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Capitalism That Works For All

by Laurent GUERBY Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 06:05:09 PM EST

From Alternet:


A market economy and capitalism are synonymous --- or at least joined at the hip. That's what most Americans grow up assuming. But it is not necessarily so. Capitalism -- control by those supplying the capital in order to return wealth to shareholders -- is only one way to drive a market.

Granted, it is hard to imagine another possibility for how an economy could work in the abstract. It helps to have a real-life example.

And now I do.

In May I spent five days in Emilia Romagna, a region of four million people in northern central Italy. There, over the last 150 years, a network of consumer, farmer and worker-driven cooperatives has come to generate 30 percent to 40 percent of the region's GDP. Two of every three people in Emilia Romagna are members of co-ops.

The region, whose hub city is Bologna, is home to 8,000 co-ops, producing everything from ceramics to fashion to specialty cheese. Their industriousness is woven into networks based on what cooperative leaders like to call "reciprocity." All co-ops return 3 percent of profits to a national fund for cooperative development, and the movement supports centers providing help in finance, marketing, research and technical expertise.

The presumption is that by aiding each other, all gain. And they have. Per person income is 50 percent higher in Emilia Romagna than the national average.

The roots of Emilia Romagna's co-op movement are deep -- and varied.

[...]

Another surprising feature of the culture is that, beginning in 1991, responsibility for social services in Emilia Romagna and other regions was transferred almost entirely to "social cooperatives." For those providing services such as job placement, 30 percent of the staff must come from the population served and, if possible, be members of the co-op. Certain tax benefits are provided to these "social co-ops."

The approach seemed another smart way to enhance human dignity, breaking down degrading divisions between the helper and the helped.

Because Davide exuded such passion for his work, I probed what had brought him to it. "Out of the university, I worked for a capitalist firm," he said. "But it wasn't for me. It was dog-eat-dog. So I tried working on my own, as a consultant. But after a year, I realized that wasn't for me either. So I took this job with the cooperatives.

"This is the interpretation of life that I enjoy," he said.

Of course cooperatives don't exist in mainstream media picture of reality.

Doesn't it look like a great model for progressive thinkers? I wonder how many stories like this one are happening in Europe and around the world...


Display:
There, over the last 150 years, a network of consumer, farmer and worker-driven cooperatives has come to generate 30 percent to 40 percent of the region's GDP. Two of every three people in Emilia Romagna are members of co-ops.

So the other 60-70% of GDP is produced by one-third of the population?

I don't quite follow the description of capitalism either.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 08:21:05 PM EST
I don't think it's capitalism. It is a market economy but the point seems to be it's cooperativist, not capitalist.

So maybe the diary should be about "A Market that works for all".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 03:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you misunderstood me.

Capitalism -- control by those supplying the capital in order to return wealth to shareholders -- is only one way to drive a market.

Meaning, I don't agree with the description of capitalism.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 02:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Define capitalism.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 03:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Wiki has it about right:

In common usage it refers to an economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated (commonly for profit), and where investments, production, distribution, income, and prices are determined largely through the operation of a "free market" rather than by centralized state control (as in a command economy).


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:18:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is, of course, why I found the term "state capitalism" to be so absurd, as it implies state ownership of the (largely) privately-owned means of production.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what would you call the situation in the US, where privately-owned means of production own the state?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 08:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
plutocracy


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: how does one avoid market capitalism evolving into plutocracy?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:32:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are at least two issues here. One is how to gather enough political power to force reforms. The other is what direction the reforms should take.

Regarding direction of reform:

Reducing the discretionary power of the state would help, because the state would then be less able to discriminate and hence there would be less reward for power-seekers.

I suspect that strong federalism would help, by reducing the rewards for grabbing centralised power, and enabling instructive (and harder to control) diversity among more-local governments.

Forcibly de-merging (that is, splitting) large corporations would help, and wouldn't significantly impair market mechanisms (indeed, it would likely improve their operation).

A voting system that put the vote in the hands of people who had a more substantial incentive to pay attention would help. Today, an individual's vote has little chance of making a difference. There are systems that could correct this, while anchoring electoral power in the informed preferences of the general public.

Regarding the political power necessary to force reforms:

I have no idea, unless it is to make the internet a far more effective mechanism for truth-finding and deliberation. But that would require enlightened software development, perhaps as a result of one wealthy person with vision backing the effort. And this, in turn, would require enlightenment, which seems more difficult.


Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 02:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy and the power to raise taxes.

Anything else?

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 02:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me rephrase, how do you prevent market capitalism from turning a democracy into a plutocracy?

Otherwise, I have to ask you to explain how our political systems fall short of democracy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 03:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Voters must understand their interest to vote for those who propose to tax the plutocrats wannabees and redistribute. They must be warry of proposed political systems with no democratic accountability (eg: current EU and proposed TCE).

If they don't I see no way to avoid the transformation to  a plutocracy.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 03:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it seems GDP per employee is much lower.

Another article from an Ohio guy on this Italy region cooperative movement seems to confirm the numbers.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or some other word beginning with 'F.'  

Per person income is 50 percent higher in Emilia Romagna than the national average.

GDP is a macroeconomic measure with only a tenuous relation to microeconomic well being.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 10:02:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've read a few more things and may be the member number includes members of consumer co-op so it's not really comparable to the GDP "per person".

I agree that GDP (unless there's a factor of 10) is a very poor indicator of well-being (unsurprisingly since it was invented to measure things for monetary policy purposes :).

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 10:54:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think these figures mix up members of workers' co-operatives, farmers' co-operatives, consumers' co-operatives and financial co-operatives. In the last three, members are not necessarily employees. Also, one can be a member of several co-operatives...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 09:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes : "member" of a cooperative does not necessarily equal "producer".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 04:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't do monetary policy very well either ...

If I, in my role as a Money Market Bank, lend you $100 million and you, in your guise as a Financial Investment Firm, lend it to Jerome, in his guise as an oil investment banker, who lends it back to me total GDP has risen by $300 million even tho' no economic activity has taken place.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:26:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in that situation the money supply has also increased by $300M.

Maybe our monetary theory is fucked up because our monetary system is fucked up.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:33:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if, as a MMB, I go to the appropriate Central Bank, use the loan as collateral to borrow, and the CB has to issue more money to cover the amount of the loan, thus increasing M3.  (That's what M3 is all about.)  Otherwise it's just the same amount of money sloshing around the system.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:37:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CB doesn't have to issue more money (that's a component of M1, isn't it?). The lenders could put the $100M in one or more bank accounts, and depending on the kind of account it would count as M1, M2 or M3. What am I missing?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 12:40:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M1 is the total estimated amount of specie plus immediately available funds.

M2 is M1 plus time related deposits.

M3 is the total estimated (WAG) amount of a currency in existence in any form.

The CB can interject extra money into the system at each of the 3 levels although the national Treasury and Mint usually have oversight and control of M1.  Whether a CB uses M2 or M3 depends on the policies (goals) and the situational analysis and decision making processes of the various CBs.  

(And you thought I couldn't drag in Epistemology, huh?  :-)  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 01:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If my way of giving you a loan is to open an account for you with a balance of $100M, doesn't that increase the amount of "currency in existence in any form" without CB involvement?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 01:22:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was under the impression that only banking fees were included in GDP for lending.

What you describe looks like more money creation in our fractionnal banking system, am I wrong?

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 12:22:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would maintain a primary economic activity of banks, considered generally, is to make loans.  If it isn't economic activity I'm bewildered as to what else to call it.  But I'm not going to be dogmatic about that or how financial transactions are measured within GDP calculations as I don't think GDP means diddly - Self-Referencing the Subject line of this thread.  ;-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 12:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only banking income (i.e. fees and margins - i.e. not the whole interest rate) is counted in GDP.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 01:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Jerome!
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 01:23:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the other 60-70% of GDP is produced by one-third of the population?

That seems reasonable, doesn't it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:51:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, then wouldn't that imply little difference between this outcome and the typical market economy?

By the way, I have nothing against cooperatives, so long as they're not forced on the inhabitants.  I would never join one, but that's just me.  At the end of the day, I'm going to make my choices about products the same way I always have.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 02:21:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A smaller Gini coefficient?

Maybe this is better than 20% of the people generating 80% of the wealth?

Maybe it's better if more people own individually smaller amounts of capital?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 03:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does this imply a smaller Gini coefficient in the region?  Perhaps it does, if we're measuring only the distribution among co-op members, but this suggests that, regionally, the change is only skin-deep.  It suggests, also, that non-members are much wealthier.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Non-members probably include wealthy capitalists and the working poor.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 07:05:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the middle class and soo on.  The article only states that the non-member one-third is nearly twice as wealthy as the co-op two-thirds.  It seems as though it hasn't change anything.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 07:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article only states that the non-member one-third is nearly twice as wealthy as the co-op two-thirds

How so? First of all you (questionably) accept GDP as a measure of "wealth", secondly you miss the point that a person may be member of a coop and be engaged in other economic activity elsewhere.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 04:30:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have nothing against cooperatives, so long as they're not forced on the inhabitants.  I would never join one, but that's just me.

Do you bank with a bank or a credit union?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the other 60-70% of GDP is produced by one-third of the population?

If I said 30%-40% of GDP was produced by a certain set of companies, and two-thirds of the population were shareholders in those companies, would that not seem to add up?

A cooperative member is not a shareholder in the sense investor-expecting-return, but many people may take out membership as consumers, or simply to support the coop. They are not necessarily actively engaged in production.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 04:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that coop shares do return dividends if by vote members decide to do so (La Nef I cited above certainly does).
by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 07:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Capitalism -- control by those supplying the capital in order to return wealth to shareholders -- is only one way to drive a market.

Granted, it is hard to imagine another possibility for how an economy could work in the abstract. It helps to have a real-life example.

And now I do.

...

The roots of Emilia Romagna's co-op movement are deep -- and varied.

It is hard to imagine another way to drive a market assuming you have no clue of economic history... During the early industrial revolution, there was Dickensian exploitation of labout, and there was Robert Owen and the English cooperative movement:
The mills [Owen operated] continued to have great commercial success, but some of Owen's [worker welfare] schemes involved considerable expense, which displeased his partners. Tired at last of the restrictions imposed on him by men who wished to conduct the business on the ordinary principles [of maximizing 'shareholder value'], Owen formed a new firm, who, content with 5% of return for their capital, were ready to give freer scope to his philanthropy (1813).
This was 200 years ago, folks. We are rediscovering the Mediterranean. I suppose a new Gilded Age has its advantages in raising the awareness of the people.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 03:44:48 AM EST
The definition of a co-op is one person = one vote, the (common) alternative is one euro = one vote.

Both co-op and regular firm have capital, they are both "capitalist".

Disclaimer: I own shares in a co-op :).

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:32:54 AM EST
It wasn't that uncommon in the 19th century, before universal suffrage, to have democracy but where the right to vote was determined by a threshold of wealth.

Another charactersitic of cooperatives is that they have few, if any, employees who don't have capital in the cooperative.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:49:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plutocracy and "suffrage censitaire" as taught in school :)
by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:33:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, is plutocracy the English translation of sufragio censitario? I suppose sufragio censitario is just one possible flavour of plutocracy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:53:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's my thinking too.
by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 07:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mandatory wikipedia link: Plutocracy
by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:33:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't that uncommon in the 19th century, before universal suffrage, to have democracy but where the right to vote was determined by a threshold of wealth.

Not only not uncommon but standard.  Pretty much all of the European countries went through that phase.

by MarekNYC on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 01:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In many places the number specifying the minimum "worth" stayed the same which led to more and more people being able to vote. (I think someone here on ET already said this about Sweden. Full credit to whoever that was.)


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 11:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that that was also the case in Britain in between the various Reform Acts. In Prussia you had a different system whereby the authorities would total up the total taxes paid on income and property in each district, then look at individuals, starting with the highest taxpayer and go down until you'd reached one third of all taxes paid - that group would get one third of the vote. Then they'd do the same for the next third of taxes. Everybody else, i.e. the vast majority of the population got the remaining third of the vote. IIRC in the Essen local elections that meant that the head of the Krupp family had one third of the vote all to himself. In addition to this you had the upper house - basically aristorcrats, and you had open voting, meaning that the local landowner could see how the peasants and other poor people voted and take appropriate action if they didn't vote for the reactionaries, though this only worked in those areas that were dominated by large estates.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 02:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know most of the people know my answer.

Potlach is another way to regualate a market.

Basic magical interchange is also a good way (see land and resources distribution about australian aborigen).

Coooperatives a third one... there are probably more.. but as words...when one language is lost we ALL forgot it.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 06:26:25 AM EST
You will find a lot of information on the Co-operative movement and its presence worldwide on these sites:
The International Co-operative Alliance

The European Confederation of Workers' Co-operatives, Social Co-operatives and Social and Participative Enterprises

International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Co-operatives

Here are the sites of some very successful co-operatives :

Mondragon (an industrial group with over 70 000 employees worldwide, 85% of them being members with a share of capital and the right to vote...)

Desjardins, a Canadian financial group

and for Laurent, SACMI, a italian industrial co-operative based in Imola, Emilia-Romagna.

And for academic research, here is the site of the

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

I am currently working with the The International Co-operative Alliance to organise a seminar on co-operatives and globalisation within the framework of the
Forum for a Responsible Globalisation

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 09:41:17 AM EST
Melanchthon, many thanks for the links. Please ping me if you succeed in organizing the cooperative seminar, I'll try to get there :).

Note that Crédit Agricole, the french bank, is based on a cooperative model with 5.5 millions person having each one vote, 16 millions retail clients, and more than 130 000 employees worldwide, see here.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, this event is already planned and will take place in Lyon on Wednesday, October 25. It will bring together about 20 CEO's of the world's biggest co-operatives (from Singapore, Colombia, China, United States, India...). It is an open event and we expect a lot of participants from the co-operative movement.

About the Crédit Agricole, as far as I know, in France, co-operative banks (including mutuelles) hold the majority of the market shares. But they have often forgotten their founding values : I'm a customer of Crédit Agricole and I don't see the difference with a classical shareholder'sowned bank. It is not the case of the Desjardins group in Canada.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 10:52:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, it's on my calendar.

Yes, I agree about loosing their founding values, but isn't that poised to happen when membership increase for any cooperative? How large is Desjardins?

BTW, I own shares of french financial cooperative La Nef where the founding values are very much alive. They have more than 13 000 shareholders. Jacky Blanc is a very energetic speaker BTW :).

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, La Nef is one of the partners of our Forum: they will coordinate a workshop on innovative finance.

Desjardins has a little more than 5 million members and around 40 000 employees.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh and La Nef is based at Villeurbanne near Lyon :).
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:04:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See above

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great !
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there any plans for making the presentations Web available?

I would love to attend but reality dictates otherwise.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Become an empire, then: dictate your own reality.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:27:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alas, I am not Emperor Norton.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:39:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The presentation will certainly be available on the Forum's web site, as well as on the ICA's one. I don't know if we will be able to webcast the debates (I would like to).

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:37:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I look forward to reading them.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 11:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a fantastic diary.  Although I had heard of cooperatives, I did not know much about them, and have been quickly scanning the various links people have provided in these comments.  Most of the sites are very pro-cooperatives, so it is hard to tell whether the reality is up to the hype.  But I certainly hope it is.  (If you know of any serious texts that challenge the viability of cooperative-based capitalism as well, please let us know about those as well.)

One question I have is, do you think that cooperative-based capitalism could have led to the development of advanced technology as we have today in the same time frame that "free-market" capitalism did?

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 05:38:00 AM EST
The Italien industrial coop cited create lots of patents (much more than the rest of Italy).

As for "advanced technology" most of it is produced by cooperating scientists on public funding anyway :).

I don't know of case studies between cooperative and non cooperative enterprises relative performance.

There are a lot of discussions in the media about "finding the right model", French model, EU model, USA model, but none of these discussion seem to even mention cooperatives to the public attention.

Italy mentions coop in its constitution IIRC, Naomi Klein movie The Take shows workers taking back factories as coop in Argentina, Venezuela government is currently pushing to organize a massive coop movement.

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 07:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they spoke about finding the right model for the situation of the country they might be talking some sense. Unfortunately they seem to think there is one right model for everyone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 07:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, the job of an economist is to show that the solution exists and is unique.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 07:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And may be expressed as a mathematical model? </snarque>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 26th, 2006 at 09:35:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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