Co-operatives: the shield of Greece

Greece was one of the European countries who faced the hardest consequences of the 2008 financial crises and thereafter had to realize hard reforms to be able to stay in the European Union. In the business sector a great number of small and medium-sized enterprises went bankrupt: hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed down since 2008.

co-operatives

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Drugs deception by pharmacies

‘It is normal for pharmaceutical companies to have profit margins of over 20%. This is relatively high compared to other sectors, and as high as the profit in the software industry. The profit can not be explained by the high risk of investment in specific related R & D processes ‘(COM Report SEO, 2014). The explanation is that pharmaceutical companies often abuse their monopoly position of a specific drug and thereby demand an irreplaceable high price for the drug. ‘To keep expensive drugs affordable, profit margins for pharmaceutical companies should be tied to a maximum. That says Wouter Bos, chairman of the VU medical center in Amsterdam. According to Bos, a profit standard of maximum 10% is necessary because the pharmaceutical industry itself only comes with nonsense solutions’ (FD, 2017). They save on providing cheap, commonly used drugs by the GP to pay new expensive cancer therapies, which cost between 50.00 and 150.000 euros per patient each year.

medicijnen

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The eavesdropping act in Holland: yes or no?

The eavesdropping act

There is an eavesdropping act on the way that allows the tapping of civilians on a large scale. Not only suspects, but also innocent civilians, can be tapped of for security. ‘The act ensures that intelligence services AIVD and MIVD have more powers. At the moment, they can only tap very focused internet traffic: if they know which connection they want to tap into. From January 1, they may also tap into larger volumes of traffic, searching for suspicious patterns’ (NOS, 2017). That’s why it’s called the drag-act. In addition, the data collected may be kept for three years, which got a lot of criticism from the members of the Council of State who are wondering if this is in line with the European Human Rights Convention.

afluisterwet

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Like a Rolling Stone

‘How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone’

Rolling Stone is for sale. The magazine was named after Bob Dylan’s song Like a Rolling Stone. Dylan has been on the cover of the magazine many times and gave many interviews what is rare for him. He is known as the man who gave the music content and spirit through his poetic texts. Last year, he still received the Nobel Prize of Literature. Poetry can be interpreted in many ways but many of his songs are considered protest songs. The UltimateClassicRock site provides an overview of his top 10 protest songs.

Five powerful peace quotes and acts

1. John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

´Knowing their March 20, 1969 marriage would be a huge press event, John and Yoko decided to use the publicity to promote world peace. They spent their honeymoon in the presidential suite (Room 702) at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for a week between March 25th and 31st’ (Wikipedia, 2017). The Amsterdam Bed-In was very popular by their fans, and received a great deal of press coverage. Following the event John and Yoko sent oak nuts to the heads of state in various countries around the world with the goal that they would plant them as a symbol of peace.

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Catalonia’s struggle for independence

For centuries, Catalans have rebelled against Spain. In 1640, for example, after a 12-year protest, they lost the battle against the Spanish government. Within the next centuries, Catalonia largely retained its own laws. But gradually the monarchy started to adapt the local laws to the central authority. This led to several civil wars where Catalonia was on the losing side and lost more of its autonomy (Wikipedia, 2017).

In the second half of the 19th century Catalonia became a major industrial center. This fact contributed to the October Revolution of 1934, in which Catalonia declared independence but also this revolt was knocked down. In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out: in Catalonia, anarchists came to power and conducted an anti-capitalist revolution. Subsequently, ‘in 1939, the Nationalists won the victory, and the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco was a major blow to the region. All that was Catalan, or better all that, according to the dictator, was non-Spanish, was strictly prohibited during this period. Violations were heavily punished. After Franco’s death in 1975, Spain ended 36 years of dictatorship. Three years later, the region gained a stronger cultural character and a little more political autonomy’ (Wikpedia, 2017).

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Revolutionary Business Management by Ricardo Semler

Semco’s huge growth spurt
Semco is a company made large by Ricardo Semler. Among the activities of the company are Industrial Machine Construction, Semco Ventures (High Tech and Internet Services) and SemcoHR (Human Resources). Annual sales rose by $ 4 million from Ricardo Semler in 1982 to $ 35 million in 1994, with n aannual growth that is always over 25 percent and sometimes even 40 percent. The company had 3,000 employees in 2003, compared with 90 in 1982 ‘…’ As of 2003, Semco had annual sales of $ 212 million. In 2010, the company had more than 5000 employees. ” In addition, during the Brazilian hyperinflation, Ricardo Semler also prevented Semco’s bankruptcy in 1990.

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The succes of Mondragon: Spain’s giant co-operative

Overview

In 1956 graduates of a local technical college founded Mondragon in the town of Mondragoe. The northern Spanish town now has become a corporation of 100 smaller cooperatives which operates in four areas: finance, industry, retail, and knowledge. In 2013, the corporation posted a total revenue of over €12 billion and about 74.000 employed, making it Spain’s fourth-largest industrial and tenth-largest financial group.

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Social capital problems between the poorest in Mexico

The Recepac network becomes Reocone
This blog is based on my graduation thesis that compares the Mexican Reocone ‘network’ (co-operative) with it predecessor Recepac. Until 1997 Recepac was a national network which included four states in Mexico. The Chiapanecan part of the network (Chiapas ia a Mexican state), with 14 member organisations (coffeeproducers, women- and religious organizations) against four organizations in all of the other states, chose to become independent. The main reason for that was that the Chiapanecan part of the network proved to be the only state with an important contribution in size and impact compared to the four organizations in the other states. All of the 14 organizations of Recepac remained in the later Chipanecan Reocone network, with no change in their main goal to fight their poverty by helping eachother.

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Learning from co-operation: anti-poverty co-operatives in Holland

Peer’M: Social co-operatives Against Poverty.

On September 29th, the national manifestation ‘Peer’M! Out of poverty, on the road to social security! isorganized by the Platform Social Alliance; the Dutch national network of poverty alleviation. The affiliated social partnerships aim to: rise poverty above the poverty line. September 29th, a four-year review of basic initiatives and steps will be made by and about social co-operatives in the Netherlands. ‘The focus is on the new relationships between citizens and government in public tasks’. Twelve initiatives have already been described in detail on the website Initiatief.nu. These are co-operatives of collaborative peer-to-peer experience experts who, each from their own expertise, try to get out of poverty through often completely new creative initiatives, thus creating life-security for themselves and others.

One of these the Free Exit initiative describes the core of a social co-operation: “We want to involve people in decision-making completely. We decide together about all things that involve a cooperative. We also have equal voting rights; there is no boss. We choose to be a co-operative because we really form it to the feeling of our being and how we-want-it-together. Especially that ‘together’ feeling is very important. ‘ The Durable Soesterkwartier association chooses a similar but other legal form: their second initiative they call ‘The Conscious Broke Residents Foundation’. The idea behind it is that there are no major financial contracts because it only gives a headache and determines the agenda.

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Triggerpoints: 10 catastrophic blunders of companies

Triggerpoints often lead to protest and uprisings. The next 10 disasters have caused a lot of critic, especially about the ethics of business. The scandals mentioned are so large that they led to a critical mass of protesting people: they got broad media attention and companies were put under pressure to undo or compensate their deficiencies.

1. Venom disaster Bhopal

The venom in Bhopal is known as one of the biggest industrial disaster ever. In Bhopal, India, in 1984, 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) were released from a Union Carbide pesticide factory. This event led to at least 50,000 victims with serious illnesses. In addition, the well-being of between 150,000 and possibly 600,000 was compromised, of which 6,000 later died as the consequence of the exposure. Thirty years after date (2014), malformed children are still born as a result of the disaster.

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