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

Peer reviewed papers

Wearing Two Hats – the Conflict Between Being an Agricultural Business Customer and Shareholder  

Liezel Alsemgeest and A v A Smit, pp. 5-16

This study examines farmers’ perceptions with regard to what they feel the goals of a converted agricultural business (from co-operative to investor-oriented firms) should be versus what the goals currently are. Given that co-operatives and IOFs have widely convergent primary goals, the farmers are (in the majority of cases) wearing different hats (that of the customer and the shareholder) and might be conflicted on where management efforts should be focused. The study focuses on farmer-centred goals (co-operative goals) and corporate-oriented goals (investor-oriented goals) and a total of 345 farmers from Central South Africa took part in the survey. The results indicated that the respondents feel that the goals of the agricultural business (according to them) are corporate-centred, while they feel that the goals should rather be farmer-centred, as it was in the past. This result contributes to the body of literature in examining the conflict that exists in agricultural businesses due to the customers also being the shareholders.

Alsemgeest and Smit, 2012

The Driving Forces and Economic Impact of Co-operative Membership: Empirical Evidence from the Mexican Coffee Sector  

Benigno Rodríguez Padrón, Ruerd Ruben and Kees Burger, pp. 17-31

We identify key factors influencing membership of co-operative organisations in Mexico’s coffee sector. We also determine the impact of membership on the incomes that are derived from coffee cultivation. Factors at all levels are found to be relevant: individual factors, family characteristics, farm type and regional factors. Data come from a survey of 1,396 coffee farmers held in 2004 in eight major producer states in Mexico and complemented with information from the National Coffee Census. We apply regression models that control for selection bias and endogeneity to identify driving forces as well as the economic effects of co-operative membership. Co-operatives are typically joined by older male farmers, on medium sized farms, who have access to electricity and are located at higher altitudes and in larger municipalities. Private land ownership reduces the probability of co-operative membership. There is consistent evidence that participating in co-operatives has a positive effect on the individual coffee prices and per capita coffee income. This effect is mostly due to the additional coffee processing offered by co-operatives.

Padrón, Ruben and Burger, 2012

Improving Autonomy in Indian Co-operatives – the Hyderabad Experience

Jennifer Meyer-Ueding, pp. 32-42

Member participation and autonomy are of fundamental essence for the character of co-operatives. Since colonial rule and extending until today, Indian co-operatives have been kept under government control. This article depicts the co-operative sector in the Indian city Hyderabad. The majority of Hyderabad’s co-operatives are registered under an old act which limits their autonomy and member participation enormously. A new, more liberal act simultaneously provides legal space for member participation and control. Notwithstanding the given legal scope, rules-in-use of the new generation of co-operatives in Hyderabad still do not comply with the principles of autonomy and the co-operatives rely on external supervision by non-governmental organisations.

Meyer-Ueding, 2012

Shorter papers

The Study Group on European Cooperative Law (SGECOL): A new Scholarly Initiative 

Ian Snaith, pp. 43-47

This note outlines a new academic network named “Study Group on European Cooperative Law” (SGECOL), and the “Principles of European Cooperative Law” (PECOL) project. SGECOL is a European group of co-operative law scholars whose general objective is to conduct comparative research on co-operative law in Europe and increase awareness and understanding of co-operative law within the legal, academic and governmental communities at national, European and international level. SGECOL intends to achieve this objective through research initiatives on co-operative law, beginning with the drafting of PECOL. PECOL will take the form of legal provisions accompanied by explanatory comments. They will be developed on the basis of the existing co-operative law in Europe, focusing in particular on six European jurisdictions (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK). PECOL will not simply summarise and describe the common core of European national co‑operative laws. It also aims to present the main general provisions through which the authors believe co‑operative law should be formulated so as to provide co-operatives with a definite and distinct legal identity. The PECOL project does not serve a single specific purpose, such as the harmonisation of national co-operative laws. PECOL will be a scholarly work, capable of serving many potential functions, depending on the users’ particular needs.

Snaith, 2012

Individual Problems Have Collective Solutions: Looking Back Towards a Welsh Co-operative Future? 

Alun Burge, pp. 48-53

A Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission was announced by the Welsh Government in July 2012 to make recommendations on how to grow and develop the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales “in order to create jobs and wealth”. Its terms of reference includes considering the evidence for supporting the co-operative and mutual sector and identifying specific areas that might be targeted for additional support. The Commission is charged with setting out a vision for the co-operative and mutual economy in Wales, and taking into account best practice and evaluations of previous activity. In developing its vision, and determining how to achieve it, the Commission needs to consider the rich co-operative tradition in Wales, and the factors that helped shape it, to see what can be learned. In developing a report for the twenty first century, whilst it is important that the Commission draws on experiences from around the world, as the Wales TUC did in looking at Mondragon in the Basque Country before establishing the Wales Co-operative Centre in 1982, it also needs to look close to home to understand the historical context in which co-operatives

Burge, 2012

Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission Call for Evidence 

Molly Scott Cato, p. 54

A call for evidence for the Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission with a deadline for responses of 19 April 2013.

Scott Cato, 2012

Book reviews

Empire and Co-operation – how the British Empire used co-operatives in its development strategies 1900-1970. By Dr Rita Rhodes.  Reviewed by Hans-H Münkner, pp. 55-58

The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got It. By Andy Wightman. Reviewed by Martin Large, pp. 58-60

Co-operation: A Post-war Opportunity Missed? By Alun Burge. Reviewed by Molly Scott Cato, pp. 60-61

Economic and Other Benefits of the Entrepreneurs’ Co-operative as a Specific Form of Enterprise Cluster. By Nicole Göler von Ravensburg. Reviewed by Gabrielle Ullrich, pp. 62-64

Reviews - 136, 2012
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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