Nicaragua: Making Cooperatives Central to Democratization

A phenomenon deserving more attention by those interested in the debates on Socialism in the 21st Century is the development of the cooperative and associative sector in Nicaragua. Over 50 percent of the Central American country's gross domestic product is produced either by small family-owned associative enterprises with less than 10 workers or by more advanced cooperatives some of which have several thousand members. This non-capitalist sector of the economy currently employs about 70 percent of the workforce in a country where neoliberal policies have deliberately attacked secure formal employment, as they have done around the world. The lives of about 2 million people, one in three Nicaraguans, are directly influenced by cooperatives, either because they themselves or else one of their close relatives, belong to a co-op.

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