Community Activists Network
In groups and organisations of service user activists, independence has to be the most important principle, especially in establishing and keeping distance from financial profit making/commercial and state institutions. Is copying and using the structures employed by those institutions unconscious handholding with them and a barrier to real independence?
And does the use of those business models fit with the administration and management of ULOs (there, I'm even having to use their language).
Have a quick look at this. Norfolk's a long-ish way from Manchester, but you never know!
Also have a look at this group:
The Starfish and the Spider is a great book (you may have read it) which kind of gazes in the direction of thinking that you are exploring. Starfish and the Spider - book details from Amazon (this link is tax free)
Also there's some interesting thinking from a guy called John Seddon that talks about thinking differently about how organisations work. His website is: http://www.systemsthinking.co.uk/home.asp
I think I agree with you that there are tensions and contradictions in copying institutions that exclude and it is a great thought project to come up with something different. I'll keep thinking and share my three pennies worth!
Back in 1996, we set out with the concept of a business for social purpose as a replacement for the non profit approach to tackling poverty. It would challenge the assertion made by Milton Freidman that the social purpose of business is to return investment to shareholders.
Also have a listen to this podcast from Michael Sandel who talks about:
The talk challenges the morality of unleashing the free market in social activity and the consequences that it has.
Bren, you may be interested to read that the morality of markets with respect to the lack of value for human life was the essence of the core argement for a people-centered form of economics.
Wow! Thank you all for the pointers.