An Exchange On Credit Union and DEI Focus

In response to the August 8th post by Jim Blaine, (Deification: The Eighth Wonder of the Cooperative World) there was the following exchange between Jim and a reader. 

I believe their insights are very helpful for this topic.

  1. Chip,

    I’ve been waiting for people smarter than me to comment… I know they’re out there!

    My observation is that if you do the Seven Cooperative Principles right, DEI feels like it’s already built in. Raising DEI as an Eighth Principle seems like we need a collective kick in the butt for not getting the first seven properly implemented!

    Far from dismissing the idea, I see this as a challenge we need to take on. If anyone, either within the movement, or on the outside, isn’t feeling it, then it MUST be raised up – but not as a revolutionary new principle for us to debate, but as an EVOLUTIONARY opportunity to fix what’s already in place.

    Too many people are feeling disenfranchised these days, and the view from my soapbox is that credit unions specifically, and cooperatives generally, are the best way to restore power back in the hands of the people.

    By all means, credit unions should raise the DEI issue – not as a “checklist” item – “here’s our position in response to this issue” – but as a challenge to their own leadership, their staff, their members, and their communities, to GET INVOLVED.

    Our grounding principles are solid. If we erred in the how we built on them, we need that diversity and inclusivity to drive our evolution.

    P.S. I recommend the writings of Ray Dalio (don’t settle for watching him on the financial channels; really dig in to his 3 “Principles” books). I’m also a fan of Israeli historian Yuval Harari (3 books), as well as French economist Thomas Piketty for his work on participative socialism, and Thomas Hobbes for his ideas on the social contract… he was too late to save the heads Charles I, or Cromwell, but Charles II learned a few things.

    We seem to have lost that social contract, and have allowed a much larger Leviathan to form.

  2. Leo, may I recommend a book to you – “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman. It’s a short read and don’t be put off by the title if you’re not religious. If you’re black you should read it, if you’re white you must.

    But, it is far more than just another sermon about race relations in the U.S. It is about the often dehumanizing psychology underlying any relationship between those with power and those without – an “unbalanced” equation which, in the economic world, credit unions were created to address.

    So many of our cooperative leaders seem to have loss sight of that original thought, that original principle. A financial cooperative with a social purpose is not a bank, nor should it be. Without a social purpose….?

    “Life is not the way it should be, it is the way it is”… with our task growing larger daily, perhaps we shouldn’t rest on our laurels – nor our principles.

    Hope you will take a look at what Howard Thurman has to say about all of us, including you and me…and credit unions.

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