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Blogs posted by Co-operatives UK staff, members or supporter organisations.


Social Economy: the curious incident of the UK going European?

I have had the luck over recent weeks to see something of the emergence of policy in a number of European countries in relation to the idea of the ‘social economy’.

Armistice Day and the business of peace

Today is Armistice Day and we have a hundred co-operative entrepreneurs together here in Manchester at our Practitioner Forum.

The co-operative movement is entangled with the great conflicts of the last century and the campaigns for peace, such as complementing the red poppy of remembrance with the white poppy of peace – pioneered by the Co-operative Women’s Guild.

QE is a quantum leap in inequality

It looked recently as if US and UK economic policy would kick the habit of recent years’ quantitative easing (QE) and rock bottom interest rates. We will now have to wait longer for that, as economic forecasts dim around the world. But spending time in London, you could be forgiven for wondering whether there were ever any economic worries – on one estimate, you need to earn over £100,000 to buy a first property, while the numbers working in the City, who might have a chance of doing that, are now higher than before the credit crunch.

How can government support people to pool their resources?

At their heart co-ops are about people pooling resources to meet their own needs.

In economic terms this drives collaborative entrepreneurialism, rewires markets, and recasts the relationships between producers and consumers and workers and enterprise. This pooling of resources often becomes a source of patient long term investment in human capital; boosting productivity and innovation whilst underwriting a triple bottom line of people planet and profit.     

Guest Blog - Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission Chairman Andrew Davies


Andrew Davies is Chair of the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission. Tasked with investigating how the Welsh co-operative economy could be developed, the commission's report was published in March. In this blog, Mr Davies takes us through the report's recommendations and impact, and future challenges faced by the Welsh co-operative sector.  


What do we want? A social economy.

The UK has a remarkable track record of social innovation and action in the economy, but one that rarely touches on mainstream economic policy. As a result, co-operatives and social enterprises, social investment and fair trade are all treated as solutions for when things go wrong, rather than the way to get them right.

Autumn of the mind

I’m not sure I have ever seen a maple tree in full orange and gold Autumn glow before I came here to Quebec. This week, I will be participating in the global Co-operative Business Summit hosted by Desjardins.

Today, though, I travelled to Toronto to see my uncle George in hospital. His is a brilliant, gentle brain – one of the foremost actuaries in Canada – now diswired, with dementia.

The other democratic event today

If anyone doubted that politics was always bigger than the political class that has come into disrepute, today is the day. It is the Scottish Referendum, but hundreds of miles further south, I am participating in an other democratic experiment… called NHS Citizen.

Preventing want: supporting mutuality as part of a progressive fiscal discipline

There are millions of people in our society in need of help, and we have a duty to provide it. But we must never forget that self-help is essential in the effective long term prevention of want. Self-help is proactive preventative and ultimately liberating. But let’s also be clear: it works best when people help one another as well as themselves. This is where co-ops mutuals and the social economy come in.  

Save the Guardian? The infectious ideas of Stephen Lloyd…

Some people are impossible not to love – and the late Stephen Lloyd, lawyer and social entrepreneur, was one.

Some organisations you love or hate. And then it is possible to have some, more rare, that are organisations that you can love and hate at the same time – of which the Guardian newspaper is perhaps one.

So what happened, a few years ago, when Stephen Lloyd and a few of us had a go at trying to save the Guardian?


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