the history of the cooperative movement. alan irwin ruskin college, oxford april 2014

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  • The History of the Cooperative Movement.Alan IrwinRuskin College, Oxford April 2014

  • Key TheoristsRobert OwenWilliam KingThe Rochdale PioneersCharles GideBeatrice WebbFriedrich Raiiffeisen

  • Robert Owen (1771-1858)Owen

    First cooperative theorist and credited with inspiring the Rochdale Pioneers, who in 1844 began the cooperative movement ot Rochdale, Lancashire.

  • Robert Owen Fathered the cooperative movement. A Welshman who made his fortune in the cotton trade.

    Owen believed in putting his workers in a good environment with access to education for themselves and their children. These ideas were put into effect successfully in the cotton mills of New Lanark, Scotland.

  • Robert OwenOwen had the idea of forming villages of cooperation where workers would drag themselves out of poverty by growing their own food, making their own clothes and ultimately becoming self-governing. He tried to form such communities in Orbiston in Scotland.

  • Birth of Cooperative MovementsHis efforts bore fruit in the international cooperative movement, launched at Rochadal, England, in 1844. Owen died in November 17th, 1858, in his home town of Newtown.

    Inspired others!

  • Dr William King (1786-1865)Although Owen inspired the cooperative movement, others such as William King took his ideas and made them more workable and practical.

    King believed in starting small, and realized that the working classes would need to set up cooperatives for themselves, so he saw his role as one of instruction.

  • King and Education to Inform

    He founded a monthly periodical called the The Cooperator, the first edition of which appeared on May 1st 1828. This gave a mixture of cooperative philosophy and practical advice about running a shop using cooperative principles.

  • KingKing advised people not to cut themselves off from society but rather to form a society within a society and to start with a shop.

    We must go to a shop every day to buy food and necessaries- why then should we not go to our own shop?

  • KingHe proposed sensible rules, such as having a weekly audit, having 3 trustees and not having meetings in pubs (to avoid temptation of drinking profits)

  • Rochdale Pioneers

    A few poor weavers joined together to form a Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society at the the end of 1843. The Rochadal Pioneers, as they became known set out the Rochdale Principles in 1844 which have been highly influential throughout the cooperative movement.

  • New BeginningsAs its initial project, the society organised a grocery store, a venture that rapidly prospered. The principles developed for the guidance of this enterprise and others organised by the Rochdale Society have served as the basic code of the consumer cooperative movement since that time.

  • Growth

    The successful example of cooperative businesses provided by the Rochdale Society, which also established between 1850 and 1855 a flour mill, a shoe factory and a textile plant, was quickly emulated throughout the country.

  • Growth

    By 1863 more than 400 British coopeartives associations, modeled after the Rochdale Society were in operation. Thereafter, the English movement grew steadily, becoming the model for similar movements worldwide.

  • Growth

    By the mid -20th Century it comprised almost 2,400 associations of all types. The Cooperative Wholesale Society became the largest distributive agency in England.

  • Rochdale Principles1. Democratic control, with each member entitled to only one vote, regardless of the number of his or her total shares.2. Membership open to all, irrespective of race, creed, class, occupation or political affiliation.3. Payment of limited interest on invested capital.

  • Principles cont.

    4) Distribution of net profits, usually called savings or earnings, to cooperative members in proportion to the amount of their patronage.

  • Supplemental PrinciplesPart of the cooperative earnings are utilised to expand operations.

    Non-members may become members by letting their share of net profits be applied towards their initial share stock.

  • Supplementary Principles cont.Goods and services are sold for cash at prevailing market prices; reserve funds are regularly accumulated for the purpose of covering depreciation and meeting possible emergencies.Educational activities, designed to increase and inform the cooperative membership are systematically sponsored and conducted.

  • Cont.

    Other supplemental principles hold that labour must be fairly treated and that cooperatives should work together.

  • World Cooperative Movement

    Worldwide, some 800 million people are members of cooperatives and it is estimated that cooperatives employ some 100 million people.

  • Where are they?AgricultureHealthCredit UnionsFootball ClubsLeisureFoodCareInsuranceHousing