What is the impact of – technological – changes on producers & workerscooperatives? (source: cicopa)

People working in or within the framework of cooperatives make up 10% of the global employed population according to conservative estimates. The organization of work and of the production of goods and services is experiencing profound changes that may strongly alter the way we work and the future of work itself.

Therefore Cicopa released a strategic paper: “The Future of Work. Where do Industrial and Service Cooperatives Stand?”

They analyse four challenges contributing to the transformation of work, present and future:

  1. technological change and the knowledge economy;
  2. change in demographic, societal and environmental trends;
  3. globalization and de-industrialization,
  4. the impact of the reorganization of work on working conditions, inequality and social protection.

How do industrial and service cooperatives react to these challenges? What are the most recent innovative cooperative models, based on worker ownership, being established in response?

Technological change can bring about a positive impact on industrial and service cooperatives not only in terms of production automation, but also in the fields of administration, book-keeping, and marketing. Working time can thus be freed for the cooperatives to concentrate on more entrepreneurial aspects requiring creativity. In addition, although the spatial dissemination of worker-members or producer-members of cooperatives provides an additional difficulty to the practice of democratic control which is so important to the cooperative logic, technological change may offer solutions to improve democracy within the enterprise (on line consultations, electronic voting etc.)

In turn, by putting the interest of digital platform users at the forefront, and by involving them in financing, commercial life and business management, cooperative platforms can direct their efforts towards the satisfaction of this interest and not towards the accumulation of profits for the benefit of external investors who have a purely speculative interest in the development of the platform CICOPA, the international organisation of industrial and service cooperatives represents 65,000 of worker, social and producers’ cooperatives providing 4 million jobs across the world.  

Dit nieuwsbericht is verschenen op donderdag, 05 april 2018.