Innovative Consumer Co-operatives: The Rise and Fall of Berkeley, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Innovative Consumer Co-operatives

The Rise and Fall of Berkeley, 1st Edition

By Greg Patmore

Routledge

310 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138614109
pub: 2020-04-27
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Description

Consumer 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 co-operative movement can also be an important force in promoting development and self-sufficiency in poorer areas, particularly in non-industrialised countries.

This book explores in depth the fortunes of the Berkeley Consumer Co-operative, which became the largest consumer co-operative in the United States with 116,000 members in 1984 and viewed nationally as a leader in innovative retail practices and a champion of consumer rights. The Berkeley Consumer Co-operative is promoted by both supporters and opponents of the co-operative business model as a significant example of what can go wrong with the co-operatives.

This book will provide the first in depth analysis of the history of the Berkeley Co-operative using its substantial but little used archives and oral histories to explore what the Berkeley experience means for the co-operative business model. The specific chapters relating to Berkeley will be organised around particular themes to highlight the issues relating to the co-operative business model and the local context of Berkeley. The themes relate to developments in Berkeley and the Bay Area in terms of the economy, politics and the retail environment; the management of the Berkeley co-operative, looking at governance, financial management and strategic decisions; relationship of management with members and employees; and finally, the relationship of the Berkeley Co-operative with the community.

The core message of the book is that it is not inevitable that consumer co-operatives fail, but that the story of Berkeley story can provide insights that can strengthen the co-operative business model and minimise failures on the scale of Berkeley occurring in the future.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

List of Abbreviations

List of Tables

List of Illustrations

1. Consumer Co-operatives: Theory and Practice

2. International Consumer Co-operative Movement Before 1993

3. Consumer Co-operatives in the US before 1993

4. The Origins and Early Years of the Berkeley Co-operative until 1947

5. Gaining a Foothold: 1947-1961

6. Politics and Expansion: 1962-1971

7. Instability and Final Expansion: 1972-1980

8. Chaos and Collapse: 1981-1993

9. Conclusion

Index

About the Author

Greg Patmore is Emeritus Professor of Business and Labour History at the University of Sydney Business School, Australia. ORCID: 0000-0001-7151-4381

About the Series

Routledge International Studies in Business History

Recent years have seen an explosion of research in business history. Business history is now seen variously as a key to understanding a vital aspect of the past, a source of parallels and insights into modern business practice, and a way of understanding the evolution of modern business practice. This series is not limited to any single approach, and explores a wide range of issues and industries.

Authors wishing to submit proposals for publication consideration in the Routledge International Studies in Business History series can contact series editors Jeffrey Fear ([email protected]) and Christina Lubinski ([email protected])

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS000000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / General
BUS077000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate & Business History
BUS079000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
BUS085000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior