Liberation is Possible: Co-ops offer us the Solution
If we can re-structure capital to be in a non-extractive position, we can re-make business as an engine for human and ecosystem flourishing.
As our culture evolves to more deeply appreciate the endemic nature of system oppression and ecological devastation, leaders will increasingly be looking for structural solutions.
Capital supremacy is an easy way to name our current problem.
Capital’s interest are supreme above all other stakeholders in most all of our publicly traded firm structures. As a result, nearly all public equities investments are so focused capital’s interests that we have consistent and growing concentration and centralization of wealth. In the market, we see these as the consistent tendency for firm consolidation and the dominant position of a relatively few players in any given market.
Cooperatives offer an alternative.
In cooperative businesses (“Co-ops”), the owners are usually the producers, the users, the residents or some other stakeholder group. The investors (representing capital’s interests) are almost always in a subordinate position to the primary stakeholder group. In other words capital’s interests are always in a more mutual relationship to other stakeholders.
The Big Idea: Investing in co-ops and employee-owned businesses becomes a “gold standard” in Impact Investing.
The vision is that investors of all sizes (from $10k to $10M to $10B) can find an easy place to write their check and have their capital be deployed into a non-extractive relationship with cooperatives, employee owned firms, or perpetual purpose trusts.
I flesh out this vision a bit more in this post here:
Here’s my current view / summary of the co-op landscape: