It’s a business model in British Columbia that controls more than $10 billion in assets, employs 13,000 people and returns all profits to members. The model governs enterprises in banking, housing, retail and health care. Fully one-third of British Columbians are members in at least one of the 700 operations operating in this model: the co-operative.
For John Restakis, executive director of the B.C. Co-operative Association, co-ops are a mechanism for democratizing the economy, something the folks participating in Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Vancouver could turn to as a solution to their grievances.
“The whole point of Occupy Wall Street is reacting against corporate structure and the fact that people have no control over the economy is what’s at the heart of it,” Restakis said. “Co-ops are a concrete way to address that.”