Talk:Cooperative

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How do coops interact with securities laws?[edit]

Coops (at least consumer coops) sell something that looks like a security, acts very much like a security but given that I'm sure the cashier did not pass the Series 6 (or whatever the number is...) I'm quite sure it's not a security. Does anyone know how coop shares are handled from a securities law point of view? (I am speaking about the US specifically, but I'm sure the question is valid for other countries too) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.27.192.231 (talk) 18:22, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

How does a cooperative differ from a Limited liability company?[edit]

Request for description: How does a cooperative differ from a Limited liability company?

The main difference is in the voting rights. In a corporation (or limited liability co.) it is one vote per share. In a cooperative it is usually one vote per person. mydogategodshat 00:47, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Usually the question is "How does a corporation differ from a Limited liability company? Was that the question you meant to ask? Most organizations that call themselves a cooperative are formed as corporations. Farm Coop was a corporation that became Farmland Industries (and later declared bancruptcy) I suppose you could form them as LLC's also depending on the laws in the state you want to form the legal entity in. Many corporations are incorporated in Delaware because of certain legal benefits. You can be for-profit or non-profit as well. As far as votes go that just depends on how you distribute the shares. If you have a 50 unit apartment building you can just sell one share each to 50 families.

If it's just yourself or you and a fried you could do some reading on the internet and form a corporation or LLC and probably not need a lawyer but then again you might. Anything more complex you better hire a lawyer.--Gbleem 06:56, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think it depends on your perspective, and particularly the legal framework that exists in your part of the world. From a UK perspective a cooperative (or co-operative as we tend to call them) can be a limited liability company. The UK has no definition of a co-operative in law, and hence no single legal structure for a co-operative enterprise. They can be structured as share companies, they can be companies limited by guarantee (Is that a model specific to the UK?), they can be Industrial and Provident Societies (IPSs). I'm sure they can use other structures also. Its not so much the broad legal structure of the organisation (as long as it enables a democratic approach suitable to the needs of the members), as the details of how the governance system is defiend and operated. --Upperholme 07:33, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

re: Typology of cooperatives[edit]

I think the typology of cooperatives shown on the main article page is confusing. It talks about Retailer's Cooperatives, implying that these are what I would call secondary cooperatives, or cooperatives in which each of the members is itself a business. But it seems to confuse this type with a Consumer Cooperative, in which the members are individual consumers. For example, the picture shown, of Scotmid cooperative, is a consumer cooperative. (The image shown on the retailers cooperative page is also of a consumer cooperative, which only adds to the confusion). Of course there may well be differences in terminolgy in different parts of the world, but if other contributors are open to this, I'd like to change the typology a little to try to eliminate this confusion.--GrahamM 07:59, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Graham: I noticed that the Scotmid photo was wrongly described, and amended it. But go ahead with your typology...
What bothered me was that someone altered what I consider to be perfectly adequate English - "car hire" to "car rental". I have so far refrained from changing it back, but would like to know if Wikipedia has a policy of Americanisation. I have not yet stumbled across any guidance on this. [sig = User:TobyJ 18:25, 30 June 2005]
The primary guidance on this is in the Manual of Style at WP:MOS#National_varieties_of_English. In summary, each article should be consistent on its choice of English. Where the subject of the article doesn't dictate the choice, the article should conform to the which ever version of English was originally used. -- Solipsist 30 June 2005 19:13 (UTC)
I agree with Graham's distinction between secondary/marketing co-ops of businesses (e.g. pre-1998 UniChem) and consumer co-ops of individuals. Unfortunately the replacement photo in the Retailer's Co-op section is of 42 Walton Street, Oxford - a branch of the MidCounties consumer co-operative http://www.midcounties.coop/live/dynamic/OSGFindItResults.asp?id=2093 Nealc 14:30, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


I also think the typology is confusing as presented. I think of differences in cooperatives along a few dimensions. The first is the most important: who are the members of the co-op, and what is their relationship to the co-op? These come in three categories: consumer, worker, and (for lack of a better term) producer. That is, do the members of the co-op buy goods and services from the co-op, do they supply raw materials to the co-op, or do they work in the co-op? Members of consumer co-ops can be individual people, such as in a food (or grocery) co-op, or they can be other businesses, as in the case of a retail co-op that sells marketing services to its member businesses. A housing co-op is a form of a consumer co-op, as is an energy co-op. A producer co-op is when individuals or small businesses (typically farmers) form a co-op to process their raw products, such as milk into cheese. The producers are supplying the raw materials to the co-op, and the co-op owns the finished product and sells it to consumers. A worker co-op is probably the most straightforward model.

Agricultural co-ops don't fall neatly into these categories because there isn't really a standard structure for them. Some Ag co-ops have members that supply inputs to the co-op, others have members that buy marketing services from the co-op, and others are focused on collective purchasing for the farmers' inputs. Most often, the co-op provides all these functions, so it's really a kind of hybrid. Another source of confusion is the word "producer", which is sometimes meant to signify anyone who supplies inputs to the co-op, but is more broadly understood in (US?) agriculture to simply mean, "farmer".

I would add the distinction between co-ops whose members are people and whose members are other businesses as a second dimension to the one I have just outlined. One could think of more dimensions, I'm sure. I'm a person that thinks in matrices like this, which you can see in my additions to the housing co-op entry. But I think trying to categorize co-ops like this to others (who don't so much think in matrices) might not be useful. Usually when I think of these things I end up concluding that a typology based on industries: grocery, marketing, value-added, purchasing, manufacturing, housing, energy, etc., is really the most useful way to introduce the concept to people who are new to co-ops. For them, the details that I'm describing of who constitutes the membership, comes much farther down the line.

$.02 - Nastya Lamb Nastyalamb 14:45, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

I have just deleted the new section on producer coops and added references to this term - now largely outdated - in the worker coops section and in the worker coops main article. I hope this is not too rude. TobyJ 11:20, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

European co-operative statute[edit]

I notice the link redirects to the plain old European _company_ statute. Surely we need a new article?

You are right. This link should be deleted. Are you going to work on this new article? --ZUIA2 22:55, 1 January 2007 (UTC) Good point. Somebody needs to. TobyJ 11:21, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

A bit more context?[edit]

My read of history suggests that the cooperative movement -- much of which Owen-ish and squeaky clean as definitely suggested thus far in these pages -- bumps up against at least three sisters (ugly or beautiful as you wish): communes (not all of which so very pretty, including ours here in Paris a bit back); good old communism (anybody remember that); and more integrally bits of the anarchist movement, not least in Catalonia but in other parts of Europe, and later in S America, as well. Other close complexity links should probably at least touch with a word or two on [land reform], [land taxes] and a fair array of “Socialist” or, as my good friends from the righteous right might say, left-leaning political movements. Gather these assiduously and without boring into your ever better essay and you are in the big leagues. ericbritton 08:08, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, the problem is that the label "cooperative" is thoroughly wedded to the concept of the formal or legally established cooperative. The "can't we all just get along" philosophy you're talking about has traditionally gone under the name anarchism. You might have a point, but it's not appropriate for WP under the Wikipedia:No original research policy.--Coolcaesar 00:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)
Maybe you could add some thoughts along these lines in another article, e.g. Co-operation??. I do agree with the concept, though. There are strong links between co-operatives, and anarchism (the political ideology/movement). (RM21 20:30, 22 June 2006 (UTC))

My gripe with attempts at co-op history is that they always start with "There were these few white guys in Europe that invented the idea..." What a crock! Cooperation has been the main way people got stuff done and provided for themselves and each other ever since there have been humans. Institutionalized cooperation, which is what the white guys in 19th century Europe invented, was just a response to industrial capitalism - which, along with colonialism, was destroying traditional cooperative structures in Europe and throughout the world. These guys were trying to reclaim a little bit of the humanity we all lost when capitalism started becoming the dominant structure shaping human production and distribution. A real history of cooperation would at least acknowledge the vast history of cooperation in precapitalist societies throughout the world. Nastyalamb 14:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Please bring any thoughts on this to the main page - History of the cooperative movement. That article hints at addressing Nastyalamb concerns in the opening paragraph, saying: Although cooperative arrangements, such as mutual insurance, and principles of cooperation existed long before, the cooperative movement began with the application of cooperative principles to business organization. I really would like to work in a bit connecting the history of cooperatives with Chartism, but many of the links to other movements are somewhat tenuous. It's difficult finding information for this as well, and reading Holyoake's History of the Rochdale Pioneers is rather tedious. Gobonobo T C 08:55, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

This article is WAY TOO NARROW. Nastylamb and ericbritton are right. What about agricultural cooperatives in China, Soviet Union, and other socialist or communist places? And why in the world is the definition by the International Cooperative Alliance given such prominence? The article right now is just about Western European and U.S. cooperatives and largely concerned with their classification and legal niceties. -- La la ooh 11 December 2007. —Preceding comment was added at 23:44, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation, cooperative enzymes display allosteric behaviour...[edit]

Enzymes which show cooperative binding display allosteric behaviour. Enzymes such as heamoglobin have cooperative binding to O2, allowing very high affinity for oxygen in the lungs and very low afinity for O2 in tissues. Can we add a link (disambiguation) to some enzyme kinetics pages? --Dan|(talk) 10:49, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

This disambiguation seems unnecessary to me. Is someone looking up cooperative binding really going to only type cooperative? I'm going to remove the tag unless anyone objects. Gobonobo T C 02:10, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Principles[edit]

Should the Co-operative page list the Co-operative Principles somewhere? - [User:JDaviesCoates|JDaviesCoates]

  • I assume you are referring to the Rochdale Principles. There is already a link in the body of the aritcle, but I will play it up a little bit, and repeat in the "see also" section. Brian Z 02:40, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, I think the Rochdale Principles are just an historical reference at the moment. Today´s principles are listed by the International Cooperative Alliance and are not part of the concept (they must not be fulfilled in every co-operative). Today´s co-operative concept is included in the ACI definition. So, in this point I agree with the text included in this page. --ZUIA2 19:31, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Legal entity[edit]

Not somethng I like doing without explanation, because I know how annoying it can be to someone who makes an honest improvement to an existing article, but I have just reverted "can combine" to "thus combines" in the early part of the article about legal entities. This might be thought presumptuous, but this is why. The sentence says that "mainstream" (not all) co-ops are legal entities, and I think this is true. It is of course possible to call co-ops things that are unincorporated, but by far and away the vast majority are incorporated trading bodies, and have rules that embody the co-operative principles. Further, the formulation "can comnbine" contradicts the beginning of the sentence. In co-operation, TobyJ 16:07, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm actually somewhat tempted to rewrite the 'Legal entity' section when I get the chance. The situation, in practice, seems to be more complex than the text makes out:
1) I think that unincorporated Co-operatives may be more common than you think. To cite one study, Alison Bourn's study of food co-operatives in Victoria, Australia (Bourn, Alison, et. al., “Food Co-operatives in Victoria by The Victorian Food Co-operative Study Group”, Collingwood: Victorian Food Co-operative Study Group, July 1984.) found that (particularly among poorer socio-economic groups in downtrodden small towns, housing estates, and the poorer inner urban areas) there were a significant number of buying groups or buying clubs which were, functionally, food co-operatives or consumers' co-operatives, but (due to a lack of resources, knowledge, etc.) had not formally been incorporated. To cite some higher profile examples, from the 1970s to the 1980s, the Co-operative Federation of Victoria had been an unincorporated body ( http://www.australia.coop/publish/article_240.php ). If memory serves me correct, weren't the Rochdale Pioneers (or at least some of their contemporaries or predecessors) unincorporated? It is also not uncommon for a Co-oeprative to begin as an unincorporated body amongst a group of friends and then, beyond a certain level of growth, to incorporate. Anyway, the phenomenon is also discussed by Ray Radford.(Radford, Ray; and Keenan, Michelle; "Food co-ops: A Resource Handbook," Melbourne: V.C.O.S.S., 1988.)
2) It is also not uncommon for small to medium Co-operatives, in which all (or at least most) of the members are also members of another organisation (for example, if a group of people who all attend the same school, live in the same housing estate, or are members of the same non-profit organisation) to operate under the legal auspice of that organisation. The reason, for example, why the food co-operatives at Melbourne, Monash, and Latrobe Unviersity are so concerned about VSU is because they are operating under te legal auspice of their respective student unions. Similarly, Under Current Co-op was run for a number of years under the legal auspice of the Brotherhood of St. Laurence(Manton, Joe, et. al., “Under Current Co-op Helpful Information for Co-ops”, Fitzroy: Under Current Co-op., September 1983.)
3) In some jursdictions, Co-operatives are not recognised by the State as a distinct organisational form; thus you have enterprises which are organsied along Co-operative lines (for example, observing the Rochdale Principles) which are nonetheless incorporated as - for example - a Friendly Society, Association, or LLC. For example, prior to - I think it was 1953 or 1954 - there was no Co-operatives Act in Victoria, even though Co-operatives had existed in the State since at least the 1870s; albeit incorporated under other Acts.
4) Similarly, in jursidictions where there is State recognition of Co-operatives as a distinct organisational form, there may be Co-operatives which, nonetheless, choose to incorporate themselves under other Acts. To cite one prominant example, the Murray Goulburn Co-operative (producers of the popular Devondale Brand of long life milk) is an Argricultural Producers' Co-operative which is nonetheless incorporated as a LLC. (in fact, Section 252 of Victoria's Co-operatives Act 1996 makes explicit provision for such arrangements: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca1996157/s252.html ).
There may, infact, be enough material (when you properly discuss different legal options for co-operatives, and the differences between different jurisdictions and countries in how co-operatives are recognised, and the relevant pieces of legislation), to branch off a Main Article fully discussing the issue. - AmishThrasher 11:03, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
As a further example, the University Students' Cooperative Association at Berkeley is incorporated under California law as a non-profit corporation. While California does allow cooperatives to incorporate as cooperatives, the law is aimed primarily at agricultural cooperatives, which are profit-making entities, where growers combine their efforts cooperatively to maximize their profit from sale of their produce. There is no provision in California corporation law for non-profit cooperatives like the USCA, which exist to provide a service as cheaply as possible to the members; therefore the USCA is a non-profit corporation. Argyriou (talk) 17:07, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely - even in the UK (as the article says) the traditional law co-ops use was intended for those arcane things "Industrial and Provident Societies" (what prudery!) while the new wave since the 70s has used the Companies Acts (normally companies limited by guarantee, which gives you the non-profit-distributing effect desired in Berkeley). In fact the article used to start along the lines of: "Although the term may be used to express a loose ideology, as in "jazz co-op"..." which recognises this and balanced the judgement, but someone has thrown it off kilter by deleting it.

I guess we would need to ask the ICA what their estimate would be of the preponderance of incorporated versus unincorporated co-ops. Will someone do this? Is the ICA listening perchance?TobyJ 08:30, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Spelling - with or without hyphen?[edit]

I've noticed that in many articles, there is mixed usage of the word cooperative (or co-operative). Is this a spelling preference based on differences in American and British English? At the very least, each article should be internally consistent. I, personally, have never seen it written as "co-operative." Is there any history behind this? --Rkitko 07:26, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

My understanding is that British English will spell it co-operative or Co-Operative (and co-op or Co-Op) while American English will spell it cooperative with a hyphen only in the shortened version (co-op). I don't know why the "O" is sometimes capitalized. Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English has instructions on how to proceed. Gobonobo T C 00:21, 18 May 2007 (UTC)
My methodology was the path of least resistance with a bit of research. In this article, cooperative was present 198 times, co-operative was present 87. A google search for "cooperative" yielded 53.2 million pages, while a search with "co-operative" yielded 19.2 million. In regards to this being a UK spelling, the online Oxford World English dictionary lists cooperative and co-operative as their main spelling. And the International Co-operative Alliance, based in Geneva, Switzerland yielded the following search results; a google search for "co-operative" site:ica.coop yielded 1270 pages, and for "cooperative" site:ica.coop yielded 698. I hope this represents a good enough qualifier to change spellings of co-operative and its derivatives (not including coop) to cooperative. Note I did not deal with co-op/coop Dtgm (talk) 23:49, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I forgot to point out that co-operative still appears in this article when it represents how the name of a business or enterprise is usually spelled. Also it has been left alone when an embedded link for which there is no redirect from its hyphen-less counterpart exists, for example, there currently is no article for Business and employment cooperative while there is one for Business and employment co-operative. Brainstorming, it seems like it would be a good idea to have the server automatically drop the hyphen or add it in for commonly hyphenated words when no such desired article exists. Ideally the solution would be to choose cooperative or co-operative to be substituted across the site globally, but I'm sure any enterprise would balk at the idea of having their company's legal name be misrepresented.
Also, in reference to coop/co-op, the top level domain .coop exists, but I have mainly spelled it with a hyphen as I associate coop as a place to keep poultry... and I live in a city! Dtgm (talk) 00:07, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Federal or Secondary Co-operatives[edit]

I think this point should not be included in Types of Cooperatives. Cooperative Federations, or the Cooperative Party, are not co-operatives. Some second degree cooperatives may be co-operative enterprises, but not federations, political parties, etc., that should not be classified as Types of Cooperatives but in the co-operative movement (perhaps in "3. History of the co-operative movement".

--ZUIA2 19:49, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I would strongly disagree. Under the Co-operatives Act in Victoria, Australia, Co-operative Associations and Co-operative Federations are registered as types of Co-operatives, and thus are recognised as being Co-operatives. The general idea of a Co-operative Federation is to be a Co-operative in which all (or most) members are, in turn, Co-operatives (i.e. in which other Co-oepratives are the end users of the goods and services of the Co-operative Federation, which is run on a one member one vote basis for the benefit of its members). - AmishThrasher 01:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps we are speaking about different things. In many countries, co-operative unions, or second degree co-operatives are able to take part in the market providing services or products. But, usually, co-operative federations are nothing different than co-operative associations, representing their co-operative members and providing them some services, just the same as business associations with their members. So, are we speaking about co-operatives or about associative estructures of the co-operative movement?

--ZUIA2 10:55, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe that you are both correct. In my mind, a cooperative federation might be considered a "true cooperative", irrespective of the laws and classifications of the countries they are in. The test of a true cooperative is whether it abides by the cooperative principles. I find that individual cooperatives sometimes fail to uphold the 6th cooperative principle unless or until they are members of a cooperative federation or association. If a cooperative federation itself is run cooperatively, then it probably is a cooperative. For example, the National Cooperative Grocers' Association in the U.S. utilizes weighted voting based on the size of its member cooperatives. While this satisfies the 1966 ICA rewrite of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity, in my mind it goes counter to the spirit of cooperation and was not, perhaps, what the founders had in mind. Gobonobo T C 02:03, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Co-operatives under Tito?[edit]

Rkitko :

Are you sure we are speaking about co-operatives? When we hear about self-management in the Socialist Yugoslavia, people are speaking not on co-ops but on state -or cities/towns- owned enterprises.

If there was really an important co-op movement in Tito´s Yugoslavia, that would be an interesting new for me.

Thank you, --ZUIA2 22:44, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Validate![edit]

A mainstream cooperative comprises a legal entity owned and democratically controlled by its members, with no passive shareholders, unless they hold non-voting shares. It thus combines the equal control characteristic of many partnerships with the legal personality conferred on corporations.

In the United States most cooperatives are organized as limited liability companies (LLCs) but other legal entities may also be used. Cooperatives may or may not pay dividends. For cooperatives falling in the latter category, any surplus may be returned to members by way of a rebate or bonus on their activity with the cooperative, or a dividend on their shareholding in the cooperative.

This is not correct, at least in the states where I practice. Cooperatives which do not allow non-member owners don't normally pay dividends, although they may pay "savings" or "patronage". What is a "mainstream cooperative"? Yes, some jurisdictions allow non-members to own interests in a cooperative and yes, with an LLC you can work around where the jurisdiction doesn't (but you probably can't call it a cooperative). Generally I would organize a cooperative as a cooperative.

I've removed this subject to someone actually validating it. --Doug.(talk contribs) 05:10, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I put it back because I feel that someone like you with expert legal knowledge should try to improve the article, rather than eviscerating it. Is it a matter of amending the second sentence of the disputed section to take account of your comments? TobyJ 10:59, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I will accept that for now, but remember that the burden is on you not me. This is unsupported material, so I moved it to the talk page as recommended. Reference tags are insufficient as the current information is factually incorrect, sort of like having an introduction to an article on tigers saying "Tigers are widespread in Africa." It doesn't just need improvement, it needs to be removed so as not to propagate incorrect information. It is really the whole two paragraphs above; although the first sentence of the second paragraph is the worst, I question the verifiability of any of it (even if in some places LLCs are a common form for cooperatives, I would challenge anyone to find a reliable secondary source that says so - information that is wrong ought not to stay just because it could be fixed when someone gets the time). But, since you object, I will leave it for now. I will try to put together something more supportable in the next few days. Including the actual support may take a little more time, but at least it won't be any worse than it is now. Maybe I can enlist other help from the Project Law folks as law and practice vary a lot from state to state and region to region.
  • On a related topic: Project Cooperatives has a list of requested articles which includes Cooperative Corporations Law. I've suggested on Project Law that maybe Cooperative (Law) is more a appropriate title. What is the sense here of what may be required, if anything? There are specialized tax consequences/advantages for cooperatives in the US that ought to be at least referenced and such a place would be far more appropriate for discussing the actual vehicles used for cooperatives than here. I'll post a similar quaere on Project Cooperatives' discussion page.--Doug.(talk contribs) 22:03, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Back again, I thought I had already assessed this article, but apparently not. I've just given it a Project Law rating of "Start", which was a stretch from a legal perspective due to the inaccuracies, and an importance of "Mid" based on the importance generally, not within law where it's a pretty discrete topic.--Doug.(talk contribs) 23:27, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

I've re-written the first two paragraphs to comport with my understanding of cooperatives in the United States. If the first paragraph isn't true outside the US then we should break it up differently. Again, I will add support for my re-write later, but at least it's more technically correct than it was. If my deletion hadn't been reverted, I would consider this a mere draft. --Doug.(talk contribs) 01:12, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

{{Anarchism sidebar}} Template[edit]

I just undid the addition of the {{Anarchism sidebar}} template by 150.243.208.163. I am unfamiliar with this tag, I'm not sure it's not POV, I'm not sure it should be on the main page, and I think the addition of this tag deserves discussion here.--Doug.(talk contribs) 02:09, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your removal. Cooperation is part of anarchist theory (and of libertarianism, some types of communism, social democracy, and probably others), so saying so doesn't particularly violate NPOV. However, {{Anarchism sidebar}} as it stands is a WP:series navigation box goes completely overboard in bringing dozens and dozens of articles under its wing. In my opinion, the box is trying to achieve the same purpose as a category or portal in its comprehensive ambitions. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 10:17, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Car sharing doesn't sound like cooperatives[edit]

Removed from this page:

Carsharing[edit]

Main article: Carsharing

Carsharing is an arrangement by which individuals and groups share vehicles, which are stored in convenient common locations. It may be thought of as a very short-term, locally-based car hire, run on a members-only basis. It is available in most major cities in Europe. In Switzerland, Mobility CarSharing cooperative has more than 50,000 clients. Carsharing companies operate in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, and it is fast growing in popularity in other European countries, Asia and North America. Car sharing operations may be for-profit or non-profit organizations. Zipcar and Flexcar are the biggest and best-known in the U.S. - both are for-profit corporations. Cooperative Auto Network in Vancouver, BC is another cooperative carsharing company in North America.

In Britain, where the term 'car sharing' normally refers to carpools or ride-sharing, they are called 'car clubs'.

The articles on ZipCar and Flexcar do not suggest cooperatives at all. The Flexcar article says the company is, or was, 60% owned by Steve Case. That's not a cooperative! The Mobility CarSharing article is a tiny little stub with no substantive info and the Carsharing reads sort of like an advertisement and has discussion that argues against including them generally in cooperatives. If some of these are real cooperatives, we can include them with citations.--Doug.(talk contribs) 22:11, 9 October 2007 (UTC) (signature duplicated because I inserted a section break into the contribution. Argyriou)

Right to remove it. Carsharing started as a co-op practice but the lead has now been taken by capitalist businesses. TobyJ (talk) 19:51, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Non-profit cooperative[edit]

In a cooperative you would actually own a 1/nth interest in the fleet of cars (derivatively in the case of a corporation), in the United States there normally aren't stockholders (though there can be) and, at least in the United States, it is impossible to organize a cooperative as a "non-profit" (as that term is commonly used) because "non-profits" can't have owners/members who have a claim on the assets of the cooperative. I welcome someone with citations to restore any part of this which is verifiable.--Doug.(talk contribs) 22:11, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, in Australia, we do have non profit cooperatives. Details vary from state to state, but the 'rules' (constitution) may ensure that assets are not distributed to members. Many women's refuges (shelters) work this way. Any surplus must, according to the rules, be reinvested in the cooperative. When winding up, the rules will say what happens to the surplus, for a non profit this would typically be to distribute to an organisation with similar goals. See Queensland's model rules at http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/OFT/oftweb.nsf/AllDocs/D4AFA39496D20BF94A256C2A00004F00/$File/stdnotradnsjuly06-SO.pdf
WotherspoonSmith 12:39, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Interesting! I didn't mean to suggest this was universal and as was probably clear I was mostly just lambasting this particularly "un-cooperative" section. What makes a non-profit cooperative - cooperative as opposed to just a non-profit--Doug.(talk contribs) 13:51, 10 October 2007 (UTC)?
In California, the University Students Cooperative Association is organized as a non-profit corporation. The articles (or bylaws?) provide for a distribution of its assets in accordance with the laws of non-profits in the event of the dissolution of the organization. There is no direct "buy-in" to become a member, and there is no distribution when one leaves, but each member has equal voting rights while they are members. Argyriou (talk) 18:06, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
How is that different from an ordinary Non-profit with voting members?--Doug. 17:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Legally, it isn't really. However, the bylaws (or articles of incorporation) require that the only people who may vote are residents, and that all residents have one vote, regardless of size of room or rent paid. Additionally, all members are required to perform work to maintain their membership and to reduce the running expenses of the houses. Room and board at the USCA runs about 60% of the cost of the University's dorms. Argyriou (talk) 19:29, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, so it's a sort of hybrid. A membership non-profit with a restricted membership (not uncommon) and with required labor input as dues which reduces the expenses for the group - this last part would seem to be distinctive or at least more what we'd call a "private-benefit non-profit" organized around some cooperative principles. I'm assuming it is not a 501(c)(3) then and probably wouldn't qualify due to the benefit to members.--Doug.(talk contribs) 20:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
using an Australia non profit cooperative example, many women's refuges are ordinary non- profits with voting members, but some are cooperatives, with each staff member an equal member. IIRC, I think there is a political statement here with this model being non hierarchical/ patriarchal. As there is no profit, no private benefit to members, this qualifies them as the Aus equivalent of 501(c). I think such expectations have a bit to offer this article, but I need time to research this before editing. WotherspoonSmith 11:43, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Good article reassessment[edit]

I have nominated this article for reassessment for GA status. I believe it has fallen out of the current realm of GA criteria, specifically because it lacks citation throughout and personal bias, grammatical errors and spelling errors have arisen.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC 02:51, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Article does not fulfill the criteria for GA status. When the article was promoted the criteria used now had not been established. The article lacks proper citations throughout the article, much POV has entered the article and the lead is certainly too small for an article of this size. There are also a number of grammatical errors which include single sentence paragraphs and improper sentence structure. If you feel this change is in error, please see conversation at Good article reassessment.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC 20:53, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Unincorporated co-ops[edit]

Pace the thorny Hroðulf, I have reinstated my change wherein I qualify the bald statement that all co-ops are legal entities. I believe that an organisation that follows co-operative principles can correctly be called a co-operative even if it is not incorporated, i.e. has legal personality. For instance there are a lot of buying groups - groups of neighbours who club together to buy (chiefly food) in bulk - that are not incorporated. There would be no purpose in their incurring expense to set themselves up as companies or IPSs as all the memebrs know each other and the commercial risk is negligeable Yet they function completely as co-ops, in that they trade for the collective benefit of their memebrs, have open and voluntary membership, don't distribute profit to capital, benefit the community etc. Suma, the wholefood wholesaler in Elland UK (which is an IPS), has or had a standard constitution that such groups could adopt, which was drawn up for this purpose by ICOM, at that time the chief registration agent for worker's co-operatives in England, and as stern an erbiter as anyone of what a co-op is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by TobyJ (talkcontribs) 19:33, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Unincorporated co-ops (including partnerships and associations) are described further down the section. I agree that a co-op is not necessarily a legal entity (in the common law sense). So I think our difference is merely about how to express that. Perhaps you can propose another phrasing. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 14:34, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

OK I had a go but what I did was to rephrase the para following the one we are discussing! It is still far from ideal as it seems to refer only to the USA. I think this is a hangover from the very fist version which no one had had the courage to generalise. Someone authoritative should try for a globally applicable statement.TobyJ (talk) 15:47, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I think you did a good job, and I hope someone also has a go at the first sentence. It's a good idea to globalize. I suspect a difficulty in globalizing is the heading itself. Both the concept and the importance of 'legal entity' or 'legal person' seems to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (and time-to-time), while the concept of a co-operative is global. However the two 'USA' sentences probably apply fairly well to the UK too - if my guess that a 'non-capital stock corporation' (Non-stock corporation?) is similar to an England and Wales 'private company limited by guarantee' is right. Perhaps one day there will be an article on Wikipedia breaking it down jurisdiction by jurisdiction. However a summary for each of the 50 United States, never mind the rest of the world, seems a bit daunting right now. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 18:12, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

I was surprised today to stumble upon a short history of the legal forms of co-operatives in the UK. It traces back from unincorporated friendly societies and industrial and provident societies (IPS), to incorporated industrial and provident societies with limited liability (under acts of parliament from 1865 to 2002). It is on pages 4 to 5 (paras 23 to 31) buried in a legal ruling: http://www.nadr.co.uk/articles/published/ArbitrationLawRep/Stansell%20v%20CWS%202005.pdf Stansell Ltd v Co-Operative Group (CWS) Ltd [2005] APP.L.R. 07/22. I am sure it would be an interesting task for someone to summarise that history into a paragraph or two somewhere on Wikipedia, alongside the other forms that TobyJ mentions above. (The limited liability IPS is the form used by much of the UK's consumer co-operative movement, as well as several worker co-ops.) There is also some brief mention in the paper of building societies and the companies acts.) --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 16:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Unity of word use[edit]

There should be chosen one particular version of the word coöpertive throughout the article, except for historical reasons and explanatory use.

I suggest co-operative as the easiest to write and understand.


NantucketNoon (talk) 15:18, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Housing co-op[edit]

This is the mess that was under Housing co-op - someone who knows more about this entry, please fix it up, thanks: "and occupancy rights in a not-for-profit co-operative (non-share capital co-op), and they underwrite their housing through paying subscriptions or rent.

Housing cooperatives come in two basic equity structures:

  • {| class="wikitable" border="1"

|- ! header 1 ! header 2 ! header 3 |- | row 1, cell 1 | row 1, cell 2 | row 1, cell 3 |- | row 2, cell 1 | row 2, cell 2 | row 2, cell 3 |}" LamaLoLeshLa (talk) 18:02, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

The mess was caused by vandalism in this series of edits, which I have now reverted. —Angr 05:59, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Socialism[edit]

I (in my personal opinion) think the last paragraph of the new Cooperative Ideology section has gone off track, especially this sentence: "With the collapse of state socialism in the USSR, the libertarian socialism tradition - expressed through co-operative organisation - has reasserted its importance and influence."

There is too much emphasis on Europe. And while some early cooperators were Utopians, Christian Socialists or Chartists, I have not seen evidence that there is a continuous thread linking 19th century anarchism with the bulk of 20th and 21st century cooperative enterprise (and hence cooperative ideology.)

Perhaps I am wrong.

--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 20:28, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that this section needs work. There are at least four tendencies, schools, types or forms of socialism (please, not "brands"!). Democratic socialism (society-wide socialism achieved and maintained through the electoral process), Marxism-Leninism (socialism imposed on society by a self-appointed elite, without democratic control or institutions), anarchism (socialism which is organized cooperatively, but not necessarily democratically - anarchists organize labor unions, too, by the way), and "utopian" socialism (where people cooperate economically according to various, usually democratic, schemes, but don't seek to impose their beliefs on society). Some anarchists are utopian socialists, and some seek to impose their beliefs on society, like the Marxist-Leninists, in the name of the oppressed working class.114.151.124.44 (talk) 02:22, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
As a stop-gap, I've linked to the articles on Marxism, Socialism and Libertarian Socialism.114.151.124.44 (talk) 02:27, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
There, I took a whack at it. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936, anarchists tried to implement their ideas by forming cooperatives, and by using their unions to manage industry. They were very successful, but their experiment was quashed by the Marxists and the Fascists.114.151.124.44 (talk) 03:11, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Bicycle cooperative[edit]

If you do a web search, there are lots of bicycle cooperatives. Someone needs to either write about this, or remove the statement that no such thing exists.114.151.124.44 (talk) 03:22, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

As of 2013, Wikipedia includes an article about bicycle cooperatives, entitled Bicycle cooperative. Cheers, --Unforgettableid (talk) 07:47, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Energy cooperative[edit]

What is about Energy Cooperatives? Martinvoll (talk) 21:22, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Utility cooperatives are covered here. There are also wind energy cooperatives or wind turbine cooperatives (see community wind energy), but they vary widely in their structures. Gobonobo T C 22:57, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

I am not sure which article this is best put at, but pronunciation differs.

In the north east United States (e.g. in Boston) it's called like for a chicken coop, "Coop". In England it is diffenetiated in the south "Cow Op", or in the north "Cow Op".

I tried to do the IPA here but not sure quite how to put it. SimonTrew (talk) 21:39, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

I haven't been able to find reference to alternative pronunciations for co-op. I have heard people who are unfamiliar with the term say koop, but I think most pronounce it ko-op. Gobonobo T C 22:47, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

cooperative societies[edit]

good morning,

In instance where members of the society have disputes ie. non return on investments can any member have recause to the courts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 41.211.237.164 (talk) 07:00, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

sideways image?[edit]

The Co-operative Bank's head office in Manchester. The statue in front is of Robert Owen, a pioneer in the cooperative movement.

? 99.109.124.130 (talk) 01:43, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Apparently it's a side-effect of an upgrade, described at Commons:Commons:Rotation. I've tagged it so that - if I've done it correctly - a robot will be along eventually to turn it right way up. It seems there's a long queue. NebY (talk) 14:48, 5 December 2011 (UTC)


women's cooperatives in developing countries[edit]

I would like to add a sub-section to this page addressing women's cooperatives in the developing world. This is an important sub-topic that has not been addressed on any of the other "cooperative" Wikipedia pages. Do you think this is a proper place to add my article addendum? My initial instinct was to give the article its own page, but I felt that there was not enough information for that and that the article might get buried. I am hoping to address the rationale for having women's cooperatives vs. mixed groups, then focusing on trends in women's cooperatives and how they have changed over time. Emmyloumanwill (talk) 05:51, 6 March 2013 (UTC)Emmylou Manwill

Hi Emmyloumanwill. I think one difficulty with addressing the topic here is that the term cooperative is used to describe such a large variety of business models that most of this article is devoted an overview of the history and the different types. Oftentimes once a section or subtopic gets large enough, it is spun off into a new article. Given the size of the content in your sandbox, I would encourage you to create a new article for women in cooperatives. We can have a concise summary section here that links directly to that article so it won't get buried. Gobōnobō + c 17:34, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Gobonobo. Thank you for your suggestion, I found it very helpful! I agree with your logic and will proceed accordingly by creating a new page titled women in cooperatives. I have changed the title of my sandbox to reflect your suggestions and am still working on the content. Emmyloumanwill (talk) 05:00, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

National Cooperative[edit]

There is a short article titled National Cooperative Business Association The Cooperative article gives this name, but the name is linked to the NCBA site. The NCBA web site seems to overstate the impoortance of NCBA so I hope the wikipedia article will be maintained and improved. Sincerely! RCNesland (talk) 22:54, 31 May 2013 (UTC)