The Cooperative Economy
A Solution to Societal Grand Challenges
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Societal grand challenges have taken a toll on humanity, which finds itself at a crossroads. The concentration of wealth and economic inequality, the dominance of Big Tech firms, the loss of privacy and free choice, and the overconsumption and abuse of natural resources have been reinforced by globalization. Regulation, legislation, international treaties, and government and corporate policies have fallen short of offering sufficient remedies. This book identifies the root cause of these problems and offers a bold solution: a new economic system, free from the design flaws that have contributed to these societal grand challenges.
The proposed cooperative economy is an ethical community-driven exchange system that relies on collective action to promote societal values while accounting for resource constraints. Unlike the modern economic system that is predominantly driven by opportunistic behavior, the cooperative economy moves away from a materialistic orientation and follows a more balanced perspective that leverages prosocial behavior. The book explains how this new system adopts design principles that promote self-sufficiency of communities, sustainability and entrepreneurship while limiting overconsumption and excessive profit-making. It enhances economic equality by leveraging price subsidization and by restricting salary differences. The book describes how the system serves the interests of consumers, vendors, and employees while preventing the accumulation of power by the platform owner who operates this system.
This book is invaluable reading for policymakers who have been searching for solutions to some of the grand challenges that our society faces, and to managers who have sought alternative ways to cope with platform ecosystems, resource shortages, and supply chain disruptions. It revisits long-held assumptions, offering a treatise and food for thought, as well as a plan for concrete action. The book is also highly relevant to scholars and students in the study of economics, strategy, innovation, and public policy and to all readers who are concerned about the future of our planet and society.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Some Imperfections of the Modern Economic System 3. Insufficient Attempts to Contain the Problems 4. Laying the Foundations for the Cooperative Economy 5. A Practical Guide for the Cooperative Economy 6. Conclusion and an Invitation
Dovev Lavie is a Professor of Strategic Management at Bocconi University with a PhD from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a Sloan Industry Studies Fellow and a recipient of the Strategic Management Society’s Emerging Scholar Award and the Academy of Management Newman Award. He studies societal grand challenges, the interplay of competition and cooperation, and value creation and capture in alliances and ecosystems.
"In this book, renowned social scientist Dovev Lavie describes how our economic system reinforces our human tendencies toward opportunism. The consequences have been grave. To address grand challenges such as overconsumption and abuse of natural resources, we now need to turn to an alternative cooperative economic system in which we reinforce our prosocial inclinations. Lavie provides compelling scientific evidence that this is possible and well within our reach. If you are seeking inspiration on how to change the world, read this book!"
Anita McGahan, Professor and Chair in Organizations & Society, University of Toronto; Past President, Academy of Management
"This is one of those rare and ambitious books that challenges the very capitalist system that we all take for granted. Lavie carefully unpacks not only the list of problems we face as a society, but then puts forward a new way of organizing that might help us address many of them. He sets aside piecemeal tweaks to our system and instead proposes a new model that he calls the "cooperative economy." We all agree that our system as we know it is broken. But few have thus far imagined what a new way of organizing our economy might look like. This book opens up the possibility that there may yet be a way forward."
Ranjay Gulati, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
"Is a free enterprise, market economy based upon fairness and kindness a realistic alternative for one based upon greed and exploitation? Dovev Lavie’s vision of a cooperative economy has convinced me that it is indeed possible."
Robert Grant, Professor of Management, Bocconi University