A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise”. Cooperatives are democratically owned by their members, with each member having one vote in electing the board of directors.
The International Co-Operative Alliance defines a cooperative, or co-op, as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise.” In other words, cooperatives are created by people who have a specific need and who are willing to work together to operate and organize a company that will meet that need.
Building A Just And Sustainable Economy
The economy cannot be separated from society, it is an integral part of it, but the fact that the economy is just one part of a society has been largely forgotten. The economy and economic thinking should not drive society but rather, support society in it’s aims.
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Kawano says a solidarity economy offers participants a way of existing that isn’t tied to profitability and productivity, but instead “embraces all those things that are not formal, and maybe don’t involve money, or aren’t incorporated,” the traditional market value of which has perhaps been negligible.
Want to start a Coop?
Join Us for Our Spring 2022 Co-op Bootcamp! Come learn about what cooperatives are, why they are good for workers, the local economy and the community! This is our first year running two programs — one in English and one in Spanish.