From DAVID BOLLIER
On The Commons
Cooperatives employ more people than multinational companies
There’s more than Olympics and Elections going on in the coming months. 2012 has been named International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations  in recognition of the fact that more than 800 million people around the world belong to one of these economic networks. Coops flourish in all sectors of the economy proving that economic efficiency and equitability can co-exist. They represent a commons-based alternative to both the private market and state controlled enterprises.
Four in ten Canadians are coop members (70 percent in the province of Quebec). In the U.S. 25 percent of the population belongs to at least one coop ranging from credit unions to food coops to major firms like REI and Land O’ Lakes dairy, according to the International Co-Operative Alliance  In Belgium, coops account for 20 percent of pharmacies: in Brazil, 37 percent of all agricultural production is from coops; in Singapore, coops account for 55 percent of supermarket purchases: in Bolivia, one credit union handles 25 percent of all savings; in Korea and Japan, 90 percent of farmers belong to coops; in Kenya, coops account for 45 percent of the GDP; in Finland, 34 percent of forestry products, 74 percent of meat and 96 percent of dairy products come from coops.
Around the world, coops provide 100 million jobs, 20 percent more than multinational companies. But what’s most remarkable is how little attention they receive in business coverage or anywhere else.
“We may be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.”— Gar Alperovitz
While a great many commons seek to develop alternatives to conventional businesses – and even to bypass markets altogether – the struggle to democratize capital should not be lost in the shuffle. Popular ownership of capital