Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


cooperative ethics, community development, education, José María Arizmendiarrieta, Leadership studies, Mondragon cooperatives, Paul Ricoeur, Socioeconomics


Paul Ricoeur and Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta were contemporaries whose separate works, when brought side by side, provide insights into how community development might proceed at the intersection of the domains of ethics, politics, and economics. In complementary ways they have addressed the reciprocal responsibilities of a society toward its citizens and vice-versa. In this study I make note of the parallels between Ricoeur's definition of the ethical aim and Arizmendiarrieta's educational aim as this may be gleaned from an anthology of his sayings as well as from statements of those who knew him very well. These similarities provide impetus toward a definition of cooperative ethics. Using the method of interpretation, this definition is amplified at the intersections of the domains of ethics, economics, and politics with the help of regrouped quotes on education from Arizmendiarrieta and following the pattern of Ethics and Politics, an essay of Ricoeur. Referring to the phenomenology of change, I then argue that just as politics is an extension of the ethical aim, socio-economics is the extension of the educational aim. The methodology involves a rearrangement of quotes and refer to the triple autonomy of texts that Ricoeur has established in his theory of texts. The reconfiguration is reminiscent of Ricoeur's mimesis I, II, and III, and lends to the amplification of the definition of cooperative ethics. I call attention to the directive function of education in Arizmendiarrieta's thoughts which complement Ricoeur's reflections on configuration. The example of the University of Mondragon and its cooperatives validates their insights. I cite the implications for community development that the Mondragon experience brings to the world. I suggest that a holistic approach to community development might be best coordinated by a university and that a university can generate a similar network of cooperatives by instituting a "Saiolan type" of enterprise incubator, by coordinating mutual support of member enterprises, and by supporting these efforts with appropriate curricular offering. By way of conclusion, I suggest that cooperators now have another point of departure in their reflections on the ethical commitment of cooperatives and cooperators.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access