Martin Bright

Co-operative Capitalism: The Mother of Invention

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I was interested to read Noreena's Hertz's take on "Co-Op Capitalism" in The Times. If what she calls "Gucci Capitalism" is going the way of the command economy then what will replace it, Hertz asks.

"I believe that the conditions are in place for a new form of capitalism to arise from the debris -- co-op capitalism, with co-operation, collaboration and collective interest at its core," she adds. Wishful thinking, or is there something more to this?

Hertz is not the first person to talk about a new form of co-operative capitalism. The music business entrepreneur and all-round good egg Ben Wolff regaled the audience at the We Are Names Not Numbers symposium earlier this month with his version of the concept. Maybe its time has come.

What is certainly the case is that some people are beginning to think very hard about innovating their way out of this recession. I was impressed by the cover feature in this month's Prospect by James Crabtree and Frank Field proposing compulsory civic service, although I'd be concerned how you would distinguish between those on national civic service and those doing community punishments -- different coloured jackets?