‘Free Market’ Versus … Cooperatives – Simple Solution

Go Lean Commentary

Can we all just get along?! – Rodney King 1993; on the occasion of L.A. Riots after the acquittal of police officers who beat him.

This should be more than just a complaint, it should be a prescription. A prescription for economic empowerment as well as social harmony. In fact, one of the original motivations for communism was a supposed camaraderie and fraternity among its adherents. In fact, this expression for Brotherhood is usually interchangeable for “fellow communists”:

Com·rade, noun

  1. a person who shares in one’s activities, occupation, etc.; companion, associate, or friend.
  2. a fellow member of a fraternal group, political party, etc.
  3. a member of the Communist Party or someone with strongly leftist views.

Source: Retrieved June 22, 2019 from: Dictionary.com

Is it possible to “get along” and have camaraderie without the communism? Yes, indeed! At the heart of the word communism is the verb “commune”, this means “to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc.; interchange thoughts or feelings”. There is also a substitutable concept and simple solution: a cooperative:

Cooperative, Adjective – working or acting together willingly for a common purpose or benefit.

Cooperative, Noun – a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers.

See VIDEO here:


VIDEO – What is a Co-operative? – https://youtu.be/90FL_bBE4mw

Co-operatives UK
Published on Jun 20, 2015
– Co-operatives give people control over things that matter to them. There are nearly 7,000 independent co-operatives working across the economy. They contribute £37 billion to the British economy and are owned by 15 million people across the country.

The 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean – a roadmap for the implementation for the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) – presented a comprehensive view of Cooperatives. These were presented as necessary organizational expressions that the Caribbean must adopt. See this definition here (Page 25):

Governing Principles – Cooperatives
As a governing entity the CU will structure many cooperative endeavors to marshal economic and homeland security benefits for the region. (While cooperatives advocate the practice of sharing, this roadmap is not proposing any redistribution of existing Caribbean wealth). For example, the CU will aggregate business incubators into networks, similar to cooperatives, as this is a successful practice in Europe. These networks share best practices and can spread new methodologies and systems across a regional footprint. The CU will task utility cooperatives with the delivery of some public utilities, even a proposed regional power grid will operate as a cooperative. This strategy shares the cost of the installation across the full co-op membership (in this case, the 30 member-states).

So the Caribbean can abide by Free Market economic principles and still have cooperatives. With this strategy, we “can all get along”, come together and work towards common goals.

Yes, we can …

There is wisdom to this strategy of coming together and working towards a common goal. This is the continuation of series on Free Markets Versus…; this submission is entry 4-of-6 of the full series cataloged as follows:

  1. Free Market Versus: Communism – Can they both co-exist?
  2. Free Market Versus: China – Two systems at play in ‘Words and Actions’
  3. Free Market Versus: Socialism – Prevalent in the Caribbean
  4. Free Market Versus: Cooperatives
  5. Free Market Versus: Labor Unions – Junior Communists?
  6. Free Market Versus: Common Pool Resources – Simpler Cooperation

In this series, reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines of the Caribbean member-states. We have many role models of communities around the world embracing formal cooperatives so as to leverage the high costs of societal investments; we can look, listen and learn from these accomplishments. This is the focus of this commentary, and for the Go Lean book; the book presents one advocacy (Page 176) specifically focused on cooperatives, entitled: “10 Ways to Foster Cooperatives“. These “10 Ways” include the following highlights, headlines and excerpts:

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market – Ratify treaty for the CU.
The CU in effect represents a cooperative with the unification of the region into a single market of 42 million people across 30 member-states with a GDP of $800 Billion (2010 figures). Following the Rochdale principles, the CU will structure other cooperative endeavors to marshal the economic and homeland security interest of the region.
2 Consumer Cooperatives
3 Worker Cooperatives
4 Purchasing Cooperatives
The CU will function as a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO), an entity created to leverage the purchasing power of a group of institutions to obtain discounts from vendors based on the collective buying power of the members. In effect, the CU will aggregate the unified market to minimize costs of necessary purchases – an efficient use of supply and demand.
5 Cooperative Banking

The Caribbean Central Bank (CCB) is a cooperative among the region’s Central Banks. The CCB will be the sole controlling agent of the monetary policies for the Caribbean Dollar and aggregate currency printing and coin-pressing.

6 Housing Cooperatives

These legal entities rents out the real estate they own to their own members, allowing for the pooling of the members’ resources so that their buying power is leveraged, thus lowering the cost per member in all the services and products associated with home ownership. The members, through their elected representatives, can also screen and select who may live in the cooperative. The CU endorses this scheme for adult housing (60+ years) for repatriation of the Diaspora.

7 Agricultural Cooperatives
8 Utility Cooperatives
9 Mutual Education
10 Mutual Insurance and Risk Management

The Go Lean book doubles-down on the concept of cooperatives for societal deliveries in the region. For example, there is the recommendation for fomenting and strengthening the non-government organization (NGO) referred to as the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association. See this except from an anecdote in the book (Page 60):

By: Caribbean News Now – (excerpt) – Published on August 31, 2010
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association President Josef Forstmayr has called for urgent action by all Caribbean governments for a sustainable cooperative marketing and promotion fund and regional integration and removal of barriers for intra-Caribbean travel.

This theme – fostering cooperatives for the economic, security and governing empowerments in the region – aligns with previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=16172 Bad example for failed Agricultural Cooperative – Jonestown, Guyana
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15858 A Media Network and Cooperative Vision for a New Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15662 Urban Cooperatives – Manifesting High-Tech Neighborhoods
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15521 Caribbean Disunity and for the Need Tourism Cooperatives
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11544 Forging Change: Collective Bargaining & Cooperatives
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7991 Transformations: Caribbean Postal Union, actually a Cooperative
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7384 Oil Refineries – A Model of a Purchasing and Utility Cooperative
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7034 Caribbean Central Bank Cooperative – The Future of Money
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6016 A Refigeration Cooperative – Yes, we can … ‘Stay Cool’

The stewards for a new Caribbean, the movement behind the Go Lean book, want to pronounce the significance of the alphabet letter ‘C‘ to all Caribbean stakeholders.

This episode is brought to you by the Letter ‘C‘ – Familiar promotion from the TV Show Sesame Street.

This  discussion on Free Market alternatives started with a consideration of Communism; now we are considering Cooperatives. The assertion is that we can have the needed Community and Camaraderie without the perils of communism. This strategy will also bring these other benefits:

  • Collaboration.
  • Confederation.
  • Cooperation.
  • Collusion.

See the Appendix VIDEO for further elaborations on the merits of Cooperatives.

Yes, the letter ‘C‘, and the adoption of these C-word concepts is the Way Forward for the Caribbean; this is how we can make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – How to stop poverty: start a worker-owned cooperative | Jim Brown | TEDxTuscaloosa – https://youtu.be/LFyl0zz2yqs

TEDx Talks
Published on Jul 7, 2015
– Why is chronic poverty tolerated in America? Is our economic system flawed? Through personal stories and insights, University of Alabama professor J. Palmer (Jim) Brown explores the problem of poverty and advocates a solution in worker ownership and cooperation.

Jim Brown is a social entrepreneur and clinical professor at the University of Alabama. His research focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship. He studied at Cal Poly and MIT prior to a long career in industry. In addition to teaching, Mr. Brown has an extensive consulting background in business startups and operations improvement. His work with non-profit companies and people in poverty led him to co-found The Moses Project, an organization dedicated to the promotion of worker-owned cooperatives in Alabama.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx


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