Friday, 24 June 2016

Brexit and the co-operative movement

So, we are to leave. What does that mean for co-ops?
Firstly, the coming recession (or at least, downturn) will mean that people turn to co-ops to fill the gap left by capitalist enterprises in retreat, and public services in decline.
The introduction of trade tariffs will be a further shock, but may create opportunities for import-substituting Worker co-ops. The rising cost of imports may also boost the recycling economy, where co-ops are historically strong.
Interest rates could go either way,  and house prices will also display volatility; not good conditions for housing co-ops and CLTs to operate in. Local currencies may well become more valuable relative to sterling, and community shares may benefit from a lack of reliable investment options.
The damage to social capital may be the biggest threat. Co-ops that bring together rich and poor, young and old, town and country, are needed more than ever; but the sharp contrast in values and visions may spill over into internal conflicts. Finding new, shared goals to unite around must be the first priority.