American consumers benefit to the tune of $8.5 billion due to credit unions’ presence in the marketplace.

And the nation’s 98 million credit union members received $6.1 billion in benefits during the year ended Sept. 30, 2013, in the form of lower loan rates, higher dividends, and fewer and lower fees.

[I]f we accept that difference in human communities is good and normal and expected, then we have got to learn how to be at ease with the range of human experience, bodies, cultures, subcultures, and values. If we want to be at ease with the complex reality of human difference, then we have got to learn how to be good to each other when we bump up against it – which we will, regularly, unless we want a conformist monoculture in which everyone behaves, thinks, and feels the same way.

The emerging constellation of alternative economic activities celebrated on goes by many names—shared, gift, solidarity, social, cooperative, rooted, generative, and new economy are just a few—but they share many core values and aspirations in common.

At six-foot-six he was a towering breath of fresh air for the thousands of Co-operative Group employees who pined for change.

And, for a while, co-op democrats inside and outside the Group were in awe of a fresh change in management from Euan Sutherland; a renewed business focus.

But as will undoubtedly become clear in the Kelly Report next month, there is and always has been a deep divide between the elected board members at the Group and the management they appoint – a phenomenon not just exclusive to this co-operative.

Southern pews and pulpits weren’t the only source of people power during the long civil rights movement. So, too, were cooperative economic enterprises. These worker or consumer-owned alternatives to U.S. capitalism helped train and produce civil rights leaders from A. Philip Randolph to Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer to sitting congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.).

Many design agencies and arts organisations use a constant churn of skilled and productive long-term interns, sometimes comprising a third or more of the workforce, with only the more senior employees earning what would have been considered a decent income twenty years ago.

More and more, people are beginning to recognize the immense value of our commons and search for ways to protect them. Here we’ve compiled a short list of time-proven tools and commons-based models we can use to either protect our shared resources for the benefit of all or make the places we live and work more equitable and participatory. You’ll find descriptions of each tool and links to articles for further reading.

— Jessica Conrad

Worker cooperatives in Spain have grown by 32% in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, according to data recently released by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. Again, this demonstrates how this business model grows and its resilience in spite of the economic situation.

Read the full article here.

Back in 2010, I co-wrote a paper called ‘The co-operative path to food security‘. In it, I pointed to the increasing volatility of global food prices as speculators moved their gambling activities from financial products to commodities markets. Charities working with the poor of the global South are increasingly focusing on the link between poverty and control over food supplies, which includes ownership of land.


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