While modern corporations seem invincible, considering their vast resources and their extensive government granted legal monopoly privileges, they are actually slowly losing their power to cooperatives and the underground economy. As we have been reporting in recent months, companies like McDonalds, Monsanto and Coca-Cola are experiencing a large loss in profits, and it looks like their business model is failing.
Meanwhile, co-ops now employ more people worldwide than corporations. This is partly because many of the jobs at the corporations have either dried up or are too low paying, and partly because the co-ops are more practical in these difficult times. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) estimates that the top 300 co-ops in the world account for over $1 trillion in economic activity annually, and there are now actually over 800 million people being employed by co-ops, and that’s just on the record. Also, it is important to point out that small, locally owned businesses employ more than half of the workers in the US, and those numbers are even higher in other countries.
Business and labor Cooperatives don’t just benefit the people who work and invest in them, but also greatly benefit the communities that they are established in by offering quality goods or services at fair prices. In addition to the competing currencies that Greece has been experimenting with during their Euro financial crisis, people have also been developing natural food co-ops which allow customers to overstep the middleman and buy directly from the suppliers. This leaves both the farmer and average person with more extra cash, and this actually even results in a higher quality of food, because with the extra money most farmers have been investing in organic crops, as opposed to GMO’s.
Also taking business away from large corporations are the black and grey markets, or the informal economy. Some economists have labeled this underground, informal economic sector as “System D”, which is derived from a French term “débrouille”, which basically translates to “do your best in a challenging situation.” In 2011, it was estimated that the informal economy of the world, AKA System D has a projected GDP of $10 trillion every year.
As the paradigm that we have been trapped under for generations begins to fall we will be left with two choices; to work together and create a new paradigm based on peace and voluntary interactions or to listen to the politicians who got us into this mess and follow them off into oblivion. If the events playing out before us in the informal economies of the world are any indication of the future, there is surely much hope left for humanity.
The presentation below discusses how mutual aid groups and the informal economy has helped to empower the people of Africa.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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