QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Before 2,800 leaders from the most important cooperatives around the world, renowned economist, philosopher and prolific author Jacques Attali argued that cooperatives can provide solutions to the major challenges facing the world. "We now live in a global market economy, but rule of law is still national. This globalization without rule of law is the root cause of all the crises we are experiencing - financial, environmental and so on. The cooperative model is the model of the future, because it can reconcile the market economy with democracy. And it creates these compatibility conditions within the market economy itself," Mr. Attali began.
Promoting a "positive economy"
"We need to help create a 'positive economy,' said Mr. Attali, that is, "an economy where profitability is a condition of survival but not an end in itself. Cooperatives are part of this positive economy whose mission - if things go well - is to replace traditional capitalism."
Continuing on this theme, Mr. Attali said that the market economy, as defined by traditional capitalism, cannot define a balanced economy. "The market economy does not allow for the best allocation of resources and it's the State that will compensate to ensure balance. But in a global market economy, there is no State to ensure a balanced global economy," he said. Mr. Attali talked about the "Somalization" of the global economy, where, like Somalia, the economy dominates without being regulated by true rule of law.
Challenges facing the cooperative model
Because it is able to take into account factors not intrinsic to capitalism (the interests of consumers, the environment, etc.), the cooperative model can address the issues presented by globalization. "The major challenges of today concern the impact we have on future generations," he said, while encouraging cooperatives to find democratic ways to take into account the interests of future generations in the decisions they make today.
He then invited cooperatives to work more closely with NGOs, in the context of global governance. "Cooperatives and NGOs share the same values, and seek what is good for the next generation. They come from the same family."
Still speaking in the context of global governance, Mr. Attali said he hopes that cooperatives claim a global institutional presence, comparable to that of the United Nations. This would, he believes, be the basis of "a community that thinks of the interests of future generations, rather than the juxtaposition of national interests." Mr. Attali concluded his speech with a powerful message of peace: "The beginning of the 19th century, just like that of the 20th century, was marked by violence and chaos; it's up to us to ensure that the 21st century doesn't turn out the same way."
SOURCE: 2012 INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT OF COOPERATIVES
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