The Cooperative District of Imola: Forging the High Road to Globalization

Matt Hancock
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This paper represents a sort of “progress report” with respect to my field research on the cooperative district of Imola. Imola is an extremely unique social and economic “experiment” in democratic, alternative development. Home to some of Italy's oldest cooperatives – and probably the first worker-buyout as well – Imola is literally a town that has cooperation in its DNA. More than 50% of the total population of Imola are members of a cooperative, and more than half of total industrial output comes from the district's 15 industrial cooperatives, three of which are global market leaders and manage multinational networks of private subsidiaries, with sales offices and production on at least four continents. Besides industry, cooperatives are present in all sectors of the economy, from social services to agriculture and the food industry, from housing to banking, and from retail to the culture industry. Italy
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