Cooperative book endorsed by Vandana Shiva

Capital and the Debt Trap: Learning from Cooperatives in the Global Crisis

By Claudia Sanchez Bajo and Bruno Roelants

Palgrave MacMillan (2013)

The recent financial crisis has had a devastating impact around the globe. Thousands of businesses have closed down and millions of jobs have been cut. Many people have lost their homes. Capital and the Debt Trap explains how key economies have fallen into a ‘debt trap’, linking the financial sphere to the real economy, and goes beyond, looking into alternatives to the constant stream of financial bubbles and shocks. Overlooked by many, cooperatives across the world have been relatively resilient throughout the crisis. Through four case studies (the transformation of a French industrial SME in crisis into a cooperative, a fishery cooperative in Mexico, the Desjardins Cooperative Group in Quebec and the Mondragon Group in the Basque country of Spain), the book explores their strategies and type of control, providing an in-depth analysis within a broader debate on wealth generation and a sustainable future.

Vandana Shiva, the internationally known environment activist, recently wrote: “We have been falsely made to believe that competition is the way nature and society work. However, greed and competition are dis-values imposed by corporate rule. Both nature and society work on the principles of co-operation. In CAPITAL AND THE DEBT TRAP – Learning from Cooperatives in the Global Crisis Bruno Roelants and Claudia Sanchez Bajo show us how an economy based on co-operation can address the deep crisis we face.”

Earlier endorsements. Vandana Shiva’s recent endorsement comes after other ones received from a number of academics, among whom Noam Chomsky (MIT, USA), James Galbraith (Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, USA), Jean Ziegler (University of Geneva), Paul Singer (University of São Paulo, presently Brazilian Secretary of State for the Solidarity Economy), Louis Favreau (Université du Québec, Canada), George Irvin (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), Robin Murray (London School of Economics), Stephen Yeo (previously Principal of Ruskin College, Oxford), Yves Cabannes (University College London), Peter Davies (University of Leicester, UK), and Anis Chowdhury (Western Sydney University, Australia). The late Prof. Ian MacPherson from Victoria University, Canada, drafted the foreword of the book.

How to buy the book? The book can be purchased directly from the Palgrave website at: The cost for the second paperback edition (December 2013 under a paperback format for the price of 19.99 British Pounds (around 22.7 € or 31.3 US$). For academic institutions in North America, the book can also be ordered through Raincoast or Indigo, or through Ashton Quinn, the Palgrave university representative in North America (

Blog and Facebook page. You are welcome to visit the book blog at , to read new comments and texts on the book, but also to leave your own comments. You can also follow us on facebook at

About the authors:

§ Claudia Sanchez Bajo, PhD in Development Studies (ISS, The Hague), is Chair in Cooperative Enterprises at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. She previously taught in The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, China and several Latin American countries at pre-graduate and MA levels, and published among other titles: “The political Economy of Regionalism – Business Actors in Mercosur in the Petrochemical and Steel Sectors” (2001) and contributed to the book “The Political Economy of Regions and Regionalism” (Shaw, Boas and Marchand. Eds., Palgrave 2005).

§ Bruno Roelants, Master in Labour Studies (ISS, The Hague), is Secretary General of CICOPA, the sectoral organization of the International Cooperative Alliance for industrial, handicraft and service cooperatives, and its European organization CECOP CICOPA-Europe. He was previously responsible for cooperative development projects in China, India and Central and Eastern Europe. He coordinated the cooperative organisations in the negotiations in 2001-2002 in Geneva on the ILO Recommendation 193 on the promotion of cooperatives. He has taught on cooperatives and local development in Italy. He has edited “Cooperatives and Social Enterprises – Governance and Normative Frameworks” (CECOP, 2009), and is a co-author of “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs” (CECOP, 2011).

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