Cooperatives

 

2016

Can Worker-Owned Cooperatives Compete?

Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton
WYPR Baltimore

John Duda, Communications Director for the Democracy Collaborative and co-founder of Red Emma’s, a worker-owned coffee shop in Baltimore, joins Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton of Baltimore's WYPR Radio to discuss worker ownership in today's economy.

Powerful, under-used tool for reducing income-inequality: broad-based ownership

Marjorie Kelly
The Hill

In this article for The Hill, Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly describes the growing movement toward broad-based ownership and how communities are coming together to take control of their local economies. Kelly highlights some of the innovative strategies used by communities on the ground, such as the cooperative ownership business conversion, which is poised to achieve expanded scale in the near future:

What can Cleveland co-ops teach Rochester?

David Riley
Democrat & Chronicle

Our work in Rochester, New York is making waves to connect the cooperative movement across the U.S. as a tool to address poverty and democratize wealth. This article details some of the key lessons learned in Cleveland, OH, where the Evergreen Cooperatives have carved a path toward success. The Democracy Collaborative is now working with the Rochester City Government to develop a plan that addresses economic inequality from a systemic lens that includes cooperative development strategies:

Can Cooperative Businesses Save Communities?

Matthew Robare
The American Conservative

This article highlights the work being facilitated by The Democracy Collaborative across the United States to help incubate cooperative business and change city economies from the ground up:

Want to Hire a Worker-Owned Co-op? There’s an App for That

Michelle Stearn
Yes! Magazine

Originally published on Community-Wealth.org, this article by The Democracy Collaborative's Michelle Stearn highlights the work of Si Se Puede!, the Robin Hood Foundation, and a Cornell Tech graduate student program, all of whom converged as a team to develop an app for worker cooperative bookings:

2015

Can the Real Sharing Economy Please Stand Up?

Nina Feldman
Next City

In the wake of the BP oil spill, co-op businesses are on the rise in New Orleans

How Economic Development Can Build 'Community Wealth'

Anne Field
Forbes

Journalist Anne Field unpacts the Democracy Collaborative publication Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth, highlighting the eleven case studies from the original report.

Is it Time for a New New Deal?

James M. Larkin and Zach Goldhammer
The Nation
Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? The Democracy Collaborative's Gar Alperovitz, alongside other economists and activists, sheds light on the issue.

2014

Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Economy

Bruce Seifer
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal

In the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, localist Bruce Seifer presents an excerpt from his new book that describes the shift in Burlington, Vermont's economic development strategy from one that seeks corporate subsidies to one based on building local entrepreneurship. Seifer gives an overview of the city's long-term economic vision and describes the city's efforts to convert business into employee-owned companies and to provide technical assistance to locally owned firms.

The Cooperative Economy

Gar Alperovitz
Orion

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz expands on his vision of a cooperative and community-sustaining economy with Editor Scott Gast of Orion magazine.

Cooperative Movement Should Embrace Discussion of Systemic Issues

Thomas Hanna

Andrew McLeod recently wrote an excellent and thoughtful response to my article (with Gar Alperovitz) on Mondragón and issues of systemic design. In an effort to continue the constructive dialogue around this important topic, I offer this rejoinder.[1]

2013

Mondragón and the System Problem

Gar Alperovitz and Thomas Hanna
Truthout

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Researcher Thomas Hanna discuss the challenge of sustaining and building participatory decision-making structures and organizations within a corporate capitalist system. They note the recent bankruptcy filing of Fagor Electrodomésticos Group, the principle company of the Mondragon Corporation, as an impetus to confront the institutional incompatibilities between the free market and cooperative forms.

Why Unions Are Going Into the Co-op Business: The steelworkers deal that could turn the rust belt green.

Amy Dean
Yes! Magazine

In a recent article in YES! Magazine –— whose Spring 2013 issue is centered on cooperatives in the new economy — author Amy Dean looks at how the United Steelworkers (USW) union is aiming to use employee-run businesses to create new, middle-class jobs to replace union work that has shifted overseas. Union co-ops differ from other worker-owned co-ops in that they allow worker-owners to appoint a management team and then bargain collectively with management. Citing the Evergreen Cooperatives as a model, USW has started pilot cooperative organizing efforts in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the Pittsburgh Clean and Green Laundry Cooperative and the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative. The latter already has one co-op up and running — an urban food hub enterprise called Our Harvest.

A New Era for Worker Ownership, 5 Years in the Making

Kari Lydersen
In these Times

Last month, New Era Windows Cooperative opened as a worker-owned cooperative in Chicago after a five-year struggle to preserve their livelihoods. This In These Times article by author Kari Lydersen details the workers’ struggle that began in 2008 when Republic Windows and Doors threatened to shutter the factory, inspiring the workers to occupy the facility.  After the new buyer Serious Metals failed to bring the business back, the workers decided to take matters into their own hands, negotiating a buy-out of all the equipment and the facility itself with the help of the United Electrical Workers union. The new worker-owners worked with the microfinance group The Working World to help finance the purchase and with the Center for Workplace Democracy to learn the ins-and-outs of business management.

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

Harvesting the Prairie Wind

Dan Campbell, ed.
Rural COOPERATIVES, volume 74, number 6

2006

A Cooperative Solution

Riccardo Lotti, Peter Mensing and Davide Valenti
Strategy+Business

2005

2004

2003

2002

1990

1983

Living in the U.X.A.

John Curl
East Bay Express, volume 6, number 5

n/a

2015

2014

Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens' Economy

Joe Guinan, Marjorie Kelly and Thomas Hanna

Democracy Collaborative senior fellows Marjorie Kelly and Joe Guinan and senior researcher Thomas Hanna each contribute chapters to a new free e-book, Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens' Economy. The authors discuss economic institutions, alternative economic system designs, and forms of democratic ownership. This open Democracy and Politics in Spires series, hosted by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, advances the conversation on visioning an economic system that serves the common good.

Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement

Thomas Hanna

How can we scale up the cooperative movement without losing our cooperative values?  That is the question contributors seek to answer in this collection of essays.  Contributors include Hilary Abell, Michael Johnson, Joe Guinan and Caitlin Quigley, along with contributing editors Thomas Hanna, Andrew McLeod and Len Krimerman.

2009

2006

2003

2002

2000

1999

1996

1992

2015

2014

2013

Trade unions and worker cooperatives: Where are we at?

Jose Orbaiceta, Bruno Dobrusin, Pierre Patry, Claude Dorion, Arildo Mota Lopes, João Antônio Felício, Léopold Beaulieu, Jean Bergevin, Pierre Laliberté, Marina Monaco, Luca Pastorelli, Rob Witherell and Stirling Smith

With overlapping histories and common goals of democratic organizing, trade unions and worker cooperatives are potentially natural partners in fostering inclusive economies. A recent issue of the International Journal of Labor Research showcases this emerging strategic alliance, providing case studies of joint initiatives in Latin American, East Africa, Canada, and the United States. The authors also consider the challenges of these partnerships and suggest solutions to overcome fractures between the movements.

Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade

Cliff Mills and Will Davies

The International Cooperative Alliance's newly released paper, Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade lays out their “2020 Challenge,” which aims to position the cooperative form of business as the world’s leading model in economic, social, and environmental sustainability  by the end of the decade. 

2011

2010

2009

When Big Co-ops Fail

Peter Couchman and Murray Fulton

The international co-operative movement has seen a series of catastrophic failures of large scale co-operatives in recent decades, such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, retail co-ops in Germany, France and Atlantic Canada, banking in Austria and the near meltdown of the Co-operative Group in the UK. Yet our co-operative culture has not been one of seeking to understand the factors which are common in these events and which, if understood, could be used to prevent such collapses in the future. 

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

Non-agricultural Cooperatives in Rural Areas: 14 case studies

Kimberly Zeuli, David Freshwater, Deborah Markley and David Barkley
Case Study Series, Case Study 1

2002

1994

2016

Taking Employee Ownership to Scale: Learning + Design Session

Democracy at Work Institute, The Democracy Collaborative

On June 13 and 14, 2016 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. Co-hosts for the meeting were Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Bonanno of The Democracy Collaborative and Camille Kerr of Democracy at Work Institute. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050. This report summarizes and expands upon the June meeting:

Energy Democracy: Co-op Power, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green explores how a consumer-owned cooperative approach can support multiple strategies to build energy democracy in this report.

We Own It: A Guide to Worker Co-ops in NYC

Ingrid Haftel and Sandy Xu
The Center for Urban Pedagogy

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) teamed up with Sunset Park-based Center for Family Life, designer Amanda Buck, and illustrator Melissa Crowton to create We Own It, a fold-out poster that breaks down how worker co-ops work. Visuals and text in Spanish and English compare worker co-ops to typical businesses, explain the steps that go into starting or joining one, and show what a day on the job looks like for a worker-owner. 

Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.

2015

Energy Democracy: Namasté Solar, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green authored this report, highlighting the successes of Namasté Solar in democratizing energy in Colorado:

Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives—Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees

Alison Lingane and Shannon Rieger

These 12 case studies explore the practical promises and pitfalls of converting existing businesses to worker cooperative ownership—a key strategy for building more democratic workplaces. 

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

2014

2013

Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives

Johnston, Birchall

Released by the International Labor Organization, this report focuses on how financial cooperatives survived the global economic crisis and succeeded while many investor-owned banks struggled. Tracing their history from Germany in the 1850s to the present, the author, Johnston Birchall shows how these financial cooperatives continue to provide banking services to people with low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies and to create employment. The report recommends that government promote and partner with financial cooperatives as a means of fostering stability, development and poverty alleviation. 

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders

Neal Gorenflo and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar

This policy primer from Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center catalogues innovative local policies that city governments have used to help residents share resources, co-produce, and create their own jobs. Focusing on food, housing, transportation, and job sharing, this guide is intended to help cities build community wealth and develop more resilient and democratic local economies. More broadly, the sharing economy highlights how governments can structure infrastructure, services, incentives, and regulations to support this new economy.

2012

2010

2009

2008

2006

2004

2003

2002

n/a

Can Worker-Owned Cooperatives Compete?

Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton
WYPR Baltimore

John Duda, Communications Director for the Democracy Collaborative and co-founder of Red Emma’s, a worker-owned coffee shop in Baltimore, joins Sheilah Kast and Andrea Appleton of Baltimore's WYPR Radio to discuss worker ownership in today's economy.

Powerful, under-used tool for reducing income-inequality: broad-based ownership

Marjorie Kelly
The Hill

In this article for The Hill, Democracy Collaborative Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly describes the growing movement toward broad-based ownership and how communities are coming together to take control of their local economies. Kelly highlights some of the innovative strategies used by communities on the ground, such as the cooperative ownership business conversion, which is poised to achieve expanded scale in the near future:

What can Cleveland co-ops teach Rochester?

David Riley
Democrat & Chronicle

Our work in Rochester, New York is making waves to connect the cooperative movement across the U.S. as a tool to address poverty and democratize wealth. This article details some of the key lessons learned in Cleveland, OH, where the Evergreen Cooperatives have carved a path toward success. The Democracy Collaborative is now working with the Rochester City Government to develop a plan that addresses economic inequality from a systemic lens that includes cooperative development strategies:

Can Cooperative Businesses Save Communities?

Matthew Robare
The American Conservative

This article highlights the work being facilitated by The Democracy Collaborative across the United States to help incubate cooperative business and change city economies from the ground up:

Want to Hire a Worker-Owned Co-op? There’s an App for That

Michelle Stearn
Yes! Magazine

Originally published on Community-Wealth.org, this article by The Democracy Collaborative's Michelle Stearn highlights the work of Si Se Puede!, the Robin Hood Foundation, and a Cornell Tech graduate student program, all of whom converged as a team to develop an app for worker cooperative bookings:

Can the Real Sharing Economy Please Stand Up?

Nina Feldman
Next City

In the wake of the BP oil spill, co-op businesses are on the rise in New Orleans

How Economic Development Can Build 'Community Wealth'

Anne Field
Forbes

Journalist Anne Field unpacts the Democracy Collaborative publication Educate and Empower: Tools for Building Community Wealth, highlighting the eleven case studies from the original report.

Is it Time for a New New Deal?

James M. Larkin and Zach Goldhammer
The Nation
Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? The Democracy Collaborative's Gar Alperovitz, alongside other economists and activists, sheds light on the issue.

Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Economy

Bruce Seifer
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal

In the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, localist Bruce Seifer presents an excerpt from his new book that describes the shift in Burlington, Vermont's economic development strategy from one that seeks corporate subsidies to one based on building local entrepreneurship. Seifer gives an overview of the city's long-term economic vision and describes the city's efforts to convert business into employee-owned companies and to provide technical assistance to locally owned firms.

The Cooperative Economy

Gar Alperovitz
Orion

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz expands on his vision of a cooperative and community-sustaining economy with Editor Scott Gast of Orion magazine.

Cooperative Movement Should Embrace Discussion of Systemic Issues

Thomas Hanna

Andrew McLeod recently wrote an excellent and thoughtful response to my article (with Gar Alperovitz) on Mondragón and issues of systemic design. In an effort to continue the constructive dialogue around this important topic, I offer this rejoinder.[1]

Mondragón and the System Problem

Gar Alperovitz and Thomas Hanna
Truthout

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz and Senior Researcher Thomas Hanna discuss the challenge of sustaining and building participatory decision-making structures and organizations within a corporate capitalist system. They note the recent bankruptcy filing of Fagor Electrodomésticos Group, the principle company of the Mondragon Corporation, as an impetus to confront the institutional incompatibilities between the free market and cooperative forms.

Why Unions Are Going Into the Co-op Business: The steelworkers deal that could turn the rust belt green.

Amy Dean
Yes! Magazine

In a recent article in YES! Magazine –— whose Spring 2013 issue is centered on cooperatives in the new economy — author Amy Dean looks at how the United Steelworkers (USW) union is aiming to use employee-run businesses to create new, middle-class jobs to replace union work that has shifted overseas. Union co-ops differ from other worker-owned co-ops in that they allow worker-owners to appoint a management team and then bargain collectively with management. Citing the Evergreen Cooperatives as a model, USW has started pilot cooperative organizing efforts in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the Pittsburgh Clean and Green Laundry Cooperative and the Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative. The latter already has one co-op up and running — an urban food hub enterprise called Our Harvest.

A New Era for Worker Ownership, 5 Years in the Making

Kari Lydersen
In these Times

Last month, New Era Windows Cooperative opened as a worker-owned cooperative in Chicago after a five-year struggle to preserve their livelihoods. This In These Times article by author Kari Lydersen details the workers’ struggle that began in 2008 when Republic Windows and Doors threatened to shutter the factory, inspiring the workers to occupy the facility.  After the new buyer Serious Metals failed to bring the business back, the workers decided to take matters into their own hands, negotiating a buy-out of all the equipment and the facility itself with the help of the United Electrical Workers union. The new worker-owners worked with the microfinance group The Working World to help finance the purchase and with the Center for Workplace Democracy to learn the ins-and-outs of business management.

Harvesting the Prairie Wind

Dan Campbell, ed.
Rural COOPERATIVES, volume 74, number 6

A Cooperative Solution

Riccardo Lotti, Peter Mensing and Davide Valenti
Strategy+Business

Living in the U.X.A.

John Curl
East Bay Express, volume 6, number 5

Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens' Economy

Joe Guinan, Marjorie Kelly and Thomas Hanna

Democracy Collaborative senior fellows Marjorie Kelly and Joe Guinan and senior researcher Thomas Hanna each contribute chapters to a new free e-book, Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens' Economy. The authors discuss economic institutions, alternative economic system designs, and forms of democratic ownership. This open Democracy and Politics in Spires series, hosted by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, advances the conversation on visioning an economic system that serves the common good.

Scaling Up the Cooperative Movement

Thomas Hanna

How can we scale up the cooperative movement without losing our cooperative values?  That is the question contributors seek to answer in this collection of essays.  Contributors include Hilary Abell, Michael Johnson, Joe Guinan and Caitlin Quigley, along with contributing editors Thomas Hanna, Andrew McLeod and Len Krimerman.

Trade unions and worker cooperatives: Where are we at?

Jose Orbaiceta, Bruno Dobrusin, Pierre Patry, Claude Dorion, Arildo Mota Lopes, João Antônio Felício, Léopold Beaulieu, Jean Bergevin, Pierre Laliberté, Marina Monaco, Luca Pastorelli, Rob Witherell and Stirling Smith

With overlapping histories and common goals of democratic organizing, trade unions and worker cooperatives are potentially natural partners in fostering inclusive economies. A recent issue of the International Journal of Labor Research showcases this emerging strategic alliance, providing case studies of joint initiatives in Latin American, East Africa, Canada, and the United States. The authors also consider the challenges of these partnerships and suggest solutions to overcome fractures between the movements.

Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade

Cliff Mills and Will Davies

The International Cooperative Alliance's newly released paper, Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade lays out their “2020 Challenge,” which aims to position the cooperative form of business as the world’s leading model in economic, social, and environmental sustainability  by the end of the decade. 

When Big Co-ops Fail

Peter Couchman and Murray Fulton

The international co-operative movement has seen a series of catastrophic failures of large scale co-operatives in recent decades, such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, retail co-ops in Germany, France and Atlantic Canada, banking in Austria and the near meltdown of the Co-operative Group in the UK. Yet our co-operative culture has not been one of seeking to understand the factors which are common in these events and which, if understood, could be used to prevent such collapses in the future. 

Non-agricultural Cooperatives in Rural Areas: 14 case studies

Kimberly Zeuli, David Freshwater, Deborah Markley and David Barkley
Case Study Series, Case Study 1

Taking Employee Ownership to Scale: Learning + Design Session

Democracy at Work Institute, The Democracy Collaborative

On June 13 and 14, 2016 in Washington, DC, many of the nation’s leading experts in employee ownership, sustainable business and finance, community and economic development, and philanthropy came together in a Learning + Design session. Co-hosts for the meeting were Marjorie Kelly and Jessica Bonanno of The Democracy Collaborative and Camille Kerr of Democracy at Work Institute. The purpose of the session was to discuss how to achieve unprecedented scale of employee ownership by focusing on achieving an audacious goal: 50 million U.S. employee-owners by 2050. This report summarizes and expands upon the June meeting:

Energy Democracy: Co-op Power, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green explores how a consumer-owned cooperative approach can support multiple strategies to build energy democracy in this report.

We Own It: A Guide to Worker Co-ops in NYC

Ingrid Haftel and Sandy Xu
The Center for Urban Pedagogy

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) teamed up with Sunset Park-based Center for Family Life, designer Amanda Buck, and illustrator Melissa Crowton to create We Own It, a fold-out poster that breaks down how worker co-ops work. Visuals and text in Spanish and English compare worker co-ops to typical businesses, explain the steps that go into starting or joining one, and show what a day on the job looks like for a worker-owner. 

Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.

Energy Democracy: Namasté Solar, a profile in cooperative ownership

Jarrid Green
Center for Social Inclusion

Our Research Associate Jarrid Green authored this report, highlighting the successes of Namasté Solar in democratizing energy in Colorado:

Case Studies: Business Conversions to Worker Cooperatives—Insights and Readiness Factors for Owners and Employees

Alison Lingane and Shannon Rieger

These 12 case studies explore the practical promises and pitfalls of converting existing businesses to worker cooperative ownership—a key strategy for building more democratic workplaces. 

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

Resilience in a downturn: The power of financial cooperatives

Johnston, Birchall

Released by the International Labor Organization, this report focuses on how financial cooperatives survived the global economic crisis and succeeded while many investor-owned banks struggled. Tracing their history from Germany in the 1850s to the present, the author, Johnston Birchall shows how these financial cooperatives continue to provide banking services to people with low incomes, to stabilize the banking system, to regenerate local economies and to create employment. The report recommends that government promote and partner with financial cooperatives as a means of fostering stability, development and poverty alleviation. 

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders

Neal Gorenflo and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar

This policy primer from Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center catalogues innovative local policies that city governments have used to help residents share resources, co-produce, and create their own jobs. Focusing on food, housing, transportation, and job sharing, this guide is intended to help cities build community wealth and develop more resilient and democratic local economies. More broadly, the sharing economy highlights how governments can structure infrastructure, services, incentives, and regulations to support this new economy.