As the Covid-19 fueled economic downturn begins to intensify this winter, an extended study of the Italian cooperative sector’s historical resilience in times of crisis can serve as a learning experience for other countries seeking to create policies that foster more stable economies, with job security, care for marginalized communities and adequate counter-cyclical policies. Particularly, the Italian cooperative sector’s contributions to three aspects should be noted in closing. Firstly, the innovative phenomenon of cooperative enterprises has contributed to social inclusion of immigrant communities, the activation of youth, the unemployed and people with disabilities, a true compensation for both a market and state failure. Secondly, they have contributed to a reduction in income and wealth inequalities at a time when the issue of inequality is of global significance. Thirdly, the Italian cooperative movement has helped local communities revitalize in the face of demographic shifts and rendered them more resilient to the ravages of globalization. Each of these in their own right is a remarkable achievement.
The economics of worker cooperatives is a branch of economic inquiry with a long and esteemed pedigree, dating at least from the work of John Stuart Mill in the mid-nineteenth century.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has substantially accelerated the digitalization of the economy. Yet, this unprecedented growth of digital technology brought novel challenges to the labour market. Rise in income inequalities and precarious working conditions or polarization of jobs. In this essay, we try to assess what tools to use to counter these trends.
Participants should be able to distinguish the strictly non-cooperative (methodological individualist) foundations of traditional neoclassical economics as being couched in self-interested individuals, as well as having basic knowledge of an alternative set of theories based on the primacy cooperation and social norms and extending the breadth of economic analysis beyond exchange.
In this essay the authors take a look at how welfare could be provided in a degrowth society.