Lessons from Finland: building a co-operative economy

In a sparsely populated country with a short summer and long, hard winter, the idea of people working together for a common interest comes naturally. As a result there are more member-owners of co-operative enterprises in Finland than there are people. The average adult is a member of two co-operatives; those in a rural setting, such as farmers, are likely to be a member of four.

From Finland’s high-tech businesses through to an extensive network of regional co-ops that ensure that there are banks, stores and other services within two miles of residents throughout the year, there are co-owned services in every sector stretching right across a country 40% larger than the UK.

We have much to learn from countries like Finland and, across Europe, there has been a welcome strengthening of trade relations and contact between the 160,000 co-op enterprises which provide jobs for 5.4 million European citizens.

Read the full article at The Guardian

 

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