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: At your own pace

The University of Edinburgh is offering 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.

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?

You may join the course at your own pace.

Course Summary

  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Commitment:  2-3 hours per week
  • Subject: Economics & Finance
  • Institution: The University of Edinburgh
  • Languages: English
  • Price: Free
  • Session: At your own pace
  • Requirement: Basic high school maths
  • Certificate Available: Yes

Who Developed the Course

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.

Target Audience

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

Where Could This Lead You

There are lots of interesting career options you can consider after completing the course:

  • Manager – Advocacy
  • Associate Manager – Advocacy
  • Consultant – Communication
  • Senior Evaluation Specialist

Get Extra Benefits

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain (₹ 3191 INR)

  • 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 here.

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: Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Economics at the University of Edinburgh
  • Rick Woodward:  Lecturer in international business at the University of Edinburgh Business School
  • Juliette Summers: Lecturer in Management at University of St Andrews
  • Jelte Harnmeijer: Founding PartnerScene Consulting
  • David Erdal: Hon. Research Fellow at University of St Andrews


  • 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 Website.
Apply Now


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