The History, Reality, and Future of Cooperatives
John Restakis is the author of Humanizing the Economy – Co-operatives in the Age of Capital. Active in the co-op movement for 15 years, currently he is the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association and has been a consultant for co-op development projects in Africa and Asia
He identifies the co-operative movement with over 800 million members in 85 countries as the most powerful grassroots movement in the world. The book is a fascinating look at the history, evolutionary development, and current challenges facing the growing movement in an era of financial crisis. He describes in detail Robert Owen’s attempts in New Lanark, Scotland to create a co-operative model which would use the market to meet the needs of all members of society in the 1800′s followed by the humble beginnings of the Rochdale co-op in 1844 which succeeded where other attempts had failed. The amazing stories of successful co-operatives in Italy, Japan, Calcutta, Argentina offer tremendous insights into the transformative dimensions of collective efforts for the common good.
A great resource for those interested in starting or joining a co-operative in the United States is the National Co-operative Business Association.