The somewhat Darwinian competition mentality among the tech giants is backfiring. Facebook reacted to it's scandals by publishing articles critical of other tech companies. This will backfire as people will turn against all tech giants, laying the ground for alternatives like the #platformcoop movement.
The principle 6 of cooperatives, cooperation between cooperatives, is an alternative to the Darwinian death match. #platformcoops must think "how to collaborate with [x]", not "how to win [x]".
@LeoSammallahti totally agree. Where it gets complicated though is that in the development of cyberspace we've applied "how to collaborate with [x]" to *everyone*, including corporations. This has worked for us in some ways, and allowed our efforts to be recuperated in other ways. I still think it's possible to work constructively with the humans enmeshed in corporate structures while trying to win against those structures, but it's tricky. Constant evaluation and correction is required.
Unfortunately there are not a lot of stellar examples of coops doing Principle 6 well. Platform coops would have to mine good examples as they try to set them.
Two ideas for #platformcoops and big & established coops to cooperate:
- Invest money from .coop domain registering (currently costs typically 110$/y) in digital global coop commons, such as #Loomio development.
- Start a global network of people campaigning in coop elections*. Revitalize the old democratic institutions to push coops like the First Tech #CreditUnion (450 000 members) to support projects like start.coop accelerator for platformcoops.
If cooperatives considered Principle 6 to be aimed at developing a whole cooperative economy, it might change things.
Circulating resources within the same economic network makes the network stronger (multiplier effect). Might help with some of the weaknesses of cooperatives trying to compete in a capitalist economy.
This is true but I've personally experienced rich food coops absolutely FAILING at practicing 6 with fledgling food coops. Same with rich housing coops and baby ones. Pure selfishness. Once the capitalism gets in it's near impossible to get back out and many times it is there from the start.
The problem is that the principles are just suggestions not enforced rules and it takes a very special group to show allegiance to the unenforceable. I've seen it but it's rare.
This is one place where the Italian co-ops shine because they decided to make "paying it forward" a legal requirement via the rule that co-ops have to pay a 3% slice of their surplus into a co-op development fund. That would be game changing in the US: #WorkerCoop conversions would be happening at a radically different scale if CFNE had, say, $300MM or $3B in assets rather than the $30MM it took 40+ years to build up...
Making cooperation easy for big coops is not easy, but it's important.
#CoopExchange seeks to be the worlds first coop owned stock exchange solely for coops. Anyone can invest in a coop anywhere in the world for as little as 0,01$. Investors have no voting rights, only share of the profits. Top experienced UK coop people will be leading it when it's launched.
It can offer a straight-forward, mutually beneficial way to connect coops with money to coops with ideas.
@kavbojka @Steve @LeoSammallahti I'm not well-versed in the dynamics of co-operatives in the US but wouldn't this partly be because of profit-driven market forces necessitating competition for survival? Co-operatives still have to do business, and it's extremely difficult to get a foothold in areas and industries with established monopolies where private corps can afford to run at a loss and are able to squeeze profit out of wages etc to get end prices low
This is not the case at Park Slope Food Coop here in Brooklyn, NYC. They are the dominant supermarket in their neighborhood and the dominant food coop in the city. Nonetheless, they define doing Principle 6 with fledgling coops as "You can come by the store and chat with us."
social.coop is a a coop-run corner of the fediverse, a cooperative and transparent approach to operating a social platform. We are currently closed to new memberships while we improve our internal processes and policies, and plan to re-open to new folks when that work is complete. [9/2/2018]