What makes co-ops different than conventional business models? Co-operatives offer a powerful economic model that put people before profit, meet their community’s’ needs, and reconnect social goals with economic practice. These presentations explore the co-op business model and how its structure of member-ownership is helping shift our economy from one based on short-term profits to one based on serving human needs.
- Introduction to the Co-operative Movement, Course at UMASS Amherst, Spring Semester 2015
- The Co-operative Difference in Challenging Times: Why Co-operatives Matter, NFCA Fall Member Gathering, October 2014
- What is a Co-op? Our Co-op & the Wider Co-operative Movement, Monadnock Food Co-op, April 2014.
- Humanizing the Economy with John Restakis, Slow Living Summit, Brattleboro, VT, May 2012.
- Multistakeholder Co-operation, Vermont Cooperative Summit, Burlington, VT, October 2011.
How is the co-operative model resilient in times of change, conflict and transition? This presentation gives an overview of how the co-operative difference can deliver success and make the world a better place. Over the past forty years, J. Tom Webb has been a co-operative board member, senior manager, consultant and educator. He is a co-founder of the Co-operative Management Education program at Saint Mary’s University (mmccu.coop), the co-editor of a book on co-operative economics and author of numerous papers and articles on co-operative business.
John Restakis, executive director of the British Columbia Co-operative Association and author of “Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital,” asserts that it is the disconnection between conventional economics and social ends that lies at the heart of our economic crisis, and that co-operatives offer a powerful economic model to reconnect and relate social goals with economic practice.
There is an inevitable tension in co-operatives between the interests of stakeholders: consumers, workers and producers. A multi-stakeholder structure can address this tension by giving all member types a place at the boardroom table and a share of patronage, leading to a more satisfactory discussion and resolution of issues.