Free Online Course on Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative

Free Online Course on Economic Democracy: The Cooperative
Certificate fee scholarship is available for this course.

Institution: University of Edinburgh
Start Date: January 8, 2018

The University of Edinburgh is offering you a free online course named as “Economic Democracy: The Cooperative Alternative”. This course will focus on these central questions as we discuss the internal impact of employee ownership; productivity, governance, and management, as well as the external impact of employee ownership; spillovers for health, democracy, and the local economy. You will understand:

  • What would happen if workers ran their own businesses?
  • Would worker-managed firms make the same decisions as their capitalist counterparts?
  • Could such an economy be efficient?
  • What policies could be deployed to promote a cooperative sector?

This course will start on January 8, 2018.

Course Summary

  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Commitment:  2-3 hours per week
  • Subject: Economics & Finance
  • Institution: The University of Edinburgh
  • Languages: English
  • Price: Free
  • Session: Starts on January 8, 2018
  • Requirement: Anyone
  • Certificate Available: Yes

Who Developed the Course

  • About University: The University of Edinburgh was ranked 17th and 21st in the world by the 2014–15 and 2015-16 QS rankings. It is now ranked 19th in the world according to 2016-17 QS Rankings. Edinburgh receives approximately 50,000 applications every year, making it the fourth most popular university in the UK by volume of applicants.
  • Mission of University: The University’s mission is the creation, dissemination, and curation of knowledge. As a world-leading center of academic excellence, we aim to: Enhance our position as one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities and to measure our performance against the highest international standards.

Target Audience

  • Basic high school maths
  • Some basic knowledge of economics would be helpful but not essential

Where Could This Lead You

  • Importance of the Subject in Today’s Scenario: Economic democracy or stakeholder democracy is a socioeconomic philosophy that proposes to shift decision-making power from corporate managers and corporate shareholders to a larger group of public stakeholders that includes workers, customers, suppliers, neighbors and the broader public.
  • Your Career Option: There are lots of interesting career options you can consider after completing the course:
  1. Manager – Advocacy
  2. Associate Manager – Advocacy
  3. Consultant – Communication
  4. Senior Evaluation Specialist

Get Extra Benefits

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain ($49USD)

  • Official and Verified: Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution’s logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
  • Easily Shareable:Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
  • Proven Motivator: Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

 How to Join This Course

You should register yourself through the given link to join this free online course:

Course Format

“The form of association … which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist with capitalist as chief, and workpeople without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers elected and removable by themselves.”
– John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, 1848

Block 1. The internal impact of employee ownership: productivity, governance, and management.

Block 2. The external impact of employee ownership: spillovers for health, democracy, and the local economy.

Block 3. Simple economic theory of the labor-managed firm. Possible reasons for the relative scarcity of cooperatives, despite their positive characteristics (including high productivity). Internal v. external financing.

Block 4. Long-term viability. Degeneration thesis and policies to counter it. Kibbutzim, Pacific plywood cooperatives, Mondragon. Performance bonds and wage-earner investment funds.

Block 5. Cooperative in the finance sector (with a comparative international focus): building societies, credit unions, etc.

Block 6. Community renewables: economic democracy in action.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Basic economics of firms owned or controlled by their workers
  • The main issues relating to the long-term viability of cooperatives
  • Policies to promote a cooperative sector in a market economy

 Who Will You Learn With

  • Donald A. R. George: Donald is an economist with an interest in the economics of cooperatives and worker participation. Some of his research on these topics is reported in Economic Democracy: the Political Economy of Self-Management and Participation (available as an e-book from Springer).
  • Rick Woodward: Richard Woodward is a lecturer in international business at the University of Edinburgh Business School and an economist at the CASE – the Center for Social and Economic Research – in Warsaw, Poland. He is the author of numerous publications on privatization in post-Communist countries, especially on the role of employee ownership in privatized companies.
  • Juliette Summers: Juliette Summers is a Lecturer in Management in the School of Management, University of St Andrews. Her research centers on the intersection of work, identity and democracy, and in particular on employee ownership and participation, worker and community identity development, and political consultation and participation strategies.
  • Jelte Harnmeijer: Jelte grew up in sub-Saharan Africa, and lived and worked in Australia, Greenland, the Himalayas and the Pacific Northwest before moving to Scotland. He is a systems thinker and practitioner who strongly believes in integrating research with implementation. In this spirit, Jelte specializes in distributed low-carbon energy solutions.
  • David Erdal: David is a Hon. Research Fellow at the School of Management at the University of St Andrews. He has an MA in Chinese from Oxford, an MBA from Harvard and a D. in ‘The Psychology of Sharing: an Evolutionary Approach’, from St Andrews.

Suggested Reading

You can refer these books:

  • preface to economic democracy by Robert A. Dahl
  • Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle of the Twenty-first Century by J. W. Smith
  • Economic Democracy: The Politics of Feasible Socialism by Robin Archer
  • Economic Democracy by C. H. Douglas


  • Importance of Course: After taking this course, you will be better prepared to participate in a public discussion on cooperatives, join a cooperative, or even start a new one.
  • Importance of Certificate: By the Certificate of Achievement you will be able to prove your success when applying for jobs or courses. You can display it on your LinkedIn or CV.

Detailed Information

  •  For more information about the course, you may visit the given link:!

Apply Now


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