December 30, 2012

Cooperatives Committed To Healthier Communities

Sharing, working together, and getting along with each other are the most important things we learn to do in our early years. Later in life, however, the importance of cooperation seems to fade into the background noise of individualism, greed, and self-interest.

That's not to say that sharing, working together, and getting along aren't important after we 'grow up'. If we didn't unofficially operate cooperatively in millions of little ways every day, things would quickly grind to a halt. Our survival depends on the simple lessons of kindergarten.

Therefore, I would like to use one of the last opportunities to say, "Happy International Year of Cooperatives". Although you may not have heard much about this global celebration of working together toward the common good, coops world-wide are thriving, with over 1 billion + members. Coops are officially everywhere.

Cuba has experienced phenomenal success with agricultural coops. Now the government is making it easier for citizens to create non-agricultural cooperatives, as a response to the people's desire for an economic model between pure socialism, and pure capitalism. Worker owned coops fit the bill.

Even in the centre of capitalism, the US, there are 120 million members of co-operatives and cooperative credit unions. So robust is this sector that some are calling it the "new economy".

The infographic below is used as an example of how cooperatives are committed to the social, economic, and environmental well being of their members and communities. Food cooperatives surpass conventional grocery stores in several important measures.

"Co-ops are based on values not unlike those we subscribe to individually, including self-responsibility, democracy, equality, honesty and social responsibility.
A cooperative exists to serve its members, but what makes co-ops unique is that the members are also the owners. So, in addition to getting the products and services you need, you also have a say in the business decisions your cooperative makes.
Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the communities it serves."     
When businesses are owned by the workers and community, and not Wall Street bankers or rich families, everything changes. Here's to a more cooperative new year in which we value people over profits, and make sustainable, healthier communities the focus of our collective efforts.

Let's make our kindergarten teachers proud.


  1. I really enjoy your blog & look forward to more posts in 2013.

    Happy New Year, from a lurker!

    1. Happy new year, SleepingGreenCat! Thanks for visiting, and coming out of hiding to post a comment. Hope to hear more from you in 2013.


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