Joseph Stiglitz: Co-operatives are better at managing risks

27 Oct 2016
Joseph Stiglitz

Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz sees co-operatives as a key actor in reshaping globalisation and the global economy. Prof Stiglitz spoke at the International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec, where he examined some of the great challenges facing the global economy and the role of co-operatives in addressing them.

“There is going to be volatility, and co-ops are better able to manage risks than the private sector,” he told delegates in Quebec.

A world-renowned academic, Prof Stiglitz teaches at Columbia University and has written extensively about inequality, trade agreements and the main issues affecting the world economy.

He added that many countries were witnessing growing inequality as a result of how the economy was structured.

“We should learn from co-ops,” he said. “If we do, we can reshape our economy, reshape globalisation and who we and our children are.

“These alternatives make a very big difference. I believe we can construct a world where the economy performs better for all, based on solidarity”.

Prof Stiglitz also questioned the approach of measuring social well-being by GDP.

“Some governments cut down on social security to grow GDP,” he said, “but the really important aspect is well-being. People actually feel better when they co-operate rather than being selfish.”

He referred to a recent survey conducted by the World Bank, which showed that poor people felt the main issues affecting their well-being were insecurity and lack of voice. “These are really important in terms of framing good government policy and areas where co-ops really make a difference,” he said.