1st Edition

A Global History of Co-operative Business

By Greg Patmore, Nikola Balnave Copyright 2018
    258 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Co-operatives provide a different approach to organizing business through their ideals of member ownership and democratic practice. Every co-operative member has an equal vote regardless of his or her own personal capital investment. The contemporary significance of co-operatives was highlighted by the United Nations declaration of 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives.

    This book provides an international perspective on the development of co-operatives since the mid-nineteenth century, exploring the economic, political, and social factors that explain their varying fortunes and transformation into different forms. By looking at what co-operatives are; how they have changed; the developments as well as the persecutions of the co-operative movement; and how it is an important force in promoting development and self-sufficiency in non-industrialized areas, this book provides valuable insight not only to academics, but also to practitioners and policy makers.

    1. What are Co-operatives?

    2. The Origins of the Idea and the Rochdale Pioneers, Before 1844

    3. The Early Years and the Rise of Co-operative Wholesaling, 1844-1864

    4. Diversification, Internationalization, and the Formation of the International Co-operative Alliance, 1864-1914

    5. The Challenges of War, Depression, and Totalitarianism, 1914-1945

    6. Postwar Prosperity, the Cold War, and Decolonialization, 1945-1975

    7. Contrasts: Neo-Liberalism and the UN International Year of Co-operatives, 1975 to the Present

    8. Conclusion


    Greg Patmore is Emeritus Professor of Business and Labour History and the Chair of the Co-operatives Research Group at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a member of the International Co-operative Alliance (Geneva) Global 300 Project.

    Nikola Balnave is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing and Management and a member of the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University, Australia. Nikki has been the President of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History since 2009. She has also been an executive member of the Academic Association of Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools in many capacities since its inception in 2009.

    "Patmore and Balnave provide a wonderfully coherent account of the co-operative model of business across the sweep of time, economic sectors, countries and political systems. From its principled foundation to new business constructs, such as platform co-operatives, they examine how the model has grown . . . and why it declines at times. Their assessment includes a look at the intersection of co-operatives with important ideologies and trends: religion, colonialism, technology and community development. This is a valuable read for anyone interested in the development of not just co-operatives, but of any important global movement."Charles Gould, Director-General, International Co-operative Alliance, Belgium

    "Recent years have seen something of a resurgence of interest in the historical studies of co-operatives. What have still been lacking however, is an updated, general overview of the co-operative business enterprise, the main types of co-operatives in existence and their overall historical development in a global perspective. This book fills exactly this gap. It thus provides a very valuable addition to the growing stream of historical literature on co-operatives and should be of great interest to both academics, to co-operative insiders as well as to outsiders to the co-operative movement."Espen Ekberg, Researcher at the Centre for Business History, BI Norwegian Business School

    "Tracing the development, changes and opportunities of member-owned business in Europe, North America and Oceania from the early 19th century until today, this volume offers an important contribution to our understanding of the shared histories of consumer, financial, agricultural and social co-operatives. Balnave and Patmore’s analysis of the long-term development of ideas and practices of co-operation locally as well as internationally offers useful insights for practitioners as well as scholars of co-operative movements."Silke Neunsinger, Director of Research, Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library