Editorial - P.A. Jones, p. 3
Table of Contents

Refereed Articles

A ‘member-owned business’ approach to the classification of co-operatives and mutuals

Johnston Birchall, pp. 4-15.

Co-operatives are defined according to co-operative principles and an identity statement endorsed by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). The article argues that this is too much taken for granted, and that more work needs to be done. It provides a brief history of the co-operative principles, showing how the ICA has codified and periodically revised them. It discusses several difficulties with this approach and suggests an alternative based on the concept of member-owned businesses. Three main stakeholders are identified and the different types of co-operative are put into a comprehensive classificatory system. Co-operatives are placed firmly in the category of ‘private sector’ rather than in categories that privilege the social over the economic. It suggests co-operative federations should adopt a member-ownership framework, extend a welcome to other types of member-owned business, and through this approach align their membership and business strategies.

Birchall, 2011

Social economy and development co-operation

Hans-H Münkner, pp. 16-24.

Despite large sums spent over decades on development aid, almost half the world population remains poor. This paper discusses how the fight against poverty and hunger can be made more successful. What should the concepts and goals of development co-operation be? Instead of aiming at growth based on neo-liberal concepts and most modern technologies benefiting only few, it is proposed to build on a broad-based social economy remaining part of a modern market economy but closer to indigenous values and norms prevailing in rural communities in many countries of the South. In economies where labour is abundant and unemployment is high while capital is scarce and expensive, it may be more effective to concentrate on laying the foundations for long-term local development and to agree on new ways of using surplus for sustainable development rather than aiming at short-term shareholder-value. Development co-operation could help to create conditions which allow readjusting important parts of the economy to serve the needs of the communities and to create employment for the people living there. Focus should be on long-term programmes rather than on short-lived projects, adjusted education and training programmes for which appropriate trainers have to be trained, labour intensive ‘middle’ technologies compatible with local conditions, appropriate education and appropriate forms of organisation, preferably based on self-help in groups. The message is to point out ways to enable the poor to overcome poverty by co-operating, developing their own strength and better use of their own resources.

Münkner, 2011

The role of co-operatives in securing land for urban housing in Nigeria: A case study of NEPA District Co-operative Thrift and Loan Saving Association, Enugu

Eziyi O. Ibem and Chuba O. Odum, pp. 26-36.

The failure of government and the formal land delivery system to provide low-income earners with easy access to secured land tenure in developing countries calls for research on alternative means and ways through which this class of income earners can gain access to land for housing in urban areas. This study investigated the role of NEPA District Co-operative Thrift and Loan Saving Association, Enugu, Nigeria, in assisting members to secure land for housing. A qualitative research method was used in obtaining primary data through one-on-one interview with members of the co-operative society. Findings show that in addition to providing credits to members, the co-operative society was also involved in scouting for land, purchasing, titling, sub-dividing and allocating plots to beneficiaries. These ensured tenure security as beneficiaries were not subjected to double purchasing and activities of unscrupulous land agents, predator lenders and fake title vendors. The paper concludes that co-operative activities can play significant role in addressing urban land and housing crisis confronting low-income people, and thus should be encouraged in Nigeria and other developing countries.

Ibem and Odum, 2011

Short Articles

Co-operative accounting: disclosing redemption contingencies for member shares

Louis Beaubien, pp. 38-44.

The extant literature argues that co-operatives are unique organisational forms, different from investor owned companies. As such, they conduct business differently and have differing constituting structures. Although some aspects of the organisation may appear similar – owners shares and members shares – they have significant differences. Existing practice in co-operatives has been to try to make business and reporting fit accounting standards that were developed for investor owned companies. The results of these adaptations have been equivocal at best. As a remedy, this paper provides the example of member equity as it might be reconsidered within the principles of how co-operatives actually function; and therein suggests a new practice for reporting the value of member shares.

Beaubien, 2011

Co-opportunistic circumstances

Patrick Laviolette and Carlo A Cubero, pp. 45-48.

This brief research report provides an overview on a project that investigates co-operative social housing in London. It explores the material and socially binding ways in which a group of co-operative tenants appropriate space, relocate themselves and cope with domestic transience given the potentially short-life nature of their periods of residency. It also questions how they perform their senses of belonging through moving and short-term habitation in global urban environments. Methodologically, drawing from an ‘archaeology of the contemporary past’ in which everyday material culture is subjected to an archaeological gaze, we attempt to reconcile Owenite utopianism with Marxist-materialist positions, whereby alienability and inalienability regarding the home, inflect ‘circumstances’ with ideological concerns.

Laviolette and Cubero, 2011

Book reviews

Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory and Practice. By Rory Ridley-Duff and Mike Bull with additional input from Pam Seanor and Tracey Chadwick-Coule.

Reviewed by Jan Myers, pp. 49-51

The Story of HF Holidays. By Harry Wroe.

Voices of Wortley Hall, The Story of ‘Labour’s Home’, 1951-2011. By John Cornwell.

Reviewed by Nick Matthews, pp. 52-54

Co-operatives in a Global Economy: The Challenges of Co-operation Across Borders. Edited by Darryl Reed and J.J. McMurtry.

Reviewed by James Beecher, pp. 55-56

Reviews - Myers; Matthews; and Beecher, 2011
UK Society for Co-operative Studies is registered in England and Wales as a charitable incorporated organisation Number 1175295. Our registered office is Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS.
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