Cooperation, Community, and Co-Ops in a Global Era

Author +
Carl Ratner

Year: 2013

Human history is largely the story of communities, punctuated by examples of cooperatives–in fact, our level of cooperative behavior is one of the attributes that makes us most human. In recent years, however, concepts such as rugged individualism and social Darwinism have competed against cooperative ideas for supremacy, and today’s climate of global economic crisis has found these “me-first” concepts wanting.

Now, an important new book posits that current political solutions to acute world problems are inadequate, and that modern society needs to look to its communal roots for recovery–and perhaps survival. Cooperation, Community, and Co-ops in a Global Era argues for a societal paradigm shift and details how such a transformation might be accomplished. Taking the evolutionary long view, its author demonstrates how cooperative principles can make a social system not just more efficient and less wasteful of time and resources, but also more democratic, empowering, and fulfilling for everyone involved. In making this compelling case, he:

  • Explains cooperation as a form of life that can resolve current crises and enhance human development.
  • Shows how most of human history has been cooperative.
  • Explains modern obstacles to cooperation that must be overcome.
  • Explicates a cooperative social philosophy: its psychology, social relations, property relations, governance.
  • Articulates a psychological theory of cooperation that includes comparative research with animals, evolutionary processes, biological issues, and cultural issues.
  • Explains how cooperative enterprises have practiced cooperation.
  • Provides examples of co-op strengths and weaknesses  from on-site research into European and American co-ops.
  • Articulates a revisionist history of the cooperative movement that includes relations with socialist theory and the labor movement.
  • Explains implications of cooperation for democracy and interpersonal relations such as love.

Social scientists, co-op members, policy makers, social philosophers, mediators, community builders, social reformers, and all those concerned with a viable solution to contemporary crises will find Cooperation, Community, and Co-ops In A Global Era stimulating and informative.

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