[Serial reports] Founding a co-operative in 45 minutes in Denmark (1)

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Interview with Eric Christiansen (Head director of Middelgrund Wind Power Co-operative)

*This article is one in a series regarding where happiness comes from and what makes a happy society written by Yeon-ho Oh, who did an in-depth report in Denmark.

“Do you know where happiness comes from? Please listen to my words.”

The World Bank conducted some research and every year the top score, when it comes to happiness, is Denmark. On the fourth day in Denmark, I met Eric (56) who is a CEO of EBO consultants. He discussed happy Danes in detail with a Powerpoint presentation.

“We have a strong networking history. There is a saying that if you leave the central station in Copenhagen and go to the outskirts of Copenhagen, it is a 45 minute journey and if you have 2 Danes sitting and talking for the duration, they will establish co-operative before the final station. That’s the common attitude.” he explained.

He pointed out that there are neighbors who trust each other, which contributes to the creation of citizen-driven co-operatives and meetings in Denmark.

“My own son, he is a part time musician and his band is also part of a co-operative too. They trust each other so they make the rules on how to run the band. So it is something which is actually in our hearts from the very start of our lives.”

Eric compared this trust to social capital, which is one of the valuable factors in Denmark. He became a lawyer right after finishing school. However, before long he changed his career to be a co-operative manager. He is a CEO who runs a company of 11 workers, who also work for related co-operatives. In addition, he is a director of the Middelgrund Wind Power Co-operative and has volunteered in several co-operative projects. He volunteers for 2 hours for everyday; he works another 5 hours for his own company.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/18tL5Br  (by Yeon-ho Oh and Min-ji Kim)

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Eunbin Ko

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06 2013

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