Lyman Manzanares

Vertical to Lateral to Vertical Cooperation

Published: (Updated: ) in Co-operatives by .

Co-ops of the near future could find themselves asking less what they can do for their members and more what their members—and potential members—can do for each other. This might include co-ops facilitating peer-to-peer lending and mutual credit systems among their members, for instance, or online forums and marketplaces that help members build ties and meet needs together.

Through the trust and relationships these kinds of strategies generate, lateral business can lead to more lateral governance. As more of a co-op’s business happens through member initiative, it will be only natural to explore new approaches for incorporating member voice into decision making. Members can help guide their co-ops into the missing markets that the capitalist competition doesn’t know how to notice.

Nathan Schneider


  • Honestly, being caught up in labyrinth (or is that ouroboros?) management talk is probably one of the reasons the global cooperative movement is ineffectual. None of the words in this quote mean anything, yet it is presented as meaningful, so therefore we have to pay attention to the words and try and derive meaning, in circles, in attendance of infernal conferences and seminars where we can hear more meaningless words masquerading as the future.

    If cooperative thinkers think that devising strategies to undermine the capitalist system we live in is the answer, the phone may be ringing for a long time. If the global cooperative movement honestly wants to usher in a cooperative future, instead of maintaining a comfortable (and bizarrely irrelevant) status quo, then there are steps to be taken.

    But they require courage and bravery.

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