It’s news to no one that the issues concerning groups like the Occupy movement aren’t problems that have sprung up only recently. Just ask Charles Dickens. And it’s no coincidence that the social issues Dickens wrote about gave birth to a movement of people trying to do something about them. Less than a year after the publication of A Christmas Carol, a group of workers started a new kind of business in Rochdale, England. Based on democratic principles, owned by its customers and reinvesting in the community it served, The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was the first consumer co-operative to pay a patronage dividend and formed the basis for the modern co-op.