At our recent Think Outside The Boss Workshop in Berkeley, we asked participants to tell us what co-ops meant to them. Check out the slideshow above to see the diversity of faces and answers we received.
Cooperatives aren't some utopian, hair-brained, hippie scheme. They support an incredibly diverse range of people from all over our communities, from families (did you see the baby above?) to young entrepreneurs to faith-based communities to immigrants.
Cooperatives - whether consumer, producer, worker, or housing - are turning into the viable, mainstream answer to today's global financial crisis. Wealth is created everyday in our community, but somehow the wealth we generate flows up, up, and away. Cooperatives keep that wealth in our communities helping to build resilient, local economies.
Worker cooperatives pay themselves a wage just like any other business. When the business makes a profit, that money is given back to the worker-owners of the business, instead of going to some unknown stockholder with Swiss bank accounts. Consumer cooperatives give their members discounts, at-cost rates, or a percentage of the co-ops' profits. This is usually based on the amount the members patronized the co-op, like REI.
You might not know it, but if you're a member of a Credit Union, you're a member of a cooperative! Credit Unions are member-owned financial co-ops! You can vote for your Credit Union's Board of Directors and tell them how you want the Credit Union to treat the community it serves.
The people featured above have decided they want to bring their wealth back to their communities. Will you do the same? Find out more at co-oplaw.org!