An excerpt from: From Corporate Globalization to Global Co-operation, Page 90
“Neoclassical economics and right wing philosophy would tell us that the most powerful driver in human nature IS individual self-interest in the rational pursuit of maximum wealth for minimal effort. Wouldn’t that mean that co-operatives were just utopian dreams
out of touch with what drives “economic man” and destined to remain on the fringe
of the economy? Are people social and co-operative by nature, or competitive and
self centred? These are questions that need to be responded to by both heart and
head because they go to the very core of what it means to be human.
In considering scientific answers to these questions we begin with a reflection
on the emergence of life on our planet. In his 2012 book The Super Cooperators,
Martin Nowak, one of the world’s leading theorists on evolution, points out that
for life to move beyond single-cell organisms cells needed to co-operate. As life
became more and more complex, it was an explosion of co-operation that made it
possible. If the cells in your eyes did not co-operate you would not see this line of
words. If the cells in your brain did not work together you would not understand
anything. All complex life is based on cell co-operation, without which there is no
intelligence and no emotion.5 When cells cease to co-operate and begin to multiply,
simply reproducing themselves, it is called cancer. The absence of co-operation in
cells leads to death.”
This is the foundation of co-operation in life. As life advanced so did co-operation. As the book argues the success of humanity owes more to cooperation than to competition. Humanity has now reached the stage where it must choose between the positive constructive forces of humanity – caring, sharing, compassion, empathy and love – and the dark forces of human nature – competition, greed, hyper individualism and selfishness. Will our future be win-win-win or win-lose-lose- lose? Will we choose life or destruction? Climate change or sustainable, ecological co-operation? Me first or us together?
Let us choose life.
In our own lives, what is more important, what we consumed today or what we contributed to our families, our communities and our world? What would leave us more dissatisfied, knowing that we acquired a less than perfect automobile, didn’t have the latest electronic gadget or that an idea we had failed to make the world a better place for our children because we did not have the authority or legitimacy or power to accomplish it? Is our reality as consumers the most important part of our beings or is it the part that is most likely to destroy the world around us through the consumption of wants rather than needs? Let me suggest that unleashing the creative, caring and loving parts of our humanity is the most powerful source of meaning for human beings.
Imagine a world where we owned and controlled our work spaces, co-operating with colleagues to help each other be the best we can be. Where we focused on using our talents and gifts to improve the lives of our families, communities and world. We can build that world bit by bit, workplace by workplace. We can replace capitalism and a world focused on money with economic democracy and meeting human need.
CBC’s Fifth Estate’s headline read: “Wealthy Canadians exposed in KPMG offshore tax ‘sham’ $5-million ‘minimum’ entry fee to get into offshore scheme.”
Seniors who have worked hard all their lives but who are living below the poverty line want a better economy, a different economy for their children and grandchildren. Students graduating with no hope of a career, a steady job, benefits, owning a home or a pension want a better, different economy for themselves and their children.
Our current capital based economy offers little hope. They are surrounded by an economy in which capital based corporations, owned by the very rich, design new ways every day for the super rich to get richer and pay less taxes. Now a billionaire who pays no taxes runs the richest country in the world. The poor who were tricked into voting for him can now get to watch him serve the very richest.
There is an alternative. Co-operatives are people based as opposed to capital based. Their purpose is to meet member and community need as opposed to making the already super rich richer. They are not perfect. They are only as good as their members – workers, consumers, farmers and fishers – make them. They are governed by one person one vote rather than one dollar one vote. you will not find a co-operative CEO making a ‘bonus’ of $72 million. Photo courtesy of Inequality.org
There is no legitimate business in the world that cannot be created as a co-operative. If grand parents and today’s youth want a better world they can make it happen.
When the economic elite takes and takes and sets the rules for how the economy works and how trade will benefit them, it destroys hope and produces despair. Despair is where anger grows. When those who practice the politics of fear, lies, hatred, violence and revenge find despair and anger they cloth themselves in righteousness and win elections.
“The average worker at Google makes a pretty penny, as one would expect of a massive, super profitable tech company: about $89,000. Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai pockets a staggering $100,632,102, over 1,000 times more than the typical Googler. In fact 1,130.69 times $89,000.”
Text and graph courtesy of http://inequality.org/