The Cooperative Economy

A Solution to Societal Grand Challenges

By Dovev Lavie

Book description

Societal grand challenges have taken a toll on humanity, which finds itself at a crossroads. The concentration of wealth and economic inequality, the dominance of Big Tech firms, the loss of privacy and free choice, and the overconsumption and abuse of natural resources have been reinforced by globalization. Regulation, legislation, international treaties, and government and corporate policies have fallen short of offering sufficient remedies. This book identifies the root cause of these problems and offers a bold solution: a new economic system, free from the design flaws that have contributed to these societal grand challenges.


The proposed cooperative economy is an ethical community-driven exchange system that relies on collective action to promote societal values while accounting for resource constrains. Unlike the modern economic system that is predominantly driven by opportunistic behavior, the cooperative economy moves away from a materialistic orientation and follows a more balanced perspective that leverages prosocial behavior. The book explains how this new system adopts design principles that promote self-sufficiency of communities, sustainability and entrepreneurship while limiting overconsumption and excessive profit making. It enhances economic equality by leveraging price subsidization and by restricting salary differences. The book describes how the system serves the interests of consumers, vendors, and employees while preventing the accumulation of power by the platform owner who operates this system.


The book is invaluable reading for policymakers who have been searching for solutions to some of the grand challenges that our society faces, and to managers who have sought alternative ways to cope with platform ecosystems, resource shortages, and supply chain disruptions. It revisits long-held assumptions, offering a treatise and food for thought, as well as a plan for concrete action. The book is also highly relevant to scholars and students in the study of economics, strategy, innovation, and public policy and to all readers who are concerned about the future of our planet and society.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Some Imperfections of the Modern Economic System

2.1 Wealth concentration and economic inequality 

2.2 The grip of ecosystem platform owners 

2.3 Loss of privacy and private choice 

2.4 Overconsumption and abuse of natural resources 

2.5 Some drawbacks of globalization 

2.6 Putting the problems in perspective: it comes down to greed


Chapter 3: Insufficient Attempts to Contain the Problems

3.1 Promoting economic equality 

3.2 Restraining platform owners 

3.3 Regulating data protection and privacy 

3.4 Enhancing sustainability 

3.5 Revisiting globalization 

3.6 Putting the solutions in perspective


Chapter 4: Laying the Foundations for the Cooperative Economy

4.1 Paying it forward versus greed 

4.2 The emergence of prosocial behavior 

4.3 Guiding principles for designing the cooperative economy

4.4 Neither capitalism nor communism

4.5 Comparison to other alternative economic models


Chapter 5: A Practical Guide for the Cooperative Economy

5.1 Admission to the system

5.2 Price setting 

5.3 Purchase limits

5.4 Quality ratings 

5.5 Consumer and vendor privileges 

5.6 Vendor and consumer responsibilities 

5.7 Platform operator responsibilities

5.8 Barter and donations 

5.9 Fundraising and marketing


Chapter 6: Conclusion and an Invitation

6.1 Prime time for action 

6.2 From exploitation to cooperation 

6.3 Overcoming the pitfalls 

6.4 A call for action