ResPublica Research Associate Dan Gregory’s prize winning essay on unconventional forms of capitalism and the potential of the co-operative sector
ResPublica’s Research Associate, Dan Gregory, has won an essay competition run by Ethical Consumer Magazine and Co-ops UK, arguing for a co-operative alternative to capitalism.
His winning piece, Is there a co-operative alternative to capitalism?, explores the performance of the co-operative sector and social enterprises, which “eschew conventional capitalist forms of ownership, perversely” and which have been, nevertheless “financially outperforming red-blooded businesses within their own capitalist game.” Consequently, this sector grew by more than 25% over the last three years and has reported superior resilience levels in the context of the economic crisis.
“So a case can be made that imagines a more co-operative economy, in the sense that each distinct sector adopts a more co-operative approach – with co-operative businesses taking a higher market share and organisations in the public and third sector mutualising or embodying more co-operative principles”, Gregory’s essay argues, putting forward the idea of a new economic model, where more co-operative actors get involved in “playing the capitalist game.”
Gregory’s support for the development of a more social economy is also reflected in his past work for the Treasury and the Cabinet Office, where he lead the development of government policy on third sector access to finance and service delivery and in his active collaboration with organisations promoting co-operation. He is author of Financing for Growth: A new model to unlock infrastructure investment, a ResPublica report proposing a new form of infrastructure financing that would engage citizens and communities more directly in the financing of infrastructure development, and enable an improved, more transparent, diverse and democratic control and governance.
Co-operatives and mutual models of organisations have been increasingly capturing the attention of both policy-makers and actors in the business environment. To coincide with the United Nations 2012 International Year of Co-operatives, ResPublica has also hosted a series of seminars which have explored the nature, value and impact of mutual and co-operative models in relation to various social issues and sectors of society.
Furthermore, ResPublica is planning an essay collection on co-operatives and mutuals for 2013, which will draw together the set of radical ideas and innovative practices which have emerged from the discussions, and will set out to cover a number of central topics, sectors and policy areas within which co-operatives and mutuals could play a key part.