Not every book worth reading is entirely about co-operatives. John Boik has made a valuable contribution to the social and economic framework that co-operatives hold dear in his recent work, ‘Economic Direct Democracy’, which can be downloaded at http://www.PrincipledSocietiesProject.org.
Dr. Boik writes in the context of the Principled Societies Project to set forth what he calls a LEDDA (pronounced lee-dah), a Local Economic Direct Democracy Association. Co-operators will recognise in this phrase an affinity with many of the principles enshrined in our Statement of Co-operative Identity.
‘Economic Direct Democracy’ concerns itself with a space beyond individual organisations, however. The particular focus of this book is on cities (admittedly on US cities/counties, but easily applied more widely), i.e. on the community-wide infrastructure needed to advance the sort of principled society to which co-operatives contribute.
The essential components of this society are: ‘(1) a monetary system that creates money and regulates its volume, value, and (interest) cost; (2) a financial system that uses savings or other sources of money to fund business and other organizations; (3) a market system that provides goods and services to consumers; (4) a property rights system that assigns ownership and use rights for physical, intellectual, and other types of property; (5) an incentive system that encourages desired behavior; (6) a governance system that regulates the preceding five components; (7) a conceptual model that describes how the economy functions; and (8) a purpose that gives meaning and direction to the preceding seven components.
It’s a thoughtful and thorough framework, and I commend it to any co-operator interested in advancing, at a societal level, the principles they are already living within their organization.