"What do you mean, there is no boss? How does it work then?" was a common reaction to my proud announcement that I was joining New Internationalist magazine, a media workers co-operative. "Who takes the decisions?" they would ask. "We the people," I'd reply. A completely different reaction came from my parents, who were born in a country that (thankfully) no longer exists – the USSR. The haunting image of kolkhoz, or Soviet collective farms (a perverted version of co-ops, which in reality trampled all the principles of co-operation), left them cautiously hostile to "collective work", which in the kolkhoz version produced injustice and apathy rather than co-operation for common good.
But – phew – a creative co-op is nothing of that sort. Co-ops are businesses which belong to and are governed by their members; there are no investors to slave for; profits and losses are shared equally by the co-op. It's a group of people working together on equal terms – even salaries at New Internationalist are at flat rate (although as an intern I earn considerably less).