Welcome to co-oplaw.org: building just and local economies

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“If you want to go fast…go alone. If you want to go far…go together.”

Cooperatives aren’t some utopian, hair-brained, hippie scheme. They support an incredibly diverse range of people, from families (did you see the baby above?), to young entrepreneurs, immigrants, and faith-based communities.

Cooperatives – whether consumer, producer, worker, or housing – are turning into the viable, mainstream answer to today’s global financial crisis. Wealth is created everyday in our community, but somehow the wealth we generate flows up, up, and away. Cooperatives keep that wealth in our communities helping to build resilient, local economies.

Worker cooperatives, for example, pay themselves a wage just like any other business. When the business makes a profit (or surplus as its known within a coop), that money is given back to the worker-owners of the business, instead of going to some unknown stockholder with a Swiss bank account. Consumer cooperatives give their members discounts, at-cost rates, or a percentage of the co-ops’ profits. This is usually based on the amount the members “patronized,” or used, the co-op. REI is one of the most successful examples of a consumer cooperative in the States.

You might not know it, but if you’re a member of a Credit Union, you’re a member of a cooperative! Credit Unions are member-owned financial co-ops. Whether you choose to or not, you can vote for your Credit Union’s Board of Directors and tell them how you want the Credit Union to treat the community it serves.

The people featured above have decided they want to bring their wealth back to their communities. Will you do the same?

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