A model for cooperatives exists, of course, in the Bible. Communitywide responsibility was a basic characteristic of the Old Testament Jews, but it functioned in a community where the economic system, the political system, the religious organization–every aspect of life–covered the same group of individuals. That way a cooperative effort to meet one particular need could be reinforced by the other structures of Jewish society.
But in twentieth-century America, or in any other complex industrialized society, a small community is simply not locked into the larger systems of banking, education, government or industry which determine its quality of life–or the lack of it. And continuous needs of certain segments of our society are the result of this.
Something is out of whack in our society. For people ought to be able to provide their own needs. When will and effort are organized and still fall short, this means only that the resources needed are locked up somewhere. And no amount of talk about “private property” or “free enterprise” will ever touch the real moral issue of our responsibility to others.
–John Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down, pg 210