John Restakis: I refer to co-operatives as the antibodies of globalization because in their nature and in their structure they represent values and systems that are almost a polar opposite of what globalization is actually built on. Globalization is represented by large concentrations of international capital; really controlled through large corporate, multinational structures that are in their nature authoritarian and anti-democratic.
And really, their primary purpose is to extract labour and resources at the lowest possible price, and obviously to sell in markets at the highest possible price. Well, the cost of doing business that way is the disruption of traditional cultures, undermining the local economies, and disempowering communities and workers, through this large globalized system.
Co-operatives by their nature are local. They’re controlled by members that live in the communities where they work. They are democratic, it’s in their DNA, and they have a primary focus on serving the needs of their members in their community; not the needs of capital that is concentrated in New York or London or Hong Kong.
Because of this local and democratic structure of co-operatives, they are inherently the antithesis of large corporate systems concentrating power and capital. That’s why I say co-ops are the antibodies of globalization.
You may also be interested in: