There are three times as many people in the world who are members of a cooperative than there are people who own shares. This is the finding of a report published recently by Co-ops UK Secretary-General Ed Mayo. In an article1 posted on the Co-operative News portal, Mr. Mayo says that the disproportionate attention given by the media, government and bureaucrats to publicly-traded companies is one of the issues that needs to be corrected during the UN’s International Year of Cooperatives. His conclusions are drawn from data comparing the number of shareholders of publicly traded companies to the number of people who hold shares in a cooperative. This data comes from 70 companies in the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as from the International Co-operative Alliance’s (ICA) Global 300 list. Some compelling figures Mr. Mayo’s report highlights the fact that in the rapidly growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), there are 4 times as many cooperative members as shareholders of publicly traded companies. In Europe, three countries have particularly high rates of cooperative membership: Ireland (70%), Finland (60%) and Austria (59%). In North and South America, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people are members of a cooperative. 1. From “Cooperators outweigh shareholders by 3:1,” Co-operative news, February 1, 2012. Click here to read.