Historically, solidarity economy is a term used in the global South to describe anti-capitalist innovations emerging from a desire for self-determination. Typically, the concept includes models such as community land trusts, worker cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, food cooperatives, community gardens, housing cooperatives, credit unions, barter networks, time banks, and cooperative loan funds, among others.

There is a widespread belief that the driving force of innovation is competition between companies. The government is viewed as an obstacle holding back the full potential of entrepreneurs with outdated regulation. However, practically all tech start-ups that are poster-boys for innovation are built on two profound inventions, both of which are born out of publicly funded research: the digital computer and the internet. These inventions were not born from profit driven competition, but instead cooperation between scientists.

Enspiral is a rather unique organisation, often featured in this blog. Over the years the number of participants, its core structure and overall network have evolved in fascinating and informative ways. This evolution along with the many lessons learned is chronicled in their collective book “Better work together”.

Kirk Vartan, founder of 10 year pizza businesses, presnts on experience of converting to worker-cooperative in 2017. April 2018

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The US rural electric cooperative movement dates back to the economic development programs of the 1930’s New Deal, when 9 out of 10 rural households had no electricity. Now RECs are recasting themselves as solar power leaders of the Green New Deal, before there is even a Green New Deal.

Before Sophie Slater lived in a housing co-operative, her homes, across south London, were precarious. There was the illegal house share in New Cross where she slept under a dodgy boiler for six months. (Eventually the gas man snitched and they had to move out, which was probably for the best, on account of the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning.) There was the flat on the Old Kent Road where she paid £300 to sleep in the living room and her friend, who had the bedroom, paid £600. The worst thing about that flat was that Slater slept by the kitchen bin.

More than 26,000 Kentucky businesses, employing more than 300,000 people, are owned by baby boomers, many of whom have not identified the next generation of ownership and could be at risk of closing their businesses when they retire. Transitioning to a worker-owned cooperative or another form of employee ownership could keep these businesses thriving and locally owned.

Here is a link to the video recording of the chat where Nicolas Dimarco of presents the formula for federated work among cooperatives. Here is a link to the notes from the meeting on 3/20/2019 and some past Show and Tell meetings.

More information on Show and Tell.


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