Mondragon and Cooperatives

I recently returned from Spain to learn about the Mondragon Corporation. One fun experience was how Basque people practice cooperativism even in their socializing–a pub crawl. Each person puts in 5 euros to an appointed money manager, and the party goes from bar to bar getting wine and beer tastings (the serving size is a full glass) along with tapas. The money manager handles the payment while everyone enjoys their drinks and food. This continues until the money runs out. More money contributed means more bars the group can visit. With our initial 5 euros, we were able to visit 3 bars.
Spain PhotoAside from the eating and drinking, socializing in this cooperative manner sets aside people’s socio-economic status (income, class, job, etc.) Everyone is equal in this space. It was also nice not having to worry about who is paying what round, dealing with separate checks, or getting shortchanged.
It was a lot of fun and an easy way to learn and practice a bit of cooperativism with old and new friends. I got to practice some of my high school Spanish with a Mondragon retiree, discuss my research with a faculty member from the Mondragon business school, and get to know my classmates.
A fun pub-crawl is one creative way I can teach cooperativism to my friends… The next time we go bar hopping in San Diego. So stay thirsty my friends. ¬†Remember to drink responsibly‚Ķ And cooperatively!

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