Is the credit union movement harnessing the power of cooperation?
5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I’ve been catching up on my reading and ran across two articles in the August 2015 issue of Scientific American that touched on the concept of cooperation. Of course, cooperation is at the heart of the credit union movement — people joining together to help each other. Cooperation extends far beyond the individual credit union — credit unions join together in many different ways to help each other advance. This has enabled credit unions to compete and prosper in an intensely competitive marketplace that many predicted would see the end of credit unions.The first article I read was “The Most Invasive Species of All.” It asked the question of how homo sapiens was able to expand out of Africa to all regions of the worlds. Was it bigger brains? Better weapons? Sheer luck? The answer of anthropologist Chris W. Marean is “a genetically encoded penchant for cooperation with unrelated individuals.”“The joining of this unique proclivity to our ancestors’ advanced cognitive abilities enabled them to uniquely adapt to new environments,” Marean writes. “It also fostered innovation, giving rise to a game-changing technology: advanced projectile weapons. Thus equipped, our ancestors set forth out of Africa, ready to bend the whole world to their will.”The second article in the same issue that caught my attention was “Planet Hard Drive,” a discussion of information theory as it applies to people. The author, César A. Hidalgo, sees each of us as an organic, information-generating computer, transforming ideas into useful products or activities. The problem, Hidalgo says, is that each of us is limited. To transcend our own limitations, we need to form social and professional networks. This generates ever richer stores of information that lead to economic and social progress. He envisions ever faster progress ahead as technology and trade break down barriers of language, culture, and nationality and bring people of the world into closer collaboration. continue reading »