Open co-ops

Michael Bauwens, founder of the P2P Network and an activist and thinker on the digital commons has developed the concept of ‘open co-ops’ to refer to a new kind of co-operative which operates in a non-capitalist way.

It’s an excellent concept and one that needs to be taken up and developed and implemented by the co-op movement.

His explanation – and arguments about why and how it can develop – is in the film, and here in a nutshell are the four principles of of open co-ops.

  • Common good written into the co-op’s constitution
  •  Multi-stakeholder – all interested parties have a say in the governance
  • Produce commons – things that are owned by all, not just by the co-op
  •  Global, not just within local or national lines

You can read his explanation here too, and some examples of open co-ops in practice from Josef Davies Coates here.

It also seems to built, intentionally or not, on the idea of Parecon developed by Michael Albert, which suggests that workers and consumers together need to decide what is needed in order to provide for the common good through a co-operative alternative to the market.