This past year I’ve witnessed first-hand how that resilient race of people, the Japanese, have hung together to rebuild their country. In Poland its people can relax in the knowledge that their housing co-operatives and the co-operative sector generally is no longer at risk of dissolution. I spent some time in Namibia with government ministers from the vast and varied African continent and witnessed co-operative friendly policies being strongly supported.
Now I’m back in the United States and am greeted by a brewing financial revolution. A CBS/New York Times news poll shows that close to half of my fellow Americans support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Another 30 per cent are undecided.
As a supporter of Occupy Wall Street you are railing against those traditional and sometimes flawed business models and practices, which are the root cause of these precarious economic times.
Another data crunching exercise by a City University of New York sociologist indicates that more than two-thirds of protestors are not politically aligned. Many of these protestors turn up from day to day in business suits, the traditional dress of Wall Street. Many protestors have a fine appreciation, a close up view, of what they don’t like: Wall Street business practices and what is seen as morally-bankrupt behavior. But what do they believe in?
I’d be happy to demonstrate to them a solution. A viable alternative to the traditional banking system is well-established. They’re called credit unions and co-operative banks.
This growing anti-capitalist revolution, the strength of which is galvanizing politicians and mainstream media, only reinforce my optimism that the co-operative will become the fastest-growing enterprise model by the end of this decade.
I’m not alone in this belief. Monique Leroux, the visionary leader of the Desjardins banking group, has similar views. And 70 per cent of the inhabitants of Quebec have voted with their feet by banking with Desjardins.
My arrival back home to these scenes of social unrest, to this economic revolution, has shifted my hope that co-operatives will become the fastest growing business model over the next ten years to a firmly-held belief.