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WEconomics: Italy

The Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy has one of the highest concentrations of cooperative businesses in the developed world. The capital, Bologna is an industrial powerhouse, where prosperity is widely shared, and cooperatives of teachers and social workers play a key role in the provision of government services.

'Fabulous! I can't overstate the importance of this film right now! There's a democratic form of enterprise that works because it's aligned with the human need for connection, meaning and agency. The film beautifully captures the power of cooperatives in a world in desperate need of hope--not pie in the sky but evidence-based hope. May it be viewed worldwide, fueling the cooperative movement.' Frances Moore Lappe, Co-Founder, Small Planet Institute, Author, Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind

'Is this the occupy movement? No, it's Northern Italy's answer to corporate rapacity and state indifference-an ecologically conscious cooperative movement that provides elder and child care, manufacturing, retail sales and more and is sufficiently stable, flexible and resilient to bring prosperity and security to all. This is democracy in action. Bring it to your students with this film; practice it in your classroom. All will benefit.' Paul Durrenberger, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, Author, The Anthropology of Labor Unions

'Advocates for a more community based economy here in the US have much to learn from Italy's Emilia Romagna region, where decades of sophisticated cooperative development and policymaking have helped turn one of the poorest parts of the country into one of its most economically prosperous, and have produced innovative new models for aligning economic activity and social service delivery with human and communitarian values. WEconomics: Italy takes us into the democratic workplaces at the heart of this historical trajectory, illuminating the dense networks of solidarity and the deep processes of cultural change behind Emilia Romagna's vibrant cooperative ecosystem.' Gar Alperovitz, Co-founder, The Democracy Collaborative, Co-chair, The Next System Project

'Highly Recommended...This stimulating documentary offers an intriguing portrayal of the successful blending of capitalism and democracy in right-sized enterprises and settings. The filmmakers offer an alternative economic model for sustainability, environmental consciousness, and promoting an exceptionally high standard of living...A compelling and dynamic imagining and practical application of a creative business model.' Michael J. Coffta, Educational Media Reviews Online

'WEconomics left me with a positive impression of progress towards an economy based on human needs and priorities. The solutions co-ops offer aren't just ideas-they're real.' Matt Noyes, Labor Notes

'A powerful film demonstrating that mainstream economists have gotten it wrong. WEconomics shows how Bologna's cooperatives are producing an alternative economy that puts people, ecological issues, and the social fabric of society at the forefront, and still survive in the difficult economic times that we live in! The film is an absolute must-see for anyone, anywhere interested in alternatives that are both progressive and successful!' Michelle Williams, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand

'WEconomics: Italy shows vividly how cooperatives can be woven into the fabric of an entire region--in this case Emilia-Romagna in Italy. The film offers living examples of how social entrepreneurship, cross-sector partnerships, and, above all, democratic workplaces can strengthen communities and transform how we do business. This short documentary gives us a glimpse into how we can move cooperatives from the relative margins of our economy here in the U.S. to the central place they deserve.' George Cheney, Professor of Communication Studies, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, Author, Values at Work

'WEconomics expands the discussion of cooperatives as a structure for producing and distributing goods to a model for providing needed, desperately needed, social services...This film is positive, upbeat, and offers ample opportunity to introduce cooperatives to students.' Karen McCormack, Associate Professor and Chair, Dept. of Sociology, Wheaton College

'WEconomics: Italy reveals a successful system of coops and mutual societies in action...We can only hope that it will encourage more filmmakers and ethnographers to explore Italian and other alternatives to the hegemonic American neoliberal model. Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, development anthropology, economic anthropology, and European studies, as well as for general audiences.' Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database


Main credits

Young, Melissa (film director)
Young, Melissa (film producer)
Dworkin, Mark (film director)
Dworkin, Natasha (narrator)

Other credits

Photography/editing, Mark Dworkin.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Business Practices
Employee-Owned Businesses
European Studies
Fair Trade
Labor and Work Issues
Local Economies


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