A co-op is "a jointly owned enterprise” engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services. A co-op may also have social goals, using a portion of the proceeds to make an impact on society. Decisions are made democratically by a vote, one per member. The start-up capital can be raised by small membership “buy in” rather than by going into debt or involving a venture capitalist. Productivity increases by 9 to 19% in cooperative businesses.
Professor J. Palmer (Jim) Brown
Worker Owned Co-op
Health Care Co-op,
Co-ops are everywhere.
How a co-op works.
In the typical capitalist model, the CEO is at the top and the consumers are the bottom, sending the majority of the money up the chain to him. Customers are a means to an end and profit is the bottom line. But in a co-op, the model is turned upside down with the consumers at the top, dividing the profits, with the general manager at the bottom of the chain, earning a reasonable salary. The capitalist model is required by law to maximize shareholder’s value. In contrast, the co-op exists to maximize the benefits and returns to the members.
A worker-owned co-op is owned and operated by its members for their mutual benefit. Members are given ownership in exchange for work instead of capital. A worker-owned co-op is a complicated system for sharing ownership and laws vary from state to state. There are very few attorneys that know about worker-owned co-ops. There is also a general lack of awareness of the benefits of a worker-owned co-op. This may be the reason that so few co-ops are worker-owned. Instead they are consumer or producer owned.
Worker Owned Co-ops interrupt the American cycle of poverty that is cause by a flawed system that is a self-reinforcing cycle.
- No money.
- No education.
- No jobs.
- No money.
The characteristic of a flawed system
is that it tolerates flaws in the system.
Cooperative businesses are typically more resilient than many other forms of enterprise, with 80% of co-operatives surviving their first five years compared with 41% of other business ownership models. More than one billion people in 96 countries have joined at least one cooperative, and many have joined more than one. If member of co-ops were a country, they would be the seventh largest country in the world. It is a good solution to break the cycle of poverty and allow for ownership and prosperity within the poorest communities. It is a higher note in the triad of the economic chord.