The Difference



“Cooperatives serve human need,” said long-time co-op activist, educator, and scholar Tom Webb. “Corporations serve human greed.”

An investor-owned corporation is a business whose stock is traded publicly by any number of investors. In such a system, individuals invest to earn a financial return, and the desire for profits can outweigh the needs of people.




A co-op is a business, usually incorporated, that sells goods and services primarily for the benefit of the members who own the business. Cooperatives are typically more egalitarian than corporations, and the needs of people are paramount.

In a cooperative, members democratically control the direction of the business, and individuals are motivated by a shared need for certain products or services. By joining together, members gain access to products and services not otherwise available.