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WEconomics: Italy

The first in a new series from the makers of SHIFT CHANGE, WEconomics: Italy reports on the extensive and innovative cooperative economy in the region around Bologna.

A printer-friendly version of this page 19 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin
Produced by Melissa Young
Photography, Editing: Mark Dworkin
Narrator: Natasha Dworkin
A Moving Images Production

"Beautifully captures the power of cooperatives in a world in desperate need of hope--not pie in the sky but evidence-based hope." Frances Moore Lappé, Co-Founder, Small Planet Institute
[Note: Community screenings of WECONOMICS can be booked at Bullfrog Communities.]

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.

Other films by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young are Shift Change, We Are Not Ghosts, Good Food, Argentina: Hope in Hard Times and Argentina: Turning Around, Net Loss, Another World is Possible, Not for Sale, Gene Blues, Islas Hermanas and Risky Business.

Grade Level: 9 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2016     Copyright Date: 2016
DVD ISBN: 1-941545-54-8

"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 Lappé, 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

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DVD Features
Scene selection and SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

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Awards and Festivals
United Nations Association Film Festival
World Community Film Festival
Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival
Sustainable Living Film Festival (Turkey)

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Employee-Owned Businesses
European Studies
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Local Economies

Related Titles

Shift Change
Investigates employee-owned businesses that provide secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces even in today's economic crisis.

Argentina: Hope in Hard Times
The Argentine people, in the face of economic collapse, provide a hopeful example for the rest of us.

Argentina: Turning Around
An intimate view of new models of work, politics and community development in Argentina.

Nothing Like Chocolate
The story of Mott Green and the solar-powered Grenada Chocolate Company, a farmers' and chocolate-makers' co-op, which makes organic chocolate from tree-to-bar.

Buyer Be Fair
Looks at the benefits of fair trade goods and product certification for people and the environment.

Who's Counting?
Marilyn Waring demystifies global economics from a feminist perspective.

What's the Economy for, Anyway?
Ecological economist Dave Batker questions whether GDP is an adequate measure of society's well-being and suggests workable alternatives.

Economics and its relation to social change and our lifestyles.

We Are Not Ghosts
Detroiters are reinventing the old Motor City as a vibrant new self-sustaining and human-scaled city for a post industrial world.

Forest communities can have both jobs and trees.

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