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Of Cheeseheads, Co-0ps, and Cities

Whatever their partisan hue, Cheeseheads seem to think that cooperatives are always worth considering as a possible way of organizing things.  Southwest Wisconsin alone is home to innumerable cheese and utility co-operatives, while in my hometown of Madison, co-ops provide everything from groceries to rides to the airport.  But maybe Madison and other cities should not just welcome co-ops, but be managed like them.  That may sound a bit too progressive even for the town some like to call “100 square miles surrounded by reality.”  But according to The Economist (July 13, 2013; p. 60), “Joseph Chamberlain, a retired mayor of Birmingham in England, likened the government of cities to a ‘joint stock or co-operative enterprise in which every citizen is a shareholder, and of which the dividends are receivable in the improved health and the increase in the comfort and happiness of the community.’”  The year?  —1892.

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