New Wave of Mutuality

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* The New Wave of Mutuality. By ROBIN MURRAY. Policy Network, 2012.



"Cooperatives and mutuality are once again becoming a major source of social innovation. A reaction to a corporate economy driven by a short term profit imperative at the expense of their social and environmental impact; in the face of the recent financial crisis social movements have sprung up that sought forms of enterprise that internalise these issues rather than treating them as mere externalities. They have sparked an emerging civil economy.

In this new Policy Network paper Robin Murray shows how co-operative societies can help overcome the environmental, social, and economic problems that neither the private market nor the state have been able to find adequately answers. Challenging the view that co-operatives and the state are mutually antagonistic, The New Wave Of Mutuality: Social Innovation And Public Service Reform highlights the many lessons of successful co-operation that could be adopted within the public sphere:

· To involve those who receive a service and those who supply it in the design and operation of the service;

· To provide freedom for the co-op beyond the regulatory framework that binds public services;

· To ensure financial autonomy to the co-op which allows it to insulate its work from the impact of centrally organised cut backs and accumulate funds to finance its own growth and innovation.

Moving beyond the model of the private market and the state as the two commanding spheres of the economy, Murray thus shows that the cooperative movement is a rich source of experience. Experience that is particularly relevant today in relation to the major emerging issues of our age."