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Welcome to Ampled's organizational documentation. Our goal with this information is to allow anyone to dive deeper and get a better understanding of the organization -- how we works, how money is used, how we're raising money, how we incorporated, and how to get involved.
If you are reading this as someone interested in creating a worker or collectively owned organization, we hope that our documentation can help serve as a roadmap that you can borrow from. We've applied generous Creative Commons licensing so that you can use much of the documentation towards the creation of other worker-owned enterprises.
A cooperative is a collectively owned enterprise that serves the interests of its members. This means a company owned by its workers, customers, or both.
Co-ops are for-profit, private enterprises.
There is often a misconception that co-ops are non-profits. This isn’t true. Like traditional companies, co-ops are profit-seeking private enterprises that act in the interest of their shareholders. The primary distinction is that the shareholders in co-ops are its workers or customers—not its investors and founders. This means that the company’s profits are distributed back to its members, instead of to a singular owner or group of executives.
Co-ops are controlled by their members.
In addition to profit sharing, cooperative member-owners are given a voice in business decisions. This does not mean sitting in a circle making consensus-based decisions. A cooperative may design elegant and transparent systems for decision making that meet the needs of the organization.
Co-ops are a constructive alternative.
In 2020, despite increased worker productivity, we see growing wealth inequality, an economic system that increasingly serves plutocrats, and stagnant wages. As workers and citizens, it’s clear our needs are not being met by techno-solutionist progress. In Silicon Valley specifically, fortunes are being created by extracting value from our ideas, art, labor, relationships, and data. We’ve become digital neoserfs—tilling on land we don’t own, and giving our harvest away.
Historically, co-ops have emerged when markets have failed to meet the needs of a particular community, or to correct markets that have consolidated into monopolies or monopsonies. When the government or private market fails to provide solutions, collective actions are needed.
Co-ops are the answer when people organize and say, “If no one is going to build this for us, we’ll build it for ourselves.” For example, electricity was brought to rural American farms in the 1940s by community-owned co-ops when existing power companies determined they were not profitable enough to serve.