New Internationalist asks: ‘Can co-operatives crowd out capitalism?’
An article in the New Internationalist magazine states that “the search for alternatives has never been more urgent”, and looks at the potential for co-operatives to provide a different way of running businesses.
The article, which is entitled ‘Can co-operatives crowd out capitalism?’, describes co-operatives as: “A way to democratise ownership and to counter the divisions and inequalities of the market economy.” It goes on to argue: “The co-op model is a challenge to the hyper-competitive, winner-takes-all model of corporate capitalism. Co-operatives show there is another way of organising the market where profit is not the sole objective and where, theoretically, fairness is institutionalised and people are at the centre of decision-making.”
The article details the situation in Argentina, where co-operatives are setting an inspiring example. When the national economy collapsed, and factories were abandoned (around the capital Buenos Aires alone, this is estimated to number about 4,000), the workers set up co-operatives and took over running the factories themselves in a movement known as las empresas recuperadas (recovered companies). In the past decade, the country’s GDP grew by nearly 90 per cent, the fastest in Latin America. Today, there are more than 200 ‘recovered’ co-operative factories in Argentina, which provide jobs for more than 9,000 people, in a range of industries from shoes and textiles to meatpacking plants and transport firms.
The ‘recovered factories’movement is spreading across Latin America, and there are a 69 ‘recovered factories’ in Brazil, around 30 in Uruguay, 20 in Paraguay and a handful in Venezuela.
The article also looks at the history of the co-operative movement, which developed as a way of meeting members’ needs, and argues the necessity for policy changes to enable the co-operative movement to continue to flourish in the future.
Read the full article online at: www.newint.org/features/2012/07/01/co-operatives-international-year
Published On: July 9, 2012
Written By: Natalie