pieces – its springs, bushings, cog wheels, screws and the like. I can understand precisely

of its institutional setting. We have consumers without humanity, firms without organization, and even exchange without markets (Coase 1998: 3). Historically, co-operatives came into being after capitalist enterprises and began to expand, in various modes and at different paces, in all the advanced economies. In a way, then, co-operatives can be seen as an unexpected fruit of industrial civilisation that ripened during the ‘belle époque’. Two main interpretations of this historical fact have

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