Solidarity First: Building A Movement For Just & Sustainable Economies In Quebec

Book Available: The Canadian CED Network and Effect
Author: Nancy Neamtan
Year: 2023

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The story of Quebec’s social economy movement is little known in Canada and even in many parts of Quebec. This may seem surprising given the interest that the Quebec model of social economy has aroused and still arouses in many countries and international organizations on all continents.

And yet, social economy remains a vague concept for many people, often associated with social activist and the “management” of poverty. This perception is in sharp contrast with reality: there are more than 7,000 collective enterprises in Quebec active in a wide variety of economic sectors. The social economy is an integral part of our socio-economic structure, is growing steadily throughout Quebec and is increasingly shaping global development strategies. Its various realities and impacts have been the subject of many scientific works: they have been analyzed from every angle. In general, the verdict is positive and the benefits are documented more and more through quantitative and qualitative studies.

But the social economy is more than the sum of many collective enterprises operating in various sectors with similar modes of organization. To understand Quebec’s social economy, it is not enough to display columns of figures showing the volume of business transactions and the sums invested or accumulated. For the history of the social economy is above all the story of women and men, communities, entrepreneurs, consumers, investors who are committed to the creation of a movement for economic democratization. READ MORE

Interview with Mondragon CEO Josu Ugarte

By Grassroots Economic Organizing

https://geo.coop

Sky-high corporate CEO pay, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes in a new report, “creates social norms” that drive up levels of inequality far beyond corporate payrolls.

Those “social norms,” cheerleaders for our current corporate order insist, simply reflect economic reality. In a globalized world where corporations tally sales and profits in the many billions, their argument goes, no modern major business could possibly survive — let alone thrive — without shelling out top executive pay that stretches into the many millions.

The owners of one of the largest businesses in Spain would beg to disagree.

Their nearly 60-year-old enterprise — named Mondragon for the Basque town in northern Spain that gave it birth — has nearly 75,000 employees working in everything from heavy industry and retail to banking and education. A big-league business, in other words, by any metric.

Yet Mondragon doesn’t shell out millions to any of its top executives. No executive at Mondragon makes anything close to even a single million.

How could that be? Mondragon just happens to operate as a cooperative and may be, many analysts believe, the world’s most significant worker-owned business.

Josu Ugarte, the president of Mondragon International, spent a chunk of last month touring the United States, as part of the co-op’s ongoing outreach to people and groups looking for alternatives to corporate business as usual. What alternative for corporate compensation does Mondragon offer? Too Much editor Sam Pizzigati caught up with Ugarte in Washington, D.C. and explored that question with him.

Sky-high corporate CEO pay, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes in a new report, “creates social norms” that drive up levels of inequality far beyond corporate payrolls.

Those “social norms,” cheerleaders for our current corporate order insist, simply reflect economic reality. In a globalized world where corporations tally sales and profits in the many billions, their argument goes, no modern major business could possibly survive — let alone thrive — without shelling out top executive pay that stretches into the many millions.

The owners of one of the largest businesses in Spain would beg to disagree.

Their nearly 60-year-old enterprise — named Mondragon for the Basque town in northern Spain that gave it birth — has nearly 75,000 employees working in everything from heavy industry and retail to banking and education. A big-league business, in other words, by any metric.

Yet Mondragon doesn’t shell out millions to any of its top executives. No executive at Mondragon makes anything close to even a single million.

How could that be? Mondragon just happens to operate as a cooperative and may be, many analysts believe, the world’s most significant worker-owned business. Read More