The UK’s free-market economy as a whole is facing one crisis after another. That is why policy makers and businesses need to consider the co-operative option which offers products and services to our economy. Our corporate and political culture’s lack of innovation and strict adherence to the neoliberal free market means this is sadly more of a dream than reality. However, other nations have successfully replicated this alternative economic model to adapt to their own individual needs.
In certain circles, there is the perception that the transformation to the ideal of the student as consumer is complete and that therefore the student activist and a radical student movement is a thing of the past. Although there was the anti-fees flashpoint in 2010, the argument goes, now the modern student is more concerned with getting their money’s worth from the education they directly pay for, than they are about changing the world.
Over the last four years there have been countless examples of campaigns and projects that prove this thesis wrong. This series of articles seeks to explore these, what they have achieved and what they mean for the student movement and the Higher Education sector as a whole
by Chris Jarvis
Co-ops have had a bad name recently. In the wake of the scandals surrounding the Co-Operative bank and the colourful antics of its former chairman Paul Flowers, positive column inches about the co-operative model have been difficult to find.
In spite of this, co-operatives are, in fact, blooming – perhaps not in the shape of massive, bloated organisations such as the Co-operative Group, but instead in projects run by students across the country. From food to bikes to houses, over the last few years, groups of students have been coming together to build projects that are based on mutual benefit for all participants. Their shape may vary, but fundamentally they are all based on the same principles, that through working collaboratively, it is possible to build more affordable, sustainable and fulfilling lifestyles.