Category: Social Business

Economics for the 99%: Co-operatives in Victoria

Cardijn Community Australia invites people to a Saturday Morning at Trades Hall for a series of snapshots of the past, present and future of the co-operative movement in Victoria.  

When: 8.30 – 12.45, Saturday 11th August 2012
Where: Victorian Trades Hall Council, cnr Victoria & Lygon Streets, Carlton South
Cost: $10 (waged) or by donation.
Contacts: Antony McMullen: 0418 223 517; David Moloney: dmo74189@bigpond.net.au

Get your tickets here …

From rural communities in Australia to the ‘occupy’ movement co-operatives being formed in the US – something is happening. People are looking to a new way of doing business that is grounded in the democratic and participatory tradition of co-operative enterprise.

People at this gathering at Trades Hall will hear brief reflections and commentaries from pioneering co-operative activists and present scholars of the post Second World War co-operative movement.  Some cutting edge co-operative start-ups will also be showcased. This review of contemporary co-operatives will be followed by an opportunity to put participants’ ideas in a general discussion.

Exciting speakers include: the Hon Race Mathews, author of ‘Jobs of Our Own’, a major work on co-operative history and the mutual economic miracle in the Mondragon region of Spain; and international Cardijn researcher Stefan Gigacz who will speak on ‘Cardijn and the Christian Co-operative Tradition’.

Cameron Neil (ex-Fairtrade – now NetBalance) will be joining us to talk about: “Food and co-operation: local and global perspectives.”

Kristen Hobby (local community development advocate), who will facilitate a session on co-operative futures and building a network for local community and enterprise development.

Also, the event will feature Dave Kerin from the Earthworker Co-Operative (and Eureka’s Future), a new initiative endorsed by the ACTU to build co-operative enterprise.

This event has been endorsed by Creative Ministries Network (a UnitingCare agency).

(Note: Monash academic Shelley Marshall – an expert on homeworkers in the clothing industry – was scheduled to speak but will be communicating to the gathering via a short clip or message)

Get your tickets here …

Presenters’ talks will be videoed and uploaded onto YouTube.  Thanks to the Victorian Trades Hall Council for providing the venue and to the following organisations have endorsed this event:

Get your tickets here …

Wired to Co-operate?

Natalie Angier (natalieangier.com)

According to Natalie Angier:

What feels as good as chocolate on the tongue or money in the bank but won’t make you fat or risk a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission? Hard as it may be to believe in these days of infectious greed and sabres unsheathed, scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy.

For more on the Emory University study:

We’re Wired to Cooperate – New York Times

Eureka’s Future – Earthworker Co-operatives

Eureka’s Future, an earthworkercooperative, is an exciting endeavour set to establish itself in Victoria, Australia.

The Eureka Future Workers Cooperative, which intends to starts manufacturing solar hot water units this year, will be the first of a series of union-based worker-owned renewables manufacturing businesses to be rolled out across the nation.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has endorsed this work.

This work appears to mirror the worker-union co-operatives being established under a joint-venture of the US-based United Steelworkers (USW) union and the co-operative Mondragon Corporation (based in the Basque region of Spain).

In 2012, the USW, Mondragon, and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) announced its detailed union co-op model for developing sustainable jobs using the combination of worker ownership and the collective bargaining process. You can find out more here.

For more information about Earthworker check out the ACTU press release.

Cooperatives Europe

Creating a favourable climate for social enterprises, key stakeholders in the social economy and innovation …

Cooperatives Europe have provided a paper from the EU on building social business in that region of the world.

It provides a handy definition of ‘social enterprise’ (it conflates the term with ‘social business’) based on case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union to cover the following types of business:

  • those for which the social or societal objective of the common good is the reason for the commercial activity, often in the form of a high level of social innovation,
  • those where profits are mainly reinvested with a view to achieving this social objective,
  • and where the method of organisation or ownership system reflects their mission, using democratic or participatory principles or focusing on social justice.

You can find the full paper here.

Check out our favourite definition of social business here.

A ‘common good’ business?