Should we try to encourage more worker owned and managed Co-Operatives in Ireland ?

Luigi Vampa

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As we've seen from the property pyramid scheme, and the subsequent banking scandal, allowing a small number of golden circle private billionaires to control our economy and our politicians, has bankrupted the country, and saddled the Irish taxpayer with these billionaires private gambling debts for generations.

In my opinion, no private individuals should ever again be allowed to become so powerful that they can dominate and control our entire economy.


One alternative to their monopolies, is the increased use of co-operatives, owned, managed and run by the employees.

Worker cooperative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


We already have credit unions, a very successful cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members.

Do other successful models exist in Ireland ?

Should we attempt to support and encourage more to start up ?


Some very successful examples from abroad are :

France :
French workers' co-operatives today include some large organisations such as Chèque Déjeuner and Acome. Other cooperatives whose names are generally known include the magazines Alternatives Economiques and Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, the driving school ECF CERCA and the toy manufacturer "Moulin Roty".

Italy
The cooperative movement in Emilia-Romagna, Italy successfully melds two divergent philosophical currents: Socialism and Catholicism. With more than a century of cooperative history, the region includes more than 8,000 cooperatives.

Norway
The best known example of a Norwegian worker cooperative is the employee-owned IT company Kantega, which several times has been recognized as one of the 100 Best Workplaces in Europe.

Spain
One of the world's best known examples of worker cooperation is the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation in the Basque Country.
The Mondragon Corporation is probably the most sucessful workers co-operative in the world : At the end of 2009 it was providing employment for 85,066 people working in 256 companies in four areas of activity: Finance, Industry, Retail and Knowledge.
Mondragon Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UK
The largest examples of a British worker cooperatives include Suma Wholefoods, Bristol based Essential Trading Co-operative and the retail giant John Lewis Partnership

Argentina
In response to the economic crisis in Argentina, many Argentinian workers occupied the premises of bankrupt businesses and began to run them as worker-owned cooperatives. As of 2005, there were roughly 200 worker-owned businesses in Argentina, most of which were started in response to this crisis. The documentary film The Take is the best-known document in English about this phenomenon.

Surely now is the time to encourage more co-operatives in Ireland ?
 


Cael

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Certainly, this would be a welcome improvement on the neo-liberal status quo. This needs to be combined with massive state enterprise.
 

glunNAbuaidhe

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Interesting that you should say that... if you read Aodh de Blácam's What Sinn Féin Stands For (here), co-operative commonwealths were the economic model for the new Ireland in 1921, before the country got bogged down in fratricide and eventual assimilation into the world system.
 

Munion

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Increased competition and new business start-ups is just what this country needs. What form of governance they take i'm ambivalent about.

An excellent example of a coop comes from the US of all places.

King Arthur Flour

About the King Arthur Flour company
 

vanla sighs

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Very good idea. Would be great if it could be implemented.

One note of caution, I heard some (many?) Credit Unions could potentially be in financial difficulty. Seems some of them may have overstretched themselves?
 

Edo

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Nearly all our major agri-business giants started out as co-ops - Kerry Foods, Glanbia, Dairygold etc etc - many of the smaller agri-businesses still are.

Its not exactly inventing the wheel here - and there is no law prohibiting co-ops here - many of the newly sprung farmers markets are co-ops.

So on ya go - get together with some friends or like minded people and start up your own enterprise - nothing to stop yis.

Tho if you are proposing to use the state to impose co-operatives to the exclusion of other business models - well then I will be parting ways with you.
 

Squire Allworthy

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Yes should be encouraged, also need to look at better ways to finance small business start ups and expansion.
 

Luigi Vampa

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An excellent example of a coop comes from the US of all places.

King Arthur Flour

About the King Arthur Flour company
Good link and video

We had five employees in 1990. Today, King Arthur Flour has over 160. We are an employee-owned, open-book, team-managed company, with profit sharing and an employee stock ownership program. Our employees have a stake in what we do, and it shows in every bag of flour.
 


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