September 2018, Nation Books. Text republished from Nathan Schneider’s website.
A new feudalism is on the rise. From the internet to service and care, more and more industries expect people to live gig to gig, while monopolistic corporations feed their spoils to the rich. But as Nathan Schneider shows through years of in-depth reporting, there is an alternative to the robber-baron economy hiding in plain sight; we just need to know where to look.
Cooperatives are jointly owned, democratically controlled enterprises that advance the economic, social, and cultural interests of their members. They often emerge during moments of crisis not unlike our own, putting people in charge of the workplaces, credit unions, grocery stores, healthcare, and utilities they depend on. Co-ops have helped to set the rules, and raise the bar, for the wider society.
Since the financial crash of 2008, the cooperative movement has been coming back with renewed vigor. Everything for Everyone chronicles this economic and social revolution—from taxi cooperatives that are keeping Uber and Lyft at bay, to an outspoken mayor transforming his city in the Deep South, to a fugitive building a fairer version of Bitcoin, to the rural electric co-op members who are propelling an aging system into the future. As these pioneers show, cooperative enterprise is poised to help us reclaim faith in our capacity for creative, powerful democracy.
“Everything for Everyone lives up to its title. As Nathan Schneider documents, cooperative movements are everywhere—from Barcelona to Bologna, Nairobi to New York, Jackson, Oakland, Boulder, Detroit, and points in between. And they are struggling to bring everything in common—electricity, healthcare, tech, transportation, banks, land, food, knowledge, even whole cities. Spoiler alert: this is no paean to the neoliberal ‘gig economy’ but rather an historical and contemporary tour of the radical potential of cooperative economics to disrupt capitalism as we know it. It is a book for everyone and a book for our times: read it, share it, but don’t just talk about it. Commons for all!”
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
“People have always fought to forge economies based on cooperation and creativity, rather than domination and exclusion. But that work has never looked so urgent as it does today. Charting a wealth of renewable ideas, tools, and commitments that are poised to reinvent democracy, Schneider tackles an immense subject with precision and grace.”
—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything
“The time has never been better for cooperative enterprise to change how we do business. This is a guide to how a new generation is starting to make that promise into a reality.”
—Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Zero Marginal Cost Society and lecturer at the Wharton School
“Everything for Everyone proves how our vested interests are best served by addressing our common ones. In Schneider’s compelling take on the origins and future of cooperativism, working together isn’t just something we do in hard times, but the key to a future characterized by abundance and distributed prosperity. We owe ourselves, and one another, this practical wisdom.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, professor at Queens College
“Nathan Schneider is one of our era’s foremost chroniclers of social movements. Always engaging and analytically insightful, there’s simply no one I’d trust more to guide me through the latest iteration of the longstanding, international, and utterly urgent struggle to build a more cooperative world and reclaim our common wealth.”
—Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform
“A gifted writer, chronicling the world he and his compatriots are helping to make—spiritual, technological, and communal.”
—Krista Tippett, host of On Being