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In a cooperative, all of us are responsible for everything.
J. M. Arizmendiarieta. Reflections. p.63

Co-operative Lifestyle Invitation to come back to Rochdale

 

Co-operatives are organizations that, by definition, adhere to a certain set of values and principles. The values were first formulated in Rochdale, where the first co-operative was founded. These values and principles, as any values and principles, should permeate the lifestyles of all those who identify with them. Individuals' exposure to these values and principles will vary between worker co-ops and other types of co-ops. While members of a co-operative bank or consumer coop may only visit once a week, in a worker co-op, people are exposed to the co-operative values for 8 hours a day. Geof Cox noted on LinkedIn that as such, worker co-ops may be considered a "lifestyle business". 

Unlike values, lifestyle can easily be measured. Marketing specialists in the USA or Canada may quite reliably identify your lifestyle if you give them your postal code; doctors can conjecture it from seeing you for just a few seconds. Sociologists may deduce how you live from your taste - i.e. aesthetic choices. We simultaneously expose our lifestyle and are exposed, continuously, to the lifestyle of others. Some lifestyles spread like viruses creating a pandemic of consumerism. However, these product-based lifestyles are in complete opposition to the person-oriented lifestyle of: “self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.” Indeed, to follow the co-operative lifestyle seems more difficult now than it was in Rochdale times. 

One of the first and more important reasons is related to our mobility and flexibility. In 1980, futurist Alvin Toffler predicted that as our society's work patterns become increasingly individualized, it would lead to greater social isolation due to a reduction in common "off-work" time (e.g. Sunday church services, evenings at the pub, community gatherings). 

Toffler observes that we structure relationships differently now; rather than spending a lifetime getting to know our neighbours in a small village, we might meet and make new friends every week; and yet, we also drift apart more quickly - as we move on to a new sports team, a new job, a new city of residence. This shortening of the duration of our relationships has impacted many aspects of our everyday life - including our relationship to co-operatives. Now, people follow work, and not the other way round. The Rochdale pioneers did not dream about the challenges a community-based business has to face today. 

In slide 7 I show the complexity of a modern lifestyle. I would like to investigate to what degree an individual's lifestyle impacts the functioning of a worker co-op. I am conducting a participatory research project of co-operative lifestyles today. I would like to invite co-operatives and their members not just to fill in questionnaires, but work together on developing them, in a true participatory approach.

Healthcare - Common meritocracy

 

There is no country in the world satisfied with its healthcare system. This is why we should look for good systems as the stakes are very high - human life and health. Common Meritocracy, or decision making for everyone is a radical but possible solution. Unlike in democratic decision making, where all, even ignorants, have a say. In common meritocracy voice is given only to those who have some expertise in the decision domain. Such a system is possible thanks to technologies which allow to build a system of control of everyone's expertise and the voting process.

 

CoopIndex. Part 1. Fundamentals.

CoopIndex presentationThe CoopIndex is a tool developed within the worker co-operative sector - which may be used to diagnose 30 key areas of co-operative performance linked to co-operative values and principles. 
CoopIndex is a research methodology created in a collaborative process by co-operative members, co-operative consultants, and researchers of co-oprative movement. The purpose of the tool is to assess the health of the co-operative based on perceptions of its members and employees about the extent to which the valyes and principles of co-operation are operational.