I’m Michaela, a recent graduate of Wesleyan University and a 2017-2018 Thomas J. Watson Fellow studying worker cooperatives and the greater solidarity economy abroad. Over the course of a year, I will travel to Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, and Canada to explore their cooperative economies.

Cooperatives are jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprises that unite people in order to meet common needs.

Worker-owners split their profits evenly and share control over decision-making processes. Co-ops return power to the hands of every worker, despite unequal class and identity privileges.

On my Watson year, I will travel to understand the many ways in which co-ops can flourish or fail. While I see cooperatives as a revolutionary and beautiful idea, they can stand at odds with prevailing economic systems. Global capitalism values growth and efficiency above democratic participation and worker power. Are cooperatives able to survive, principles intact, in this economy?

My blog will chronicle my research findings through writing, photo, video, and sound. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into the global solidarity economy!