Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital

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How the largest social movement in history is making the world a better place. At the close of the twentieth century, corporate capitalism extended its reach over the globe. While its defenders argue that globalization is the only way forward for modern, democratic societies, the spread of this system is failing to meet even the most basic needs of billions of individuals around the world. Moreover, the entrenchment of this free market system is undermining the foundations of healthy societies, caring communities, and personal wellbeing. Humanizing the Economy shows how co-operative models for economic and social development can create a more equitable, just, and humane future. With over 800 million members in 85 countries and a long history linking economic to social values, the co-operative movement is the most powerful grassroots movement in the world. Its future as an alternative to corporate capitalism is explored through a wide range of real-world examples including: Emilia Romagna’s co-operative economy of in Northern Italy Argentina’s recovered factory movement Japan’s consumer and health co-operatives Highlighting the hopes and struggles of everyday people seeking to make their world a better place, Humanizing the Economy is essential reading for anyone who cares about the reform of economics, globalization, and social justice. John Restakis has been active in the co-op movement for 15 years. He is the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association and has been a consultant for co-op development projects in Africa and Asia. A pioneering researcher on co-operative economies, he writes and lectures on economic democracy and the role of co-operatives in humanizing economies.

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“The global co-operative movement could provide a genuine alternative to the ravages of predatory finance capitalism ― if only it started acting like a movement! This book makes the case, connecting the dots among far-flung sites of co-operation and resistance, tracing the outlines of a humane alternative to the deadly business of business as usual.
― Avi Lewis, filmmaker, The Take

“The historical and contemporary yearning and struggle to incarnate economic democracy is theoretically and practically depicted in this lucid work. The author engages the reader in concrete experiences from across the globe, and one cannot help but come away more informed and inspired by the diverse challenges that people have overcome by organizing their economic affairs through co-operatives. Researchers, activists, practitioners, policy makers and students across a wide range of disciplines, especially economics and business, need the tonic and the analysis present in this welcome volume. Democracy is being advanced in exciting ways and we need to get on with the job of scaling up its role where we live and work across the globe.”
― Michael Lewis, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Community Renewal Lead Investigator, British Columbia-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance

“The culmination of fifteen years of research, both at the theoretical and the empirical level, this book brilliantly speaks in favour of co-operatives, today a much-neglected economic institution. Moving from the consideration that market institutions induce desirable and undesirable social traits in people, the author defends the thesis that society can no longer exonerate itself from the duty of considering the effects of different economic systems on human character. Whence the title of the book. Humanizing the Economy discusses in a critical way both the possibilities and the challenges that the movement for economic democracy is facing in the age of globalization and the third industrial revolution. Restakis’s well written, jargon-free book should be read by anyone seriously interested in the future of our market systems.”
― Stefano Zamagni, Prof. of Economics, University of Bologna and Johns Hopkins University, Bologna Center for Civil Economy

“In the hyper-charged conflict between the global economy and global justice, John Restakis makes the case that ordinary people can take direct economic action to meet their own needs. He mixes history, ideas, and present-day struggles in an account that is personal, passionate, and informed.”
― Brett Fairbairn, Provost, Professor of History, University of Saskatchewan

Book Description

How the largest social movement in history is making the world a better place.

About the Author

John Restakis has been active in the co-op movement for 15 years. He is the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association and has been a consultant for co-op development projects in Africa and Asia. A pioneering researcher into international co-operative economies, he writes and lectures on economic democracy and the role of co-operatives in humanizing economies.

How the largest social movement in history is making the world a better place. At the close of the twentieth century, corporate capitalism extended its reach over the globe. While its defenders argue that globalization is the only way forward for modern, democratic societies, the spread of this system is failing to meet even the most basic needs of billions of individuals around the world. Moreover, the entrenchment of this free market system is undermining the foundations of healthy societies, caring communities, and personal wellbeing. Humanizing the Economy shows how co-operative models for economic and social development can create a more equitable, just, and humane future. With over 800 million members in 85 countries and a long history linking economic to social values, the co-operative movement is the most powerful grassroots movement in the world. Its future as an alternative to corporate capitalism is explored through a wide range of real-world examples including: Emilia Romagna’s co-operative economy of in Northern Italy Argentina’s recovered factory movement Japan’s consumer and health co-operatives Highlighting the hopes and struggles of everyday people seeking to make their world a better place, Humanizing the Economy is essential reading for anyone who cares about the reform of economics, globalization, and social justice. John Restakis has been active in the co-op movement for 15 years. He is the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association and has been a consultant for co-op development projects in Africa and Asia. A pioneering researcher on co-operative economies, he writes and lectures on economic democracy and the role of co-operatives in humanizing economies.

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