Building a Platform for Economic Democracy: A Cooperative Development Strategy for the Bronx
Cooperative development efforts over the last 25 years have been largely inspired by, and modeled on, the Mondragon experience in the Basque region of Spain. None of these efforts has achieved nearly the success of Mondragon, which stabilized and dramatically developed a regional economy through the creation and growth of a diverse set of industrial worker and supportive secondary cooperatives. US efforts in cooperative development have typically replicated some aspects of the Mondragon model but ignored others. This thesis argues that successful cooperative development requires a more complete understanding of the critical components of the Mondragon model. Drawing on the Mondragon case and on the emergent model from the Evergreen Initiative in Cleveland, I present a cooperative economic development framework made up of three components: defining a geographic area, developing a cooperative network, and designing policies based on an endogenous, import replacing economic development model. Using this framework, I then offer an initial cooperative economic development strategy for the Bronx, New York City targeting recommendations to both governmental and non-governmental organizations.
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