Table of Table of Contents

Editorial, pp. 3-6

Peer reviewed papers

Creating Affordable Financial Services from the Bottom Up: The Role of Community Finance in Achieving Healthy, Just, and Sustainable Cities.

Paul A. Jones, pp. 7-18


Over the last 20 years, Liverpool has undergone a process of urban regeneration that has facilitated a new waterfront, a growth in the visitor economy, a huge increase in commercial and cultural activity, and in apartment living in the city centre. But on the housing estates that surround the city, poverty, financial exclusion, over-indebtedness, and deprivation persist. Marginalised by the banks and mainstream financial providers, large numbers of people on low-incomes lack access to affordable financial services and are left with little choice but to use high-cost, sub-prime financial providers. The result is greater financial insecurity for many, often with significant detrimental effects on health and well-being. This paper argues that there can be no healthy, just or sustainable city without access to affordable financial services appropriate to the needs of its inhabitants. Yet the for-profit banking sector has shown little interest in serving low-income communities. In Britain, it has often been left to volunteers to come together to respond to the financial needs of their own communities through the creation of self-help financial co-operatives known as credit unions. The paper traces the development of British credit unions and analyses their role within the social economy as community driven, democratic and mutual financial institutions. It explores their contribution to social, economic, and community development and how they have become regarded by policy makers in national and local government as filling gaps abandoned by the state and by the private financial sector and as key long term players in serving low-income communities.

Keywords: credit unions; financial co-operatives; community finance

Prospect of Rural Co-operative Tourism Development in North East India: Case of Sikkim

Supriya Dam, pp. 19-28


Co-operative tourism is emerging as new method of tourism encompassing collective efforts of tourism service providers in facilitating tourism products. Recently, Indian States and Union territories have tapped into the benefits of co-operative tourism and its impacts on socio-economic development of destination areas. Kerala, West Bengal, for example has done exceedingly well in reaping the benefits of co-operative tourism in different spheres of tourism products. The North Eastern Region (NER) in general, and Sikkim in particular, have potential to excel in this field of tourism. The paper explores the prospect of rural co-operative tourism development in Sikkim and suggests ways and means of executing it.

Keywords: co-operative; tourism; Sikkim

Asset-Based Co-operative Management: OPERA as a Process of Critical Appreciation

Rory Ridley-Duff and Suzanne Grant, pp. 29-44


The field of co-operative development is replete with invocations to practise participatory management. Furthermore, Moreau and Mertens (2013) have argued that participatory management should be part of the core curriculum for social economy (SE) management education. This study examines an approach to participatory management called OPERA through the theoretical perspective of critical appreciative processes (CAPs). We participated in four OPERA sessions involving 75 co-operative and SE educators, consultants and managers between July 2014 and April 2016. We wrote reflective diaries of the final two sessions, then used OPERA in our own educational and developmental work to authenticate findings. We found that OPERA elicits a wide range of contributions from participants; improves their engagement in discussion and decision-making; provides a model for non-hierarchical management practice, and; promotes direct democracy. While we found credible evidence that OPERA contributes to the discovery, dream and design parts of appreciative processes, we did not find that it promotes critical appreciation. OPERA emphasises the selecting of ‘assets’ (what works) and avoids critical or confrontational debate. OPERA can contribute to consensus-based co-operative management and workplace democracy, but may marginalise radical, unpopular or contrary points of view.

Keywords: participatory management; consensus; workplace democracy

The Role of Co-operatives in Promoting Solar Power Projects in India

G. S. Nalini and P. Natarajan, pp. 45-53


Solar energy is the genesis for all forms of energy in the world. It is the only perennial source in India, as the country is located in the tropical zone of the earth. This study proposes to assess the commercial viability and the carbon abatement of a solar power project so as to ensure energy sustainability. It is confined to the solar photovoltaic (PV) project as the generated power can be converted into monetary values. The commercial viability has been measured using the benchmark rate of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation. It is witnessed from this study that solar power is highly viable for both domestic and non-domestic promoters. The outcome reveals that the 1 MW solar PV project for Tamil Nadu is highly viable for industrial and commercial promoters owing to drop in initial investment and increase in power generation. Moreover, solar would be a great mitigating factor for carbon footprints. For instance, the 1 MW project is expected to abate an average of 1,283 and 32,087 tonnes of CO2 annually and its lifetime respectively. Therefore, the contribution of co-operatives is immense in advocating this perpetual source of energy to curb carbon emissions. Consequently, energy co-operatives should be promoted in India as in other industrialised countries.

Keywords: solar power; power generation; co-operatives; India

Short Papers

Co-operative Led Contract Farming in India: a Case Study of Amul

Sazzad Parwez, pp. 54-59


Indian agriculture is at a crossroads, where fundamental correction is required to correct its current path; this has led to introduction of co-operatives. This paper tries to understand the co-operative model for contract farming in the broadest sense of input supply, information transfer, and improved marketing channels at all levels. It uses the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd. (Amul) as illustrative of an ideal model of dairy co-operative for furthering the concept of co-operative based contract farming. This paper tries to address the subject both conceptually and empirically. The study finds that co-operative led contract farming can be an important instrument in the development and application of best practices and realisation of reasonable prices for farmers.

Keywords: agriculture; dairy co-operatives; India

Book Reviews

Omnia Sunt Communia — On the Commons and the Transformation to Post Capitalism

By Massimo De Angelis. Reviewed by Pat Conaty, pp. 60-62

The New Enlightenment: A Twenty-First Century Peaceful American Revolution

By Robert Bivona. Reviewed by Thomas W. Gray, p. 63

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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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