Cooperative Enterprise

Cooperative Enterprise

Facing the Challenge of Globalization

Stefano Zamagni and Vera Zamagni

This eloquent book analyses the theory of the cooperative form of enterprise from an historic perspective, whilst assessing its appeal in the current economic environment.

Preface

Stefano Zamagni and Vera Zamagni

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology

Extract

Co-operation touches no man’s fortune; seeks no plunder; causes no disturbance in society; gives no trouble to statesmen; it enters into no secret associations; it needs no trades union to protect its interests; it contemplates no violence; it subverts no order; it envys no dignity; it accepts no gift, nor asks any favour; it keeps no terms with the idle, and it will break no faith with the industrious. It is neither mendicant, servile, nor offensive; … it means selfhelp, self-dependence, and such share of the common competence as labour shall earn or thought can win (George Jacob Holyoake, The History of Cooperation, 1906) Why a book on cooperative enterprises today? What is the sense in being concerned with cooperation at the dawn of the twenty-first century? These are not idle questions, and the answers cannot be taken for granted, considering the large number of people who think that as a form of enterprise the cooperative has now been superseded, a fine and noble memory, an economic mode that certainly exalted solidarity but that has now become an awkward anachronism. It is the purpose of this book to show that those who think in these terms are mistaken. Jon Elster (1989, p. 99) expresses the sceptics’ viewpoint perfectly in asking ‘If cooperative ownership is so desirable, then why are there so few cooperatives?’ We shall try to explain that the sceptical attitude is unfounded, because it stems from an erroneous way of conceiving the nexus between market economy and capitalistic...