On May 1st, which was also International Workers’ Day, the Co-operative Federation conducted a survey on how people perceive their jobs. As a participant, I had to ask myself: What does work represent for me? I didn’t have to think too long. I answered with “a driving force for personal and collective development.” Then, as I was clicking on SEND, I was feeling a little uneasy.
Cooperative economics has almost become a one-size fits all notion of economics. And yet, if cooperative economics is an economy of collaboration, the opposite is seldom true: A very small part of collaborative economics is indeed cooperative.
We are living in the information era. There is no longer any need to collect costly home encyclopaedias or even to go to the library to read them: There’s an answer to everything, and it’s really easy, just look it up on the internet. Access to knowledge is no longer a luxury reserved for the elite. Almost everyone can take advantage of it at very little cost. What a breakthrough for humanity!
Throughout the generations, social animals were able to develop a more refined brain that was better equipped to ensure the survival of their species. Therefore, there is a scientific basis to the cooperative advantage as viewed from an evolutionary perspective: By becoming more intelligent, the act of cooperation contributed to the continuity of our species. And yet…
One of the best lessons I ever learned since I started with cooperative education is about trust. Throughout the years, I’ve noticed how strong and intelligent groups can be. For example, as a facilitator in cooperative education I learned to curtail my discourse to allow more time for student participation. Obviously this requires some level of letting go, which can sometimes generate a little anxiety.
Agriculture undoubtedly thrives through continuity. It therefore needs institutions to support it in the long term.
We all know about traditional currencies, the type issued by the State that we use to pay our taxes. But there is also such a thing as cooperative currencies. In fact, to be more specific, I must add that some authors simply refer to the latter as “community currency.” However, one of the greatest international currency experts, Bernard Lietaer, prefers to use “cooperative currency,” since these monies invariably all depend on solidarity.
Some questions have plagued mankind since the beginning of time. Questions like what the good life is all about, for example. What does that mean? Is it perhaps a happy and accomplished life that allows a person to develop their talents, to feel useful and to know joy? We all dream of this good life. But what road leads us there? Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist from Harvard University, has studied the question extensively.
In Quebec, explained the Climat d’accaparement study, our production season will be prolonged due to global warming, which means more and more investors could turn to our farmland to take advantage of a competitive lead in relation to southern countries.