Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives

Businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by multiple stakeholders. This can include workers, consumers, producers, and/or community members.

As the online "sharing economy" devolves into poor labor conditions and monopolistic practices, the concept of "platform cooperativism" offers a hopeful vision for a more democratic online economy. This new wave of entrepreneurs, investors, and business developers are merging offline cooperative economics with the Internet in creative ways. We'll discuss how far this emergent movement has come, and explore some of the challenges it faces in the struggle for the future of the online platforms we increasingly depend on.

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[Editor's note: This short film documents the current state of BIOME (which also gets rendered as Viome, Vio.me, and VIOME) a cooperative and solidarity enterprise initiated by workers at a factory in Thessaloniki, Greece that was abandonded by its former owners during the financial crisis.  Workers and local community members took over the factory and managed it through a participatory process.  Today, 22 worker-owners at BIOME produce environmentally friendly cleaning products that are affordable for everyone.  While small, BIOME is proving the viability of radically

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[Editor's note: for background information about SolidarityNYC's #SolidiarityCities project, see the first article in the series here.]

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Higher education is disintegrating under misguided neo-liberal reforms. Co-operative universities, member-run and member-led, are a solution. Educators, students and support staff would run this open, democratic educational commons. Keywords: co-operative, education, university, co-ops, multi-stakeholder co-ops
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[Editor's note: this report by Pat Conaty and David Bollier presents an in-depth look at the how our often disparate movements might begin to work together more closely in order to create a more just, open and equitable economy.  David Bollier describes the scope of the report on Shareable:

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Uberfication has become shorthand for many new concepts—from the sharing economy to any significantly disruptive digital business model. But what exactly did Uber do that was materially different to earlier disruptive digital businesses? In short:

  • It created software…

  • To replace existing industry-wide operational structures…

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cross-posted from Seeds Beneath

When I first got involved in the co-op movement I didn’t do it because I thought the co-operative model was an end in itself.

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(Editor's note: This article emerged out of conversations Michael had with Terry Mollner and his thinking about creating institutions grounded in the idea the common good. We were quite surprised to find out that it turned out to be one of this most read articles on GEO: 10,500 a week or ago; almost 11,000 now. We were more than delighted when a recent article passed the 3,000 mark in page views. 1,500 is a seen as a big plus. But 11,000! We can’t explain it. However, since there has been so much interest in it, we decided to post it anew.

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[Editor's note: In this presentation from The Sustainable Economies Law Center's 5th Annual Fall Celebration, SELC's staff presents a comprehensive vision of a Cooperative Economic future and, more importantly, lays out concrete steps that can be taken in order to arrive there.  As an additional bonus, the presentation is creative and entertaining.  Enjoy!  (The show starts at 1:50 and runs until 35:52)]

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[Editor's note: These two presentations were part of Open Everything: A Collaborative Economy Convergence, held this September at Cloughjordan Ecovillage in Tipperary, Ireland.  Plunkett Foundation cheif executive Peter Couchman and John Restakis, author and former executive director of the BC Co-operative Association, discuss the growth--and the growing pains--of the cooperative economy.  More videos from Open

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Can people with different roles in an enterprise—such as producers, workers and consumers—all form a cooperative? This workshop discusses important considerations and strategies to avoid what some argue are inevitable conflicts. The workshop was led by attorney Jenny Kassan and Spiral Foods Cooperative member Tucker Hemquist and took place at the 2014 California Cooperatives Conference.

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Co-op attorney Don Kreis discusses the legal framework under which co-ops operate in Vermont and the US, as well as a number of specific issues unique to co-ops.

 

See more interviews by Cooperative Vermont on their Youtube channel

Go to the GEO front page

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There is a problem with corporate governance at traditional capitalist firms that often goes unmentioned in discussions of our current social and economic ills. It's a problem that I have reason to believe also effects some of our largest co-ops. It is a perverse dynamic that has lead to extremes of income and wealth inequality, and it is all the more pernicious for being largely invisible. (I'm going to have to dive into the weeds a little bit to get to where I'm going, but stay with me and I promise you, this will come back around to co-ops.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article emerged out of conversations Michael had with Terry Mollner and his thinking about creating institutions grounded in the idea the common good. Terry’s book, The Love Skill: We Are Mastering the 7 Layers of Human Maturity, explores these ideas in depth. It will be out in May of this year. He has written a lot on the Mondragon Cooperative experiment, which can be accessed at www.trusteeship.org).

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