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The name CCEC comes from our early manifestation, the Community Congress for Economic Change, and the board has chosen to re-explore that 'economic change' dimension of who we are. Sometimes we can see ourselves as an innovator, an advocate, and a champion. Two terms that challenge us are economic democracy, and economic justice.  Over the coming few weeks we have a community organizer meeting with a number of community groups, members and non-members, to get a reading on how people see things in our contemporary world and where CCEC can take action.

Some members may receive invitations to meetings. The conversations are expected to generate good inputs into the Board planning work scheduled for later this year. At the same time, we invite input from all members. CCEC has the potential to seed change - by being vocal, by being innovative, and by being compassionate.  We'll provide updates!   

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Alexandra Samuel

Alexandra Samuel's recent post about the sharing economy puts some great issues on the table.  The trends with car sharing, Uber, AirBnB, and other similar implementations of online apps is truly disruptive. Auto industry workers and hospitality industry workers may lose out as we re-deploy apparently share-able assets.  Geoff Meggs notes that apartment rents may go up due to competition from short-term out of town guests. Alexandra does not argue that we should protect the status quo, but, at least in part, she thinks we should manage the transition so as to ensure employment related social supports and consumer protections are preserved for the common good. The evolution of markets in the post-industrial age poses a new challenge to ordinary people.    

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So much airtime is spent on 'leadership'; is it over hyped?  The answer is yes.  The media favoured cults of personality and celebrity do not reflect the real world.  Henry Mintzberg, a McGill University professor with a distinguished record, argues that we should once again place the emphasis on 'community'.  It is people acting together that really brings 'success' and 'change'.  His blog provides a good short overview, and his piece in the Harvard Business Review is more complete.  

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Hands and Globe

The provincial government is about to launch a review of BC's credit union legislation, this review provides a moment to stop and reflect on current trends and desired outcomes. Late last year CCEC GM, Ross Gentleman, prepared a paper on BC Credit Union Futures - Trends and Choices as an attempt to stimulate some discussion and critical debate. The paper provides an overview of the history of the BC movement, the broader public benefits, and the potential consequences of consolidation (as mergers have become common).

One big issue relates to the future for smaller credit unions. Public policy appears to induce further amalgamations, and second tier credit union organizations are providing fewer supports, since the very large credit unions do not need them.  And then evolving technology and the preferences of a consumer society have introduced new competitive pressures. What is the future for these community-based institutions? 

Two credit unions now comprise more than 50% of total BC credit union assets.  The scale of these large organizations has diluted the role of members, as owners and citizen-participants. The co-operative governance model may no longer provide the accountability and direction needed. If, and that is a big if, public policy continues to implicitly promote consolidation, what provisions should be made to ensure that the interests of communities (and members) are well served? Another perspective, generally speaking to a notion of 'open co-operatives', is available on shareable.net.    

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