After two centuries with self-interested individualism considered the only foundation of economic action, this essay enquires whether the co-operative enterprise, born in the 19th century, still has a meaning in the present and future economic world. It must be admitted that co-operatives have struggled through years of difficult survival in the past, but in the post-Fordist societies conditions have again become favourable for co-operation, above all in the services, where relational qualities, customization, intrinsic motivations, tacit knowledge and new welfare - all aspects typical of co-operative enterprises - are welcome. The need now, however, is to interpret markets with a pluralistic approach.
Keywords: Co-operative enterprise, Capitalism, State role, Governance, Service economy
Jel Code: N300, L330, P500