Loomio
October 29th, 2016 00:43

Made by a Coop

Nikhil Kulkarni
Nikhil Kulkarni Public Seen by 446

Prof Wolff once mentioned - "Imagine if the shirts / pants / products had tags that didn't say "Made in china, thailand, etc.. " but said "Made by a Coop". Then awareness among consumers increases, at-least they become curious and informed purchases can be made.

In this context, a worker owned e-commerce portal selling only worker coop products can be a start. Along with selling worker coop products, useful information about why to buy from a coop, how coops are better, etc can be put up on the website. Basically the plan is to setup a website that educates the buyer and also uses consumer action to encourage coops.

Nikhil Kulkarni

Nikhil Kulkarni started a proposal October 29th, 2016 00:46

Worker owned e-commerce portal to sell worker coop products. Closed 2:01am - Saturday 12 Nov 2016

Along with selling worker coop products, useful information about why to buy from a coop, how coops are better, etc can be put up on the website. Basically the plan is to setup a website that educates the buyer and also uses resulting consumer action to encourage coops.

Results
Agree - 9
Abstain - 9
Disagree - 9
Block - 9
-66 people have voted (-700%)
Nikhil Kulkarni

Nikhil Kulkarni
Agree
October 29th, 2016 00:49

William Beard

William Beard
Agree
October 29th, 2016 01:04

Great idea!

Would also ask that in addition to goods you consider a section of services provided by CoOp's or Worker Directed business who are aligned.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads October 29th, 2016 01:04

Excellent! I'll be the first customer. I really like this idea and can only imagine how we need more of these.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads
Agree
October 29th, 2016 01:06

A coop website selling coop made things with an educational sidebar about coop virtues is good stuff.

benjamin melançon

benjamin melançon
Agree
October 29th, 2016 01:07

benjamin melançon

benjamin melançon
Agree
October 29th, 2016 01:11

A more limited effort to do this, for tech worker coops in North America at least, already exists: http://techworker.coop/
And of course the USFWC has a directory-- in partnership with datacommons.coop i think

Judith Turner

Judith Turner
Agree
October 29th, 2016 02:10

Joel Gingery

Joel Gingery
Agree
October 29th, 2016 11:09

Recommend No selling only connecting people with each other or as a resource to facilitate design/creation of novel coop relationships , "useful information", see The Next System Project, http://thenextsystem.org/ as a possible model/partner.

Joel Gingery

Joel Gingery
Agree
October 29th, 2016 11:28

spin off selling new venture; only connecting people with each other; a resource to facilitate design/creation of novel coop relationships , "useful information", see The Next System Project, http://thenextsystem.org/ as a possible model/partner.

Joe

Joe
Agree
October 29th, 2016 11:39

Good idea. Now to find the compromise details in how to actually do it.

Joe

Joe October 29th, 2016 12:14

Are there bad coops vs. good coops? How will this promotional portal vet this issue? What criteria must be met to have their products and services featured thru this portal? What attributes of a coop will be analyzed to establish it as good and getting the seal of approval of this portal? Then how often and who will assure any approved coop is maintaining the good practices threshold?

Just consider the not-for-profit measure of % of your $ donation that goes to the actual help vs. the overhead/management of the NFP. Anyone can create a NFP and hide behind its good intentions - as many NFP are just corporations in disguise. So too will this happen with coops, especially if they become very popular with the people.

In a world that has so much inequality, it is very difficult to prevent capitalizing on something great. Can coops coexist within the current capitalistic model? Let alone, can in time, they push aside capitalism?

I'm not suggesting that we do not try. We just need to be mindful of the real-world challenges that lie ahead with any new solution path proposal effort.

Maybe as a next step we lay out the attributes that make a coop a good coop vs. a bad coop? E.g. can anyone just say they are a coop? Does today's government already have the designation and criteria in place? Will this need to be established first? Don't forget we are presently playing within their model/game.

Betsy Avila

Betsy Avila October 29th, 2016 17:52

Really awesome idea, @nikhilkulkarni!

David Brinovec

David Brinovec
Agree
October 29th, 2016 19:33

I love it!

Joe

Joe October 29th, 2016 23:18

This is all great stuff.

I'll just add that "we all" may be surprised at the significance of prioritizing all decisions. Often it reveals nonsense in lower decisions because each MUST work with those above it.

Take this logic to the top of any list and it creates a very solid foundation for everything else. When I did this with my LE model what rose to the top was creating a model that all grew from the concept of always seeking and attempting to do everything (work) from that which might be thought of as the truth.

I'd suggest "truth" should also work very well for the mission of d@w. IMHO - working everything else from this top priority will never lead anyone astray.

The big problem with capitalism is its acceptance of misinfo and deception is permissible. It's a great way to gain advantage in their game. But it leads to most all the really bad stuff in the world.

Look forward to actually starting to prioritize possibilities.

Keep up the good work.

PC

Paul Cabiati
Agree
November 11th, 2016 00:46

Betsy Avila

Betsy Avila
Abstain
November 11th, 2016 03:53

Really great idea! The harder part is finding the resources, funds and personnel to take this on. Abstaining but noting my general support.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads November 11th, 2016 05:08

I've been researching such a website as proposed here and only came up with one so far - http://www.shareable.net/blog/ethicalbay-the-coop-version-of-amazon-but-for-ethical-goods. I does appear that this type of website should be made. I will put this on my to do list. I am definitely down with pushing this idea and would be cool to make it a "coop of coops". Just need a website, source the merch, compile the educational resources.

One interesting observation is I keep seeing 'stigmas' when it comes to coops. When I do a search on "website for coop made goods" i get hits for "handmade" goods or "locally" made which is good but doesn't mean it's from a coop etc. It would be nice to break the taboo of how people perceive coops as a left wing/hippie type thing. For me, handmade is good but coop-made is better. Locally-made is good but coop made is still better. Locally-made AND coop-made is better still. I don't mind if something is not handmade if it was made by a coop and of course was not a polluter. Just because it was made by machine doesn't mean it wasn't made by a coop and likewise, just because something is handmade locally doesn't mean it was made by a coop. It's funny to see how these sites make every effort to let you know something is handmade but say nothing as to the condition of the workers who made it. This is my point in that coop-made is abetter starting point than handmade. I would have to put coop-made, then locally-made as a starting criteria. Handmade is somewhat irrelevant it seems. Another curious thing is how many online retailers have "coop" in the name and have nothing to do with being a coop. Hmmm :(

Nikhil Kulkarni

Nikhil Kulkarni November 11th, 2016 07:23

To do list ? So you must be a web developer.
Also, since Coops find it hard to get capital to setup & start, how about a "crowdfunding website for Coops" - a special crowdfunding website that is not about innovative products, or helping someone sick but a website that helps build coop versions of traditional businesses and purchases from them. Maybe this idea can be integrated with previous idea and it can become an additional tab called "Fund a local coop".

John Rhoads

John Rhoads November 11th, 2016 07:58

I do some HTML website building but am not a pro. I can throw up a basic functional site that could serve as a holding place and serve it's purpose short of doing all the fancy stuff. Also, there are lots of sites that provide tools for people that can't code and opens up opportunities for non-technical people to run a site. The point being technical issues shouldn't be a reason holding us back from putting up a site. I would be willing to put up a site under my domain name or other free host like Wix. If I could get some help sourcing goods that are coop made would be great. I also have volumes of material for the educational aspect. I like your fund-a-coop idea also. If we are to go forward with this it will be necessary that we make a subgroup where we can do our work in private. I won't be able to post links and other potentially insecure information here in the "community group". Whoever wants to join us from the community can become a member of our project group. The other thing is this will be a work in progress and will be time-constrained. I am willing to commit time to this in an experimental fashion but have a longer term vision of it becoming something much more.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads November 12th, 2016 01:29

Here is a mock-up site as a start. http://coopeden.zohosites.com/
I've been looking at names and Coop Eden or Coop Nexus come to mind as they are simple and descriptive of the idea. Who would like to drop a name? We can then crowdsource this as a d@W collective project. If this can get off the ground it could be a good source of funding for the d@w cause while giving back to the coop community.

Joe

Joe November 13th, 2016 22:46

Nice work John. Thanks.

I'm a huge believer in create something and then invite others to help improve it - once there's something tangible to test drive.

Of course I still have all those questions about what is a good vs. bad coop and how this gets figured into a portal like this. Who decides? But a great starting place.

John Rhoads

John Rhoads December 6th, 2016 00:37

We decide. Just comment, @mention people directly, reply, comment more and then make a proposal. It's pretty simple. Each person has in his/her mind what is "good" and "bad" and therefore we don't really have to be that granular. We just be ourselves and let the rest take care of itself. :thumbsup:

Earl Powell

Earl Powell December 10th, 2016 17:01

With regard to what is a good vs. coop, may I suggest that our change model should be that we a looking for successive approximations of our desired results. This eliminates the discussion of who is a good vs. bad coop. Once we know what our desired results are, then any enterprise that is making successive approximation of our desired result is to be encouraged.

Andrew Halls

Andrew Halls December 18th, 2016 08:38

I'm interested in working on this project.

In response to the suggestion "Recommend No selling only connecting people " I think there are several sites our there that do this, at the organizational level. For example https://usworker.coop/member-directory/

I think something that takes a product catalog approach might make this different.

I like the idea of creating it as business. Organized as a Worker Owned Co-Op. That actually sells stuff, creating a revenue stream. I think we could get started with only a few products.

What products would we focus on first ? How do we find them?

John Rhoads

John Rhoads December 18th, 2016 18:15

My vision is coop made goods and services that embody "green" practices. Secondly, an emphasis on "local" where a dollar spent in the community stays in the community vs. going somewhere else never to return.

To be specific, what I use to determine what products to focus on would be whatever I find in my community that I use on a day to day basis. For example, when I go out shopping I try and see everything I buy through the lens of locally made/coop made. Think of how most everything (if not all) you need in life could be sourced locally. Some things like auto fuel can be transitioned from fossil fuel to bio-fuel and then ultimately to electric. The trick is to get off the 12,000 mile supply chain while enriching the local economy. As far as "first", I think it may boil down to what is most important for daily living while being locally coop made. This is a tall order but I suppose you are right in that we start to take inventory of what it is we need most and build out from there.

I started a website as a Petri dish of sorts to address this at http://coopeden.zohosites.com. As I got further into it I noticed that what we need goes far beyond building coops to building (or re-building as the case may be) communities in general.

Matthew Andrews

Matthew Andrews December 28th, 2016 23:44

There is a website www.unionlabel.com for union made products. Unfortunately, I wouldn't call it a model to copy. The website looks like a very old design and they plaster American flags everywhere. I'd amend the proposal to include union shops. They are on the spectrum of workplace democracy and ought to be included, but not just ones from the United States obviously.