Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D., Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice discusses the her book and upcoming projects with host, Vernon Oakes on Everything Co-op.
 
During February, Everything Co-op celebrates Black History Month by focusing on the Association for the Study of African American Life and History's Theme.

I want to tackle today what I think is quite a difficult question.  It’s this:  what responsibility do ordinary members of a co-operative have, if their elected directors are not making a very good fist of things in terms of governance and member democracy?

Cost-of-capital is central to economists’ thinking about how firms should (and do) invest their financial capital, and to measuring the value of a firm. Brent Hueth will argue that the cost of “equity” capital for many co-operative businesses is, if not zero, then close to it. He will interpret the relevance of this finding in the context of private capital structure and investment decision making, as well as public tax and regulatory treatment of co-operatives.

Relatively little attention has been paid to democratic and critical approaches that look into the embedded power dynamics that influence who is allowed access to organizational decision making: whose voices get heard and whose get left out. Where practice is concerned, we see a “democratic deficit” in board governance—that is, an absence of democratic structures and processes.1 Many nonprofit boards fall short of being broadly representative of the public.

It is becoming increasingly obvious to people that profit maximization has very little to do with meeting actual human or ecological needs. According to the Economic Policy Institute and other researchers, corporate profits and worker productivity rise independently of workers' real wages. And increases in corporate profit are more likely to enrich shareholders than to be reinvested in new jobs with good wages. We need better ways of doing business.

Shared-equity homeownership programs just had a big win: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (“the Enterprises”) committed in their Underserved Markets Plans to increase access to mortgages for shared-equity homebuyers over the next three years.

It’s 1939 and a group of famous civil rights leaders are gathering to discuss the future of the Negro race…and you’re invited.

In an increasingly competitive grocery market, it is common to recruit and train with a focus on business acumen. A prudent board will hire management who have the skills to run the business. The question remains, how is managing a cooperative business different? 

This decidedly unique business is a worker co-operative based in Toronto. Founded in 1997, the co-op has been voted the best sex shop by Now Toronto readers almost every year since then. No doubt, this display of affection is due in large part to its “sex positive,” safe, comfortable approach to (and wealth of information on) all things ever-present but rarely spoken of out loud – ie: the more sensuous of human activities.

To preserve a community institution and a great place to work, business owner Susanne Ward is selling Rock City Roasters and Cafe to the people who helped build it -- the employees -- with the help of the Cooperative Development Institute.

The people behind Coops Vidriana wrote to us to let us know about their new gorgeous-looking magazine on Platform Cooperativism. It’s bilingual (German/English) and features a bunch of new articles and some drop-dead stunning design. Jana Pirlein has been kind enough to pen the following intro for the P2PF blog.

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