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Co-operatives and Public Policy Greetings from the Master of Management – Co-operatives and Credit Unions Program Tom Webb.

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Presentation on theme: "Co-operatives and Public Policy Greetings from the Master of Management – Co-operatives and Credit Unions Program Tom Webb."— Presentation transcript:

1 Co-operatives and Public Policy Greetings from the Master of Management – Co-operatives and Credit Unions Program Tom Webb

2 Co-operatives and Public Policy Setting the Context Co-operative Economics Democratic Government

3 Co-operatives and Public Policy Democratic Essentials Collective Agenda and Decisions Equality of Persons not $$$ 1 Person – 1 Vote Equity or fairness Education Information No Outside Control Participation Open to All Liberty Community Balance Rights: Assembly Speech Robert Dahl

4 Co-operatives and Public Policy Economy: Complex set of relationships through which people provide themselves with the goods and services they need. Investor Owned Not for profit & Family Business Co-operative & Mutual Business Government Departments & Agencies

5 Co-operatives and Public Policy Scope for discussion 1900 1945 1989 2009 Scope for Discussion ? Communist Revolution Cold War

6 Co-operatives and Public Policy Current Economy Dominated by Investor-owned Firms with Single bottom line Operating in Unfettered Markets One dollar one vote Self-interest (greed) Wealth = Good Enormous Wealth Creation Property Liberty

7 The long view… Energy Crisis Environment Crisis Rate of Change Technology Crisis Urban Rural Crisis Financial Melt Down Food Crisis Income Distribution Inter Related Problems of a Market Driven Investor-owned Economy Co-operatives and Public Policy Not a problem? Make a note

8 Values Purpose Principles Justice Being Clear About the Co-op Difference The four pillars of co-operation Co-operatives and Public Policy

9 2009 Realities Investor-owned, unregulated market system and democracy have few common values and significant values friction Co-operatives and democracy have no values friction Characteristics of current dominant causing or exacerbating major economic and social issues Trillions spent bailing dominant economic system out.

10 Smith’s Market Small equal producers with none big enough to influence prices Global Market: Oligopolies supported by states Co-operatives and Public Policy

11 Problems with unfettered markets Only respond to money Often unstable & inefficient Basic needs often unmet Vulnerable to speculation

12 Co-operatives and Public Policy Problems with growth Firms too big let to fail Finite world Failing to produce happiness Political & Economic fixation Unhooked from need Narrow accounting

13 On being seduced… ……….and the need for common sense “If only mom had invested our family allowances in mutual funds that got 40% a year, we could have retired by age 16” But some people live on $2 a day? Us Co-operatives and Public Policy

14 About common sense… ………….. And economic relationships “I want to build our relationship on self interest and greed. OK?” “No, lets build our economy on it.” Us Co-operatives and Public Policy

15 Why Co-ops are Good Public Policy Less tension on democracy People centred = less exploitation They work – Europe/Co-op 300/Billion-3 billion Improved economic stability Less regulatory need Higher productivity Meet crisis points

16 Co-operatives and Public Policy Why Co-ops are Good Public Policy Respond to Emerging Crisis – Need over Greed Not casino capital nor foreclosure happy Food – need focus Energy – local and regional economies Community green focus Rural builders Income distributors

17 Co-operatives and Public Policy Value Co-op alternative Increase co-op presence as a policy goal development conversion Equitable not equal – housing/labour law/taxation Encourage co-operative capital development Challenge co-ops to meet social and economic needs Co-op driven regulation based on co-operative problems Guiding Principles of Good Co-operative Public Policy

18 Co-operatives and Public Policy Competition Act protection of co-ops (and others) Protect co-operative capital Capital development incentives Protect autonomy Balanced education system Remove barriers – banking, insurance Guiding Principles of Good Co-operative Public Policy

19 Co-operatives and Public Policy If Co-operators believe in themselves and the value of their alternative to the world They will demand public policy That makes the co-operative alternative A possibility for themselves and our Children and grandchildren

20 Co-operatives and Public Policy Thank you For Your Kind Attention

21 Co-operatives and Public Policy


23 Capitalism Works – For 20% 1996 Co-operatives and Public Policy

24 Financial Post Forget oil, the new global crisis is food BMO strategist Donald Coxe warns credit crunch and soaring oil prices will pale in comparison to looming catastrophe. Alia McMullen, Monday, January 07, 2008 Co-operatives and Public Policy



27 Some Reading: Mill, John Stuart (1852) Principles of Political Economy, 3 rd Edition (p. 772). Dahl, Robert, (1985) A Preface to Economic Democracy Porritt, Jonathan, (2009) Living within our means: Avoiding the ultimate recession, Forum for the Future, Overseas House London Homer-Dixon, Thomas (2007) The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization, Random House, Toronto, Canada Soros, George (1997) The Capitalist Threat, Atlantic Monthly 279, No. 2 (February 1997) 45-58 Rubin, Jeff (2009) Why Your World is About to get a Whole Lot Smaller, Random Random House, Totonto, Canada Mitchell, Alanna (2009) Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, McClelland and Strewart, Toronto

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