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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Is A Non-Exploitive Economy Based on Worker-Own Cooperatives Possible (150 comments)

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  •  Okay, here's my passion on coops - it's yin! (2+ / 0-)
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    NY brit expat, Geminijen

    I think of a capitalist economy the same as I do a one night stand with a hooker. No accountability, no commitment, and you don’t know what “extra special goodies” you might get.

    For instance, take food. We don’t know where our food comes from, what’s in it, how much of the cost is brokered and what the true cost is to us in every way.

    A coop is a relationship economy. For instance, if you put your money in a mutual fund, you have no idea of the impact of that money, where it’s circulating and who’s really benefiting.

    If you invest with coops, whether through banking, work, home, entertainment, community, the ecosystem that is served IS the relationship.

    Local living economies shift the focus of power to the community, and because financial markets recognize only money, the value is squarely placed within that thriving community.

    When the power exists in Wall Street, there’s a power disconnect. It does not allow for your decisions, how you operate and the broader public interests.

    We have been trapped in an accumulation economy, so it takes a shift in mindset for small businesses to change, but it’s being done in the banking industry and in business. Communities are going further than just food coops or green sustainability. Employees are building equity as part-owners of the businesses they work for and some of the wages are pumped into the community, creating more jobs. Call it industrial-strength structural change.

    For example, three work coops does not make much of a difference. But take multiple inner cities locked into generational poverty, tap into major institutions and you have a movement, which is exactly what’s happening. Strategically, for instance, take one large institutional clinic/university hospital, with a purchasing power of $3 billion, but that type of business is not mobile, so work coops are offering them an alternative of shifting business to local coop workers. The money then creates inner city jobs within the community. It’s win-win.

    Worker ownership is the wave of the future, democratizing ownership and rooting it in community with a sense of pride. It grows upon itself, creating large-scale enterprises and coop banks, as well, with the roots staying within the community.

    What role does this leave for Wall Street and capitalism once we go to local banking, businesses, coop neighborhoods, transportation, time share, etc. Well, nothing unless the people choose to offer them reform. No more fraudulent mortgages, hedgefunds, betting against your own country, ad nauseum.

    How do we reorientate markets to make them more long-term? By design, that’s how. Make them non-profit or owned through workers, community charities, local grants and make them micro-economic based and lend locally. Since depositors are already local, reinvest the money right back in the form of local loans and investment.

    Capitalism is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet. Progress is here. It’s showing it’s ugly head in the form of greed and fear, but we are here to change that. Changing short-termism into long-term interest and investment with community money, jobs and energy. We are right there right now.

    The changes we have to make for our future are the same ones we dream of in which an economy brings prosperity to everyone through the natural environment, a sense of community and a strong commitment to worker ownership, which is not only our only option, but it happens to bring with it a lot of happiness. It’s called the bottom-up solution and it works.

    How do we make it happen? Using community banks as a model where local businesses get credit from bankers who know them. Creating jobs through local communities by creating pride through worker ownership. The clue is right in front of you. Your cell phone and the internet. A cell phone is connected to a tower, which is connected to the next, and so on. Those "towers of power" communicate with each other. Using that analogy, the network is our economy, one community at a time. Once each project spreads through mutual awareness and connection, it grows into a powerful movement.

    There are so many ideas on sustainability, community and coops, but I should stop now. I’ve turned this comment into a diary. And I apologize for that. It’s just my passion.

    Bringing it back full circle, it’s all about the hook-up, long-term community style, that is. In other words, it’s a sexy idea whose time has come.

    •  excellent points shanty sue (1+ / 0-)
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      shantysue

      I think that you have hit the essence of why I love coops as well and said it far better than I could:

      A coop is a relationship economy. For instance, if you put your money in a mutual fund, you have no idea of the impact of that money, where it’s circulating and who’s really benefiting.

      If you invest with coops, whether through banking, work, home, entertainment, community, the ecosystem that is served IS the relationship.

      Local living economies shift the focus of power to the community, and because financial markets recognize only money, the value is squarely placed within that thriving community.

      thank you for this, wonderful ...

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:47:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you for your vision. I agree with much of (3+ / 0-)
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      shantysue, NY brit expat, tardis10

      what you say.  The model where cooperatives are embedded in a supportive coop network,including  the large institutions that are important to the community, and that is also geared to serving poorer depressed communities is the model for the Evergreen Coops in Cleveland.  I was able to talk to some of the folks that set that up and are actively trying to make it happen and will discuss it in the article I am doing next month.  I have plenty of positive things to say about it and a few  critiques.

      P.S. You have got to write a whole diary.  these long coments are just too good to waste in just a comment. More people should see them.

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