The proclamation by the United Nations that 2012 would be the International Year of Co-operatives represents a milestone in the history of the international cooperative movement. It reflects the growth and renewal of cooperatives globally during the past decade and a half, whether the focus is on financial cooperatives in Britain or producer cooperatives across Africa.
Cooperatives—businesses or associations equally owned and controlled by the people who use their services—have proved resilient in the wake of the global financial crisis compared with the investorled business and financial companies that have been found financially and morally wanting. The contributors to The Hidden Alternative demonstrate that cooperation offers a much needed alternative for the organization of economic and social affairs, one that should find its place at the forefront of public and academic discussion and policymaking.
The book includes chapters on education, fair trade, politics and governance, planning, and sustainability, and on how cooperatives have coped with the global economic crisis. It will be of interest to students and academics and to policymakers who have witnessed the inadequacies of investor-led business models during the global recession.