In the 1930s, when the competitive, free market system lay in ruins and the competing systems of fascism and communism were gaining strength, the Antigonish Movement emerged offering a middle way. The movement favoured putting in place an integrated and dynamic system based on cooperative ecomic institutions under the control of the people. The Antigonish Movement originated with the establishment of the Extension Department of St Francis Xavier University in 1928, with Reverend Moses Coady as director. Guided by the social teaching of the Catholic Church, the movement promoted an array of ecomic activity and attracted widespread attention around the world. Visitors flocked to Antigonish to witness ordinary people, fishermen, farmers, and industrial workers, organize and establish their own enterprises, from fish processing plants to credit unions and co-operative stores. In The Big Picture Santo Dodaro and Leonard Pluta trace the history of this remarkable experiment from its origins through a period of expansion during the 1930s and 1940s, while identifying the key factors - vision, education, and institutional framework - that contributed to its early success.
Santo Dodaro is associate professor of economics at St Francis Xavier University. Leonard Pluta is a retired professor of economics.