One-member, one-vote is a long-standing practice in co-operatives, ensuring that each member-owner-patron has an equal say in basic governance and that power is not concentrated among those that have contributed the most capital.
But while one-member, one-vote widely distributes influence, it fails to address the intensity members feel for the many activities co-operatives could undertake. Continue reading
The fruits of community-led social enterprise. Photo credit http://www.armyofproblemsolvers.com
It happened like some of the best things in life: purely by chance.
My partner was making the 2400 kilometre trek from Saskatoon to our hometown in Ontario and stopped in for a visit to a friend who lives off the grid just outside of Kenora, near the Manitoba border. The friend’s husband, a correctional officer, inquired about my line of work. When told I studied co-operatives, credit unions, and social enterprises, he said, “I’ve got a book he should read.” Continue reading
Do investors in a mutual have the right to cash in on a windfall created by previous generations?
The members of Economical – the Waterloo, ON-based property and casualty insurance company – gave the green light to the company’s demutualization in a vote on March 20, 2019. The business press says the move will be a “windfall” and “lottery” win for 878 owners, who could each pocket as much as $430,000 on an “investment” consisting of a three-year insurance policy (see here, here and here for background).
From a co-operative and mutualist perspective, it is tempting to see this process as a form of massive inter-generational wealth transfer. Why should a small band of owners benefit from accumulated wealth in a company that was started more than a 100 years ago by a group of hardscrabble farmers who put in countless volunteer hours making it into something? Continue reading
The fabled Iron Throne of Westeros
Who should rule the Seven Kingdoms? This is the central question of the blockbuster television series Game of Thrones. In this respect, the show presents many useful questions on legitimacy in leadership.
Should the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms be the next in a hereditary line stretching back generations? Or should it be the leader of a people’s rebellion who overthrew and killed the previous, corrupt king? What about that leader’s eldest brother, or his more popular younger brother? How about his illegitimate son? A powerful and well-liked nobleman? Or a barbarian king from parts unknown? Continue reading