Davos – the world’s problem-solving summit… for those who cause so many of the world’s problems

The agenda is a tribute to its organisers, identifying so many challenges that an unequal and unsustainable world faces. But who is the agenda for? This is the trouble with Davos. It is the world’s problem-solving summit for those who cause so many of the world’s problems in the first place.

Oxfam has just published an update on its work on global inequalities. 82% of wealth created worldwide went to the top 1%. The poorest half saw no increase at all. Oxfam together with a wider alliance called Fight Inequality is calling, among other things, for wider ownership. Quite right and co-operatives are one proven way to disperse ownership more broadly

So, as the world’s business elite starts the World Economic Forum in the snow and slopes of Davos in Switzerland, we are publishing a report on the co-operative alternative – showing how the world’s largest co-ops share ownership, control and profits with tens of millions of people.

The report by Professor Johnston Birchall is on the governance of large co-operative businesses across the world. It is a comprehensively revised and updated second edition of a classic work, examining how the world’s largest co-ops ensure that their customers, employees and suppliers have meaningful influence over what the businesses do.

The findings are encouraging. Good governance can’t be taken for granted, but done well, it allows for that magical mix that the Davos participants are talking about – inclusive innovation and a formula of economic success that empowers the many and not the few.

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