There is a position in contemporary economic thought which posits a post-growth or degrowth era. It argues that the historic emphasis on growth is unsustainable. This argument fails to adequately consider co-operatives. The International Co-operative Alliance would like to explore the potential to instead redefine growth to imply a broader definition of sustainability. Such a reimaging would, we believe, demonstrate that the co-operative is an efficient model. When growth is defined simply in economic terms, policymakers sometimes see the co-operative model as inefficient.
To advance new thinking on this vital topic, one of the foundational initiatives for the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade this year will be to draft a thought leadership paper to redefine a co-operative perspective on growth and efficiency, in keeping with co-operative values and principles. This paper is intended to set forth a co-operative point of view on how growth should be envisioned in future co-operative thinking. Our intent is to use it to influence the global conversation on growth and as a policy foundation for the future work of the International Co-operative Alliance.
One of the sectoral organisations of the Alliance, CICOPA (The International Organisation of Industrial, Artisinal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives), has agreed to organize this paper and direct its preparation. They’ve done a remarkable job of pulling together leading co-operative thinkers from across the globe:
• Anup Dash (India), Professor of Sociology at Utkal University, Odisha, India
• Neva Goodwin (USA), Co-Director of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University
• Arnold Kuijpers (The Netherlands), Rabobank’s Director of corporate affairs
• Marie Bouchard (Canada), editor of the recent book The Worth of the Social Economy
• Patrizio Bianchi (Italy), Councillor for Education and Research of the Regional Government of Emilia-Romagna, Italy
• Zhang Xiaoshan (China), Director of the Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
• Pierre Kanuty (France), representative of the Ile de France Region to the EU
• Pierre Laliberté (Canada), Editor of the International Journal of Labour Research at the ILO
• Claudia Sanchez Bajo (Argentina), incoming Chair in Cooperative Studies, University of Winnipeg, Canada
The drafting is underway and we will be presenting the final report to the attendees at the International Co-operative Alliance conference in Cape Town, South Africa this November.
This is just one in a series of key initiatives we’ve commissioned to launch the Blueprint this year. I’ll be reporting on others in upcoming blogs.