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Co-ops, or co-operatives, are assets, productive activities or businesses owned by and responsible to those directly involved -- either the consumers, the producers, or both. In many co-ops the consumers also do some or all of the productive work -- as when parents take turns caring for children in a child care co-op. Housing co-ops are owned by the residents. Credit unions are user-owned financial institutions. Virtually any economic activity or business or ownership arrangement can be organized as a co-op. Co-ops help keep economic power in the community.