the case for co-operation

I have been a friend to booksellers over the last weeks, reading everything that I can on the case for co-operation.

I have had lots of suggestions, including some rather dusty and wonderful presents of historical texts on the co-operative sector. I went to see David Halpern recently – now at the Institute of Government and the closest we get here to a UK Robert Putnam – who commended David Willett’s Oakeshott lecture, for example.  

I don’t need books as presents, but if you have recommendations or urls that I should look at, do let me know!

8 thoughts on “the case for co-operation

  1. Apparently the play ‘Fair Trade’ about the history of the co-op movement is very good and may give you a little light relief from all that reading! Google the Mikron Theatre Co. for more details.

  2. Ed, Mr two brains is interesting, but the philosophical text that persuaded me about co-operation (age 17) was Michael Kropotkin’s ‘Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution’. Haven’t read it for 34 years, so no recommendation as such!

    If you’re looking for texts that make a brilliant case for contemporary co-operativism in one vital area of the economy, have you seen David Rogers’ pamphlet ‘New Foundations: Unlocking the Potential for Affordable Homes’? Downloadable at

    • Thank you! Both I have – David, who is a star, gave me a copy direct – can’t say the same for Prince Kropotkin, but it was lovely to re-read. There is lots now in the space of evolutionary biology – just finished Frans de Waal on empathy and reciprocity in the natural world. Why monkeys are natural co-operators…fair trade bananas anyone?


  3. I must re-read, or rather properly read, Mutual Aid too. And i’ll enjoy investigating Frans de Waal – thanks.

    It is not explicitly a book about the case co-operation, but i’m currently reading, ‘How Can I Help?’ by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman. It wonderfully expresses what you could call – the personal case for co-operation, especially when we might be on the edge of burn out or competing for that gov.contract, or finding things tough.Lovely chapter on social action.

    Muhammad Yunus’ book, Creating a World Without Poverty, has a short passage on the emergence of the co-opeartive movement in the UK and the case *against* the movement – which made me think.

    • Muhammad Yunus’ book, Creating a World Without Poverty, doesn’t really make a case *against* the movement. Apparently I’ve still not posted my review of it on my site. It will appear there in the next couple of days.

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