House chairperson, the purpose of this study tour was to visit the Mondragon Corporation; Spain's leading exponent of cooperatives as an organising principle of business, learnt from its success and failures and understand the role government plays in cooperatives and the social economy.
The Mondragon Corporation has its roots in a technical college set up in 1943 in the town of that name, by a Catholic priest, Jos Mara Arizmendiarrieta. He came equipped with an extraordinary mixture of idealism and pragmatic talent. His purpose was to instil a set of values in the community, based on sharing and participatory humanism, while training the youth in technical skills. It was all about "Socialising knowledge in order to democratise power."