Thursday, April 2, 2009

Co-op Coping

"Some worry that Mondragon-style success kills the idealism on which most coops are based.Those within the Mondragon group are aware of the danger."

The Economist, "All in the together: How is the co-operative model coping with the recession?" March 28, 2009.

In Nonprofit Leadership I recognize Mondragon's reputation as the rock star role model for community economic development. It's the seventh largest industrial group in Spain, not just a stand-alone worker co-op. And it's survived hard times.

Mondragon co-ops have coped with today's recession by worker-owners agreeing to reduce wages, hours, dividends. They have also survived by doing what seem to be un-co-op like things, like laying off non-coop members first. This may not seem like a big deal but there are 2 non co-op member workers for every 1 co-op member.

"The most successful co-ops...are those least shackled by ideology."

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