Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era

Creating Co-operative Economics

Edited by Tom Webb and Sonja Novkovic


An essential introduction to the co-operative business model as a sustainable and equitable alternative to the current growth-obsessed economic paradigm.
For the past three decades, neoclassical doctrine has dominated economic theory and policy. The balance of power has shifted to protect private interests, resulting in unprecedented damage to the environment and society, with no solution in sight as more austerity and less government continues to be posited as the answer to the oncoming waves of crisis.

It doesn't have to be this way. Featuring a remarkable roster of internationally renowned critical thinkers, Co-operatives in a Post-Growth Era presents a feasible alternative for a more environmentally sustainable and equitable economic system - specifically, the co-operative business model. With more than 100 million people working in co-operatives and more than a billion members around the world, the time has never been better for co-operatives everywhere to recognise their potential to change the economic landscape.

An essential book for students, policymakers and concerned citizens looking for a practical way to change the current stagnant economic paradigm.

Author Bio

Sonja Novkovic is a professor of economics at Saint Mary’s University, and academic co-director in the Co-operative Management Education programme. Currently, she is the chair of the International Co-operative Alliance Research Committee and academic co-lead of the Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network in collaboration with Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada.

Tom Webb is an adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University School of Business and former programme manager of the master’s degree in the Management of Co-operatives and Credit Unions (MMCCU).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Co-operative Economics, Why Our World Needs It - Tom Webb and Sonja Novkovic
  • Part I: What is the New Economy and Why Do We Need It?
    • 1. The World On a Collision Course and the Need for a New Economy - Manfred Max-Neef
    • 2. The New Economy - Neva Goodwin
    • 3. The World We Need - Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
    • 4. Are Prosperity and Sustainability Compatible? - William E. Rees
    • 5. Living Well: Explorations into the End of Growth - Peter A. Victor
    • 6. Complexity: Shock, Innovation and Resilience - Thomas Homer-Dixon
    • 7. Finance for the Anthropocene - John Fullerton
  • Part II: Co-operatives and the New Economy
    • 8. Choices, Incentives and Co-operative Organization - Stefano Zamagni
    • 9. Are Co-operatives a Viable Business Form? Lessons from Behavioural Economics - Morris Altman
    • 10. The Co-operative Enterprise: A Valid Alternative for a Balanced Society - Vera Negri Zamagni
    • 11. Employee Ownership and Health: An Initial Study - David Erdal
    • 12. Co-operatives in a Global Economy: Key Issues, Recent Trends and Potential for Development - Stephen C. Smith and Jonathan Rothbaum
    • 13. A Role for Co-operatives in Governance of Common-pool Resources and Common Property Systems - Barbara Allen
    • 14. Is the Debt Trap Avoidable? - Claudia Sanchez Bajo
  • Conclusion - Sonja Novkovic and Tom Webb


'More than ever, the world needs economic systems whose objectives are not to make a small fraction of humanity monetarily rich but, rather, to build a more inclusive society where quality of life for all is the metric of success. The ideas presented in this publication can serve to further our understanding of the possibilities and challenges associated with unleashing the power of a healthier view of sustainable economics.'
Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO, The Co-operators, Canada

'This collective work brings very useful insights on how cooperatives, in a plural economy, can help build a better world and reach sustainable prosperity. A must read for those who wants to learn about the cooperative model and its economics.'
Monique F. Leroux, president and chief executive officer, Desjardins Group

'An outstanding collection of new economics, reflecting a growing and creative body of work on the practice and the theory of a more inclusive and authentically sustainable economy.'
Ed Mayo, secretary general, Co-operatives UK

'These chapters will be helpful in understanding the challenges we face and how best we can contribute to making this a better world through co-operative action.'
Dame Pauline Green, president, International Co-operative Alliance

'The ideas in this book will help co-operative leaders move co-operative development forward.'
Nelson Kuria, CEO, Co-operative Insurance Company, Kenya

'A unique collection of essays that offers both theoretical arguments and practical insights into how co-operatives can provide the basis for a more socially and environmentally sustainable economy. Required reading for all students in business and economics, and a must read for all interested in the future of the planet.'
Darryl Reed, York University Canada

'Leading economic thinkers provide critical insights in how the co-operative enterprise model meets the growing complex global problems while building a better world. Kudos to Tom Webb and Sonja Novkovic for making this happen.'
Denyse Guy, executive director, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada


Publication Date: 9 October 2014
320 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783600779
Hardback: 9781783600786
eBook ePub: 9781783600809
eBook PDF: 9781783600793
eBook Kindle: 9781783600816

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