Converting to Co-Ops will Save Small Businesses

happy workers in a factory

The pandemic clearly caused chaos in the business world from lockdowns to supply chain issues, and this has caused many small businesses to face closure. Small businesses closing isn’t good for local economies and there are solutions to support these small operations. The best option is to convert to a cooperative.

That’s right, in order to save capitalism we need less idolization of individuals and more focus on shared growth. Business can survive through distributed risk and recovery by converting to cooperatives.

Co-operatives offer stable business models that provide good jobs. They are often better than conventional businesses in terms of responding to and surviving crisesbecause they source capital locally rather than with distant shareholders, meet local community needs, and foster trust and mutual aid.

During economic downturns, for instance, co-op members will often amend wages and revenue distribution rather than lay off employees.

The overall lack of knowledge of the co-op model is not surprising. There is systemic bias against solidarity-based economic activity by mainstream economists and business pundits, and a related lack of co-op content in post-secondary business and economics courses.

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Explaining Degrowth and Why it Matters

money

The way the economy runs leads to environmental destruction and it doesn’t have to be that way. The industrial revolution accelerated consumption of non-renewable resources and governments allowed corporations to profit at the expense of health and wellbeing. This is untenable. It’s time to shift our economy from one that exists to expand every year (so billionaires like Musk and Bezos) to one that exists for long-term sustainability. Without the environment we won’t even have an economy, and with climate change accelerating we have to refocus our economy immediately.

Degrowth, at its essence, is an alternative to capitalism, Parrique says. But what it absolutely is not, he says, is a planned recession on purpose. Not only does pausing economies for a moment do pretty little for the climate crisis (look how ineffective COVID-19 was at reducing emissions long-term), but it also hits the poorest and most vulnerable people first. 

Parrique says to picture economies like people with metabolisms—when you’re young, you need to eat lots of food, and as a result, produce lots of waste, to get big and strong. But if you keep eating like a rapidly-growing human well into adulthood, that’s probably not the healthiest way to be. As an adult, it makes more sense to balance out your diet for sustaining your body’s current needs. 

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A Net-Zero Economy will Save $30 Trillion a Year

Phramacy

Economist argue that efficiency produces profits, which is why we see mass layoffs and (bizarrely) large payouts for executives. 20th century economists ignored a lot of opportunities for more efficient operations because the costs weren’t put on corporations themselves. The costs of running the business were covered by the governments. There is no better example of this than how companies treat the environment.

An easy example is in Alberta where companies in the tar sands have ransacked vast tracts of land for low-quality bitumen while leaving the costs of cleanup on the government. If companies had to pay for their environmental damage then the tar sands wouldn’t be profitable.

Finally economists have caught up to what environmentalists have been saying for decades: if we don’t act on the damage done to the environment by companies then all companies will suffer (obviously nature suffers more). Recent studies show that not getting to a carbon net-zero economy soon will cost the global economy $30 trillion a year due to ecological destruction.

Sylvan said he was surprised that so many saw net-zero action as “economically desirable, even on the pretty short timeline that we’re talking about.”

Most of the international climate economists questioned for the survey in February said they had become more concerned about climate change over the last five years. The most common reason they gave was the escalation in recent extreme weather events, which have included climate-linked wildfires and heat waves.

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Solar Panels are Undervalued by Traditional Markets

Solar Panel School

Solar panels are getting more efficient and the cost to produce them are decreasing by the day, already solar is cheaper than coal. Yet, due to previous policies and outdated economic models the real value of solar is underappreciated. While people wake up to the reality around the economics of solar the rest of us can call attention to the non-economic benefits of switching to sustainable power generation. Things like grid resiliency, if every home has solar panels then blackouts will become a thing of the past.

“Anyone who puts up solar is being a great citizen for their neighbors and for their local utility,” Pearce said, noting that when someone puts up grid-tied solar panels, they are essentially investing in the grid itself. “Customers with solar distributed generation are making it so utility companies don’t have to make as many infrastructure investments, while at the same time solar shaves down peak demands when electricity is the most expensive.”

Pearce and Koami Soulemane Hayibo, graduate student in the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab, found that grid-tied PV-owning utility customers are undercompensated in most of the U.S., as the “value of solar” eclipses both the net metering and two-tiered rates that utilities pay for solar electricity. Their results are published online now and will be printed in the March issue of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

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Evidence is in: Green Policies Improve Economic Performance

tree with climate knowledge

Short-term thinkers who put quarterly profits above all else consistently argue that caring for the environment destroys business. They are wrong. The evidence keeps growing that planet (and people) friendly policies encourage economic growth while also forcing companies to increase their efficiency. It’s a win-win for businesses and the planet.

An Italian team of economists have concluded that by taxing companies, and individual behaviours, that damage the environment create great success for the planet and profits.

Green taxes, or taxes levied on businesses and individuals in order to promote environmentally friendly practices, had the largest impact on multifactor productivity, though De Santis and her colleagues wrote that green taxes need to be paired with complementary redistributive policies, such subsidies and grants for companies transitioning to environmentally friendly practices, in order to avoid damaging productivity.

“What is clear is that you have to face this increasing environmental policy stringency, and as a firm, probably the best is if you try to create this win-win solution so it’s passed through an improvement in technology,” De Santis said.

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