Book Reviews (Review of International Co-operation, Vol 89, No.2/1996)

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         July, 1996

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation,
     Vol.89, No.2/1996, p.87-90)

                         Book Reviews

          Co-operative Principles for the 21st Century

by Ian MacPherson, (ISBN 92 9054 007 9) is a full-colour A4 
72-page  volume containing over 150 photographs illustrating
the work of co-operatives worldwide. Price:  CHF 40.00 for
single copies plus postage which will be added to pro forma
invoice. Special discounts for large orders. 

This work is a fitting finale to the odyssey on which my
predecessor embarked nearly a decade ago. Lars Marcus
initiated the debate on Co-operative values at the Stockholm
Congress in July, 1988.  Thus began the process of reviewing
the principles which had stood unchanged for thirty years. 
Anyone with any understanding of the Co-operative Movement
internationally will know that, in the intervening period, the
early dominance of the European Movements has been
counter-balanced and in a number of sectors outpaced by
vibrant Asian and Pan American Co-operative Movements. 
Indeed, more&than two-thirds of the individual Co-operative
membership of the ICA - some five hundred million Co-operators
- are drawn from the Continent of Asia. 

When the founders of the ICA came together to organise the
London Congress of 1895, they were representative of three
basic types of Co-operative association, namely the Consumers'
Co-operatives, the Workers' Co-operative Productive Societies
and Credit Co-operatives, emerging respectively in Britain,
France and Germany. How far the Movement has travelled
internationally since then! The Movement today comprises at
least twelve strong economic sectors. This beautifully
illustrated book amply demonstrates the colour, diversity and
dynamism of the work, products and services of Co-operatives
across the world. The review of principles, which is the third
such project in the hundred years of the life of the ICA, has
fallen neatly into three phases - the first, as I have
indicated, launched by Lars Marcus. And the pilot on board for
the second phase was another distinguished Swede, Sven Ake
Book, whose encyclopedic report - "Co-operative Values in a
Changing  World" - was debated intensively at the Tokyo
Congress in October, 1992.

On the bridge of the ship for the final stage of the voyage
was the Canadian whose name appears on this publication. 
Professor Ian MacPherson's patience, good humour, empathy and
academic distinction combined brilliantly  in concert with the
thoughts and contributions of Co-operators worldwide to
produce for the Manchester Congress in September, 1995, the
plain and thoroughly up to date "Statement on the Co-operative
Identity".  For the first time, the nature of a Co-operative
is defined. 

The Statement goes on to set out the values on which
Co-operatives are based and concludes by enunciating the
principles which today's Co-operators follow to put these
values into practice. The ICA faced the risk of giving birth
to a statement so complex that a thousand Professors would
have been insufficient to interpret it to our members. But,
happily, one Canadian Academic, consulting internationally,
taking stock of views and experiences from all Co-operative
sectors, has worked the oracle.  It must surely stand the test
of the next hundred years in the life of the International

This Statement combined with the background chapter on the
thinking behind the principles, and the panoramic vision of
Co-operation into the Twenty-First Century built on its
Nineteenth Century heritage and Twentieth Century reality,
makes this material essential reading for every Co-operative

I commend this book to members of the International
Co-operative Alliance wherever they may be and, in turn, to
their members and to all who believe in the values of mutual
self-help and working together.

Graham Melmoth

               A Thematic Guide to ICA Congresses

               by Dionysos Mavrogiannis and Rita Rhodes,
     (ISBN 92 9054 002 8), published in the ICA series Studies
                    and Reports, 206 pp., price CHF 20.00.

The reports of the 31 Congresses held between 1895 and 1995
are a summarised history of the 100 years of existence on the
International Co-operative Alliance. It records the issues,
decisions and the personalities which have shaped the
evolution of the ICA as the representative of the world-wide
co-operative movement.

This guide summarises and analyses the main themes, reports,
discussions and resolutions from each of the 31 Congresses. A
number of common themes reappear - co-operative principles,
trade, and information being the most frequent during the
earlier years. Later they were joined by development issues -
education, training, and relations with government  -  as the
ICA's membership expanded in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The guide also serves as a historical summary of the
Specialised Bodies which exist within the ICA structure.
Through their Congress reports the reader can follow the
evolution of the sectoral organisations (agriculture,
worker-production, consumer, fisheries, housing, banking,
insurance, distributive trade, tourism and energy) and the
functional committees (communications, research, human
resource development and women) which today form an important
part of the ICA structure.

The document, with its frequent annotations and page
references from Congress reports, will also serve as a useful
guide to co-operative researchers and historians.

Through their focus on the themes which have dominated ICA's
work and thinking for 100 years, the authors demonstrate the
high level of policy debate that has taken place over the
years among its leadership, and which has been a major factor
in the longevity of the International Co-operative Alliance.

Gabriella Sozanski

               Gender Issues in Co-operatives:
                   an ILO - ICA Perspective

The Training Package includes a pamphlet, a Manual and a
Training Module, Transparencies and poster. Copies available
from the Cooperative Branch, International Labour Office
(ILO), 4 route des Morillons, CH-1211 Geneva 22,
Switzerland,Tel: + 41 22 79974 42, Fax + 41 22 799 85 72.

The idea to develop a 2-hour introductory session on gender
issues in cooperatives for cooperative leaders and policy
makers originated from discussions on gender issues held at
the third Working Session of the ILO COOPNET Programme. The
COOPNET Programme (Human Resource Development for Cooperative
Management and Networking), collaborates closely with the
International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in programme
activities. The ICA is an independent, non-governmental
association which unites, represents and serves cooperatives
worldwide. Both the ILO COOPNET Programme and the ICA are
committed to the promotion of gender integration in
cooperative human resource development (HRD). 

After the COOPNET Working Session, the ICA was commissioned to
develop a guide to enable the users (trainers or moderators)
to design a 2-hour introductory session on gender issues in
cooperatives. A general outline for the guide was discussed
and inputs provided by co-operative leaders and policy makers
from Asian and African countries who attended an
inter-regional workshop at the International Institute
Histadrut (IIH) in Israel in November 1994. This workshop on
"Gender Issues in Co-operative HRD: From Theory to Practice",
was organized by the ILO in collaboration with the ICA and

The enhanced participation of women in cooperatives and the
benefits for co-operatives of involving women as equal
partners in co-operative development are issues that are given
special attention in the guide. The main aim of the 2-hour
sessions for co-operative leaders and policy makers is
therefore to generate increased gender awareness and to
encourage the integration of gender issues in cooperative

It is important to note that this guide should be used as a
tool to facilitate the planning and design of gender
sensitization sessions. It outlines the possible contents of
these sessions and includes additional background information
on gender. The complete "package" contains a sensitization
module accompanied by transparencies which will assist the
user in the preparation of the session. The package also
contains a poster which can be displayed to promote the
sensitization session, and leaflets which can be distributed
to participants after the session. 

Finally, it should also be mentioned that the initial draft
guide was tested by professional trainers and institutions in
several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their
comments and inputs were greatly appreciated and have been
extremely useful in compiling the final version.