Redesigning Work for a Cooperative, Regenerative Economy
What would it look like if everyone were doing the work they loved, what they felt called to do? What if everyone had the opportunity to build their skills to their maximum capabilities and then apply them to making their communities whole and beautiful?
Let’s find out!
Communities around the world have long practiced successful models for economic self-sufficiency. Among these mechanisms are:
Timebanking which contributes to community building through the mutually beneficial exchange of services among neighbors
Price-based mutual credit which creates liquidity within networks of local businesses
Cooperative savings and lending which pools resources, builds capacity, and extends community wealth
Cooperative ownership which provides collective use of resources that are difficult to access individually
While each strategy has been effective in limited local contexts, each can only go so far toward addressing shortcomings in the formal money-based economy.
Mutual Aid Networks (MANs) represent a new and unique way to connect these mechanisms into
a system that maximizes the strengths of each one. The mission of MANs is “To create means for everyone to discover and succeed in work they want to do, with the support of their community.” Together, they provide the tools needed to redesign how resources are pooled and allocated to support meaningful work and to fill unmet community needs.
Individual Mutual Aid Networks comprise sites interested in combining more than one complementary economic mechanism in a local context. Local Mutual Aid Networks are connected by an umbrella cooperative, HUMANs (humans united in mutual aid networks), incorporated in Wisconsin and designed for global membership. The purpose of HUMANs is to provide a platform and process for knowledge and resource-sharing and collaboration among all local MANs and their supporters.
Eight MAN pilot sites are emerging in such diverse locations as: Lansing, MI; St. Louis, MO; Allentown, PA; and Providence, RI. Various international venues are also participating in this emerging network, including Hull, UK and Bergnek, South Africa.
Together we aim to create a highly adaptable and replicable framework to bring cooperative economic life to scale from the bottom up. Finally, you’ll be able to do great work and have your dream job working for the MAN!