Book Notes: Everything for Everyone (Schneider, 2018)

We are sorely in need of better models for building businesses that can serve their communities and thrive without exploiting workers or further harming the environment or society. I’m hopeful that cooperativism might be one such better model, and so I picked up Nathan Schneider’s Everything for Everyone hungry to learn more about the ongoing resurgence of the cooperative movement.

Schneider’s book is a series of vignettes from various pockets of the cooperative movement, mainly in the US and Western Europe. Some parts of the book are previously published articles, and this shows in the book’s structure: each chapter has one larger theme as its frame, but within each chapter the sections read like not entirely related stories. The book speaks more in a reporter’s style than an analyst’s. This is not a “how to” for cooperativism, and it is not a critique, either.

For me, the main value in this book was in seeing the variety of what folks are attempting in the world of cooperativism, and getting pointers to individuals and organizations doing interesting work in this space. I was left with a sense of a space with lots of ongoing experimentation (not always successful), many related but not fully connected groups and initiatives, a vague sense of hope, and not much clarity about what I would do next if I wanted to get more involved.

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