The Hidden Alternative

Co-operative Values, Past, Present and Future

image of The Hidden Alternative
In light of the recent global economic recession, this publication seeks to challenge the hegemony of the investor led business model in economics and business studies, and needs to be promoted in relation to these debates. The contributions to this book demonstrate that co-operation offers a real and much needed alternative for the organisation of human economic and social affairs, one that should establish its place at the forefront of public and academic discussion and policy making. It includes chapters on education, fair trade, politics and governance, planning, and sustainability and on how co-operatives have coped with the global economic crisis.



Negotiating consumer and producer interests – a challenge for the co-operative movement and fair trade

Can consumers’ interests be successfully combined with workers’ rights to achieve a just reward for the goods they produce? Today this question tours the world under the Fair Trade logo and it has become a North–South issue. It concerns topics such as trade or aid, the conditions and effects of free trade, consumer choice, solidarity and workers’ possibilities and abilities to organise and demand their rights. However, the question about the possibilities and problems of combining consumer interest and labour rights has intricate historical roots, the exploration of which can shed light on the present. There is a substantial literature on workers’ struggles for labour rights, while the study of consumption and consumer society is growing minute by minute. Largely absent from the literature are historical studies focusing on these issues and their intersection. And with a few exceptions, most literature on the role of consumption and consumers in relation to trade and labour rights focuses on the present. Even more uncommon are studies from a co-operative perspective; yet this line of inquiry presents a promising venue for relating the present Fair Trade practice to its historical antecedents.


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