nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Italian cooperatives

Over at Making Light, there's a link to "The False Gospel of Work"--a piece about how the free market economy doesn't produce good lives for a lot of the people who are active in it.

While I think the article was somewhat overdone and disproportionate (the standard free market is better than a lot of the alternatives), there was an interesting bit about Emilia-Romagna, a region of Italy with a lot of communes. Still, it's got a reasonable point about the common idea that work is good in itself rather than work being subordinate to people's lives.

Here's a more detailed article. The region has thousands of cooperatives (with a history going back to the 1860s, though with a gap when the Fascists did what they could to break the cooperatives) of a wide range of sizes, purposes (production, social services, banking....) and the ability to cooperate for large projects.

I found a little more here and here with the latter having the plausible suggestion that societies with well-developed, varied social networks are likely to do better even if they've suffered a period of dictatorship.

If Emilia-Romagna is as good as it sounds, I'm angry I haven't heard about it before (though admittedly I pay more attention to right libertarian than left-libertarian sources) and that there's so little about it online, though perhaps most of it is in Italian. Still, shouldn't there be more interest in an undramatic way of living which works better than most? Well, I'm doing my bit by posting about it here.

I favor a free market, but it's been obvious to me that the conventional version doesn't do a good job of solving the pointy-haired boss problem.

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