Starting Points for the '90's (1992)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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October, 1992
(Source: Co-operative Values in a Changing World (1992)
  
              III.    STARTING POINTS FOR THE 90'S
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Some Common Problems
-----------------------------------
   
("Co-operative development might be considered as a very
long-term process, with some economic and social projects
taking place over several generations. The aim is to
transform more co-operative values to society at large,
by expanding activities and by improving methods of
activity. In this way the co-operative movement can
contribute to a better society. 
  
The co-operative process is basically an interaction
between:
  
1) Co-operatively committed members, employees and
     leaders and their expectations for the future,
  
2) Co-operative values inherited from the past and
     expressed in principles, programmes, statutes,
     books, education material, etc.,
  
3) Practical co-operative applications; structures,
     methods of activity, education, etc, also inherited
     from the past, and
  
4) The environment of co-operatives, e. g. the
     government, the institutional  structures of the 
     society at large, the economic system, the values 
     in the community, etc.
  
The accepted values in each period of history are the
results of the interplay between these parts of the
co-operative process."
  
-S. A. Book 1981)
  
As we leave theory and move to co-operative practice it
is necessary to remember that the application of
co-operative values to reality has always been a matter
of priorities and compromises. All the values cannot be
achieved to their potential at the same time. There is
always a choice regarding how scarce resources should be
utilized. Such choices imply priorities and compromises. 
  
It is also evident that the co-operative way has always
been flexible in its response to a changing environment.
Compromises must be made between what co-operators want
to do and what they actually can do. It is often said
that whereas co-operation has  quite revolutionary ideas,
the methods it uses are more reformist in character. 
  
1. Co-operative pragmatism
-------------------------------------  
A pragmatic approach is necessary regarding adaptation to
a changing environment. The methods used will be the most
efficient contemporary society has to offer. What really
matters when it comes to values is the long-term
co-operative orientation. Co-operative history has been
characterized by practice which differs to a greater or
lesser extent from the ideal values, but which has these
as the 'guiding stars' in written programmes or in the
hearts of committed co-operators.
  
One cannot expect co-operative organizations always to
act totally in accordance with the principles and values.
Such an expectation would reflect too idealistic an
approach.
  
On the other hand, it is reasonable to expect
co-operative organizations to have the will, demonstrated
in practice, to seriously examine the possibility of
applying the values and principles and to use their
resources accordingly. If such a will is missing in
practice, then, and only then, is it appropriate to use
the concept `degeneration' as characterizing the situation. 

-------------------------------
Figure 1 : Co-operative development and the environment
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Economic & Political System
                     The International Economy

living Conditions				 State, Government
Demographic structures,   CO-OPERATIVE	 Legislation, Social	
cultural values, etc.	     DEVELOPMENT	 & Economic Policy

          Other organiszations	                   Technology
          People's Movements		       Kow How
          Trade Unions

Comments on the figure:

Co-operative practice is characterized by an interaction with its 
environment, probably more than in other economic organizations.
During 1960-1990, the environment in all those aspects shown in
the figure changed radically and rapidly for most parts of the
world co-operative movement
------------------------------
  
Pragmatism has characterized the co-operative process of
development during the late 70(r)s and the 80(r)s. This has
been an unusually difficult period, and it is no
exaggeration to say that the environment has influenced
co-operative practice more than customary.
  
I will now examine some problematic experiences against
the background of the traditional values and principles
which I identified in the last chapter. Although the story 
is somewhat depressing we cannot shut our eyes to it if 
we want to examine our points of departure for our 
discussion of values and principles for the future. I have 
identified such problematic aspects as especially
connected to:
  
  -  Co-operative development in highly industrialized
      market economies, especially consumer co-operative
      development
  
  -  The relatively slow co-operative development in many
      developing countries
  
  -  The radically changed situation for co-operative
      development in planned economies.
  
There are also other problematic aspects if we move
closer to reality, but I restrict myself to look upon
these from a global co-operative outlook1.
  
1.1.    Global trends 
---------------------------  
Before examining the tendencies in co-operative
performance, let me touch upon some important global
trends, which have constituted the climate of
co-operative development during recent decades. Most of
these will probably continue throughout the 90's; but
nothing is certain in this rapidly changing world.
  
-  Expansion and insility: The productive capacityof
    the rich and highly industrialized countries is
    double what it was 30 years ago.  The process of
    economic development has been unusually unsafe,
    however, with fluctuations in production, income and
    employment from year to year. Some years have been
    characterized by the deepest recessions since 1929
    for some of the large industrialized countries (UN
    1990, World Bank 1990). 
  
-  Rich and poor: Many countries in the poor part of
    the world have experienced a relatively slow rate of
    growth. Their situation, measured as income per
    capita, has become even worse than it was 30 years
    ago. There are exceptions, particularly in South
    East Asia, but from an overall global outlook the 
    main picture is obvious: the division in economic and 
    social conditions between  rich and  poor countries 
    has increased, particularly during the 80's
    (UN1990, World Bank 1990). 
  
-  Internationalization: The process of internationa-lization 
    of the industrialized countries has speeded up. 
    Foreign trade has increased, more multinational 
    and transnational enterprises have been eslished, as
    have international financing and banking systems.
    The European Common Market has been developed and
    enlarged, which opens up new possibilities at the
    same time as it increases the competition in
    national markets. The poor countries are, with som
    exceptions, outside this process of interna-tionalization 
    and increasing world trade. Their enforced role is that 
    of unprofile raw material suppliers.
  
-  Flexibility and turbulence: Turbulence, rapid changes, 
    short-term planning horizons and quick decisions 
    have characterized the business climate of the 
    industrialized countries. Flexibility and readiness to 
    adapt to unexpected changes are the criteria for success, 
    while long-term planning has become just a memory. 
    Today, strategic planning is about how to maintain 
    flexibility, yet to decisively choose between "possible 
    futures" (see Dulfer in Dulfer/Hamm 1985).
  
-  Monetarism: Monetary and market-oriented philosophies 
    have increasingly characterized economic theory. Monetary
    measures have become a more important part of economic 
    policy, and stock exchange markets and stock corporations 
   are the main financiers of capital ventures. Governments 
   have made use of restricted budget policies, which are
   followed by unemployment and social problems for the
   weaker parts of the population. 
  
- Waste of resources: The exploitation of natural
   resources continues. The negative effects have been
   clearly demonstrated, as has their global character.
   Still, improvement seems to be marginal, even if
   consciousness seems to have increased. The younger
   generations are active in new people(r)s movements 
   for environment protection and the conservation of
   natural resources has a high priority for these generations.
  
- Urbanization: In many parts of the world socio-
   economic and demographic structures have become 
   more flexible. Urbanization continues; cities and their 
   suburbs have larger slum areas with high unemployment, 
   while rural areas stagnate and social and cultural services 
   become impoverished. Young people move from rural areas, 
   old people stay. The emancipation of women continues:
   more women work outside the home and the nuclear family 
   is on the decline. Society is becoming more uns le. 
  
-  Revolutionary technology: New technologies are emerging 
    to revolutionize the work place, communication structures
   and information systems. New perspectives of 
   decentralization are opening up,  but at the same time there 
   is a danger that the freedom of the individual will be under threat.
  
-  Post-industrialism: Service industries make up an
    increasing part of the national product. Knowledge,
    education, technology and information seem to gain
    increasing importance as a factor of production. As levels 
   of income and education become higher the high priority 
    given to material needs by older generations tends to be 
    substituted by values of individual self-realization and 
    liberty. New class structures seem to be emerging 
    (e.g. Åberg, 1990;  Johansson, 1991).
  
These changes (or lack of changes in some parts of the
world) have, of course, had different effects in various
parts of the world and have had various levels of impact
on co-operative development. An in-depth discussion is
not possible here, but certainly we might identify both
conflicts and challenges for the future, if we consider these 
in more detail within the framework of the co-operative 
values and ideas.
  
2. Adaptation in highly industrialized market economies
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------  
In the 1950s and 1960s established Western European
co-operative organizations, still the largest part of the
ICA and the world co-operative sector in economic terms,
experienced rapid growth. The co-operative economy was
relatively stable, the members benefited from their membership
and co-operative organizations made important contributions 
to society as a whole. There are many  success stories from 
that time, perhaps these decades might be characterized as a 
period of unusual success. Using the concepts of H. 
Desroche (1980) one might say that co-operative organizations 
were successful in all  their ambitions of societal penetration: 
demographic, economic and cultural2. 
2.1.    Problematic tendencies
----------------------------------------  
The middle of the 70(r)s saw a period of growing economic
difficulties, which became even worse at the end of the
decade and in the early 80(r)s. It became increasingly
difficult to offer competitive economic benefits to
members, economic stability was transformed into
insility, and economic development stagnated. Some large
consumer co-operatives even collapsed; a new experience 
for modern times. Various explanations have been
proposed. Many see increased competition in the domestic
markets as a consequence of internationa-lization, which
challenged previous co-operative advantages in joint
action. Some look critically at the co-operative
leadership, claiming it failed to adapt to changing
environments, as incompetent leaders could go on until
their retirement because of the vague structure of aims
within the co-operative system. 
  
("The wealth accumulated by consumer co-operatives up  
to the 1950's and 1960's made it all too easy to
"overlook"  serious losses, regarding them as temporary, 
or to blame outside factors (unfriendly governments, the 
business cycle, shifts in consumption patterns etc). 
Problems that are not energetically tackled at an early 
stage tend to become too big to handle, and a fall from 
imagined  strength to depressed resignation may ensue. 
If losses are not fought early, financial charges also tend 
to become a very high burden.)
  
-J. Brazda and R. Schediwy, 1988, p.34)
  
It is also claimed that the "ideological climate"  of the
70's restricted the professional management, giving too
much power to co-operative "laymen". There are also some
self-critical views about various "value restrictions" on
co-operative applications, especially about financing and
decision-making. Finally some observers, mainly
researchers, consider that such problems are just
symptoms of the ageing co-operative organization.
  
2.2.    Clash between systems
----------------------------------------  
These explanations are certainly part of the truth about
what actually happened. To me, however, the most
interesting explanations for the future are those which
draw attention to the changing relations between the
co-operative system and the changing environment. For
large and established co-operative organizations there
seems to have become an increasing conflict between
traditional ways of establishing structures and
developing policies and those which the dominating and
changing trends of the society have dictated as the most
efficient. The late 70's and the 80's seem to have
imposed an increasing `incongruence' between the
co-operative system and that of the environment, as some
researchers prefer to express it (Nilsson 1986). 
  
Such conflicts have, of course, always been there; that
is why co-operatives have been, and still are,
established. During the 50's and the 60's, however,
co-operative organizations became more integrated parts
of the national economies and of society at large, and
hence become more sensitive to change. This is especially
true when one considers the fact that the co-operative
organizations had built up nationwide secondary
organizations for common services, and so entered the
70's with less autonomous structures than before. To
indicate the problems in more detail:
  
-  The established co-operative system in its federal
    models is found to function best in surroundings
    with a stable and expanding economy. The more
    unstable situation of the 70's disturbed the
    efficiency of the co-operative planning structures. 
  
-  Democratic co-operative management always seems to
    include a conservative tendency. The members are
    cautious when dealing with assets which they have
    accumulated with difficulty. This quality, whilst
    esirable in itself, seems to have become
   problematic within an environment that demands rapid
   decisions, especially about giving up unprofitable
   activities. 
  
-  The co-operative culture has long been characterized
    by concerns for honesty and reliability in
    establishing structures to serve its members.
    Short-term, speculative and temporary 'values'
    usually have no place in the co-operative approach.
    Common (planned) functions have tended to become too
    rigid and too unsensitive in such an environment,
    and tended to increase conflict between the demand
    for local autonomy and the traditional values of
    solidarity with the movement as a whole. 
  
-  The traditional self-financing ways of raising
    co-operative capital tend to come into conflict with
    the increasing need for aggressive investments. This
    was further emphasised by the expansion of the stock
    exchange markets and their growing importance for
    economic policy, enterprise financing and financial
    investment. Co-operative organizations were placed
    in a bad position within such environments,
    especially when they needed capital for expansion.
    The stock company model was favoured, and the
    co-operative organizations were even advised by
    governments, legislators and investors to transform
    themselves into joint-stock companies in order to
    gain better access to capital.
  
-  The basic aim to serve the needs of members has
   traditionally given co-operative organizations a
   local orientation. There are differences between
   producer co-operatives and consumer co-operatives in
   this respect, but both are characterized by the
   domestic and the local. Additionally, it has not
   been considered within the interests of the members
   of consumer co-operatives to export, only to import.
   And, by tradition, producer co-operatives do not
   enter the territory of other co-operatives, when
   they want to export. Such basic characteristics
   became problematic in the climate of the late 70's
   and the 80's, where "business value" such as the
   'offensive', the `profile' and the 'futurelooking'
   were connected with multinational corporations and
   the penetration of export markets. 
  
-  Finally, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that
   the long-term trends toward post-industrial society
   with higher levels of income, etc, have tended to
   weaken the need for the services of the established
   consumer co-operatives. It is also probable that
   tendencies toward a more flexible and less
   class-oriented society gradually lessened the
   incentives to organize these larger organizations to
   meet basic material needs.
  
The late 70s and 80s saw little co-operative
development in these parts of the world. There was
an increasing feeling that something was wrong, but
it was difficult to put the finger on what that
something might be.
  
I agree with Brazda/Schewidy, but at the same time I must
say, as I have participated in this development since
late 60's, that the problems were difficult to identify
because they were unusually universal. It is easier to
look at the period from a distance.
  
2.3.    The process of adaptation
-------------------------------------------  
The process of adaptation became problematic for
traditional co-operative values. Contact with the members
became more impersonal as organizations became larger and
member participation decreased. Radical and new measures
need serious discussion among members, otherwise negative
attitudes will automatically dominate. Some such problems
are outlined below:
  
-  More transformations into the joint stock company
   form of organization. Most of these, however, were
   carried out at secondary and tertiary levels of
   co-operative organizing (see chapter V:3).
  
  
-  More solutions to capital-raising problems by
   obtaining equity capital from sources other than the
   members. To some extent, although restricted,
   co-operative shares are sold on the stock exchange
   markets. This measure is mostly at secondary and
   tertiary levels (chapter IV). 
  
-  Closer collaboration with private capital
   associations in ownership, joint ventures and
   franchising. It has also become usual to expand by
   taking over private enterprises, where the ambition
   of co-operation has mostly become a question of
   ownership. The company thus acquired remains
   unchanged: one cannot `see' that it is now a
   co-operative.
  
-  More activities at the secondary levels have been
   separated from the co-operative whole. These are
   given more independent positions and usually more
   outspoken market and profit-oriented aims - and are
   often organized as stock companies. Less of the
   `planned economy' of the co-operative system is
   left, even if there are some exceptions (see below).
  
-  In some countries the federative form of organizing
   relations between primary societies and secondary
   societies has been more or less abandoned. In some
   cases, the federative form has even been replaced by
   an integrated national organization. In other cases,
   there are various forms of gradual, or temporary,
   approaches to this integrated national organization
   by forming relatively large regional associations
   and by developing special associative forms of
   collaboration between the union and the societies
   which need support. To quite an extent these new
   forms are using the joint stock company model of
   organization.
  
-  The development of services for members' needs has
   become more a matter of usual market communications.
   In consumer co-operatives especially, members tend
   to have been regarded as customers and consumers. In
   recent years, however, the member concept is more in
   focus again.
  
-  More co-operative organizations have started to push
   for export and for production in other countries.
   Often such activities have been given a profit-oriented 
   aim, and are organized as stock companies. On the other 
   hand, the more international collaborative forms of 
   economic activity seem to have lagged behind, even 
   if such tendencies can now be seen within the 
   European Common Market.
  
- Visionary aspects of co-operative development have
   been tuned down as have activities for ideological
   education, consciousness-raising and research.
   Co-operative organizations have chosen to become
   silent institutions within the societies in which
   they operate.
  
2.3.1.  weneral impressions
-------------------------------------  
The general impression is one of a move away from
co-operative organizations as people's movements towards
co-operative organizations as companies and enterprises,
although still mostly owned by smaller or larger groups
of people and still with more or less democretic
management. Taken by themselves, the applied structures,
the 'inherited' structures of past decades, tend to make
the co-operative process of development more ready to
produce values other than the traditional ones. The
overall orientation is clear: co-operative organizations
are moving much closer to capital-associative systems and
a little closer to the general interest organizations
(the "Gemeinwirtschaft" well-known in Germany).
  
These tendencies are to be found in the established
consumer co-operative as well as in the agricultural
co-operative organizations. But the situation is still
different in basic aspects. In the agricultural
co-operatives the members are more dependent on their
co-operative societies for their living and they are thus
closer to their organizations. The agricultural
co-operatives have also often been entrusted by
governments to carry out farming, processing of food and
distribution in the most efficient way. As a consequence,
their operating conditions have been influenced by the
state. They have carried out their activities within a
more or less regulated part of the economy, which has
made it possible to use integrated planning methods to
quite an extent and to obtain dominant market positions. 
  
However, in many countries this state-regulated policy
seems to be changing as a consequence of the on-going
trends towards internationalization and towards increased
market orientation of economies and of economic policies.
Agricultural co-operatives have already experienced some
international competition, but such experiences will\
probably become even harder during the 90's,
necessitating the reorganization of structures.
  
  
2.3.2.  Overall tendencies
-----------------------------------  
It is, however, not only co-operative organizations which
have adapted to cope with the changing environment. In a
broader perspective, we can observe that other types of
association have demonstrated similar tendencies. Public
bodies are more oriented to the principles of capital
associations in many ways, this is a clear-cut
observation. But capital associations are also changing,
among other things they tend to move closer to
co-operative systems. Since the late 1980's discussions
about moral values have become usual among these
associations, and many of them are searching for some
kind of basic ethics as a supplement to their traditional
values. We have also seen that many of them have applied
various forms of member-oriented methods to align
themselves more closely with their customers, for
instance members' clubs. Furthermore, there are abundant
examples of various schemes for employee participation
and profit-sharing.
  
So, there is a general tendency for businesses -
especially the large enterprises - to move closer to each
other. The overall orientation, however, seems to be
towards the capital associative system. 
  
Sometimes I have met the attitude among co-operators and
outside observers, that co-operative.organizations should
be `different'. This is partly true. But to be different
can never be considered as an end in itself. 
If co-operative organizations manage to keep to their
values and principles they will become different in a
society dominated by capital associations. 
  
  
2.4.    Signs of co-operative revitalization
--------------------------------------------------------  
Toward the end of the 80(r)s and the beginning of the 90's
I have the general impression that such parts of the
world co-operative sector are starting to recover from
the shock of the radical changes to their environments.
New programmes of action are signs of this.
  
We cannot ignore the fact, however, that recent changes
have influenced our starting points for the future. Most
parts of the process of development (see the ingress)
have been influenced as will the final outcome of the
process for many years ahead. The most alarming
tendencies in the long-run are the weakening member
basis. This implies that co-operative organizations lose
one of their basic economic advantages: the comparatively
low `costs of transformation', to speak as an economist,
in communication with the members. Members need more
economic persuasion than before, becoming almost like
`normal' customers or clients. This weakens the power for
market penetration and consumer co-operative
organizations especially have started to change from
active and influential agents in the markets, as in the]
1950's, 1960's and early 1970's, to play a more `normal'
part in the market economy. It will take a long time to
`repair' these problems, if member confidence has
disappeared (see chapter IV). 
  
3. Co-operative contributions in developing countries
----------------------------------------------------------------------  
Co-operative activities have long been present in those
parts of the world which we call the developing
countries. Co-operation was found, and still is, a
natural part of the people's culture, a natural way of
working together in rural and village areas. Co-operation
also appeared during the colonial period, as models with
values and experiences taken from the Western European
countries. 
  
  
3.1.    Co-operation as a mobilizing power
--------------------------------------------------------  
One of the most exciting prospects for co-operative
development about 30-40 years ago was the fact that many
new states, particularly in Africa and Asia, chose
co-operative solutions as essential parts of their plans
for social and economic development. Co-operative
organizations from the colonial periods were supplemented
with, and partly replaced by new and more comprehensive
forms of co-operative activities, often within long-term
state support. The co-operative way was regarded as
highly relevant in its potential capacity to mobilize
people, to encourage participation and to tie in with the
traditional mutual self-help cultures. Co-operation was
in harmony with the values which G. Myrdal in his
well-known `Asian Drama' has expressed as the ideals of
modernity of the Third World. (Among others: Rationality,
Planned development, Increased productivity, Social and
economic equity, Democracy, "Grassroots" self-reliance).
People had great hopes for, and expectations of,
co-operative solutions: in many cases expressed in
comprehensive visions as, for instance, by the great
leaders J. Nehru in India and J. Neyerere in Tanzania.
The co-operative way was looked upon as a people(r)s
development power and as "a third way" between capitalism
and communist socialism. 
  
3.2.    Mixed experiences
----------------------------------  
Comprehensive critical examinations and debates
demonstrate that the experience to date is somewhat
mixed. In some parts the successes are evident, as for
individual co-operatives and co-operative projects in
most of the Third World countries. But at the same time
one cannot hide the fact that the experience has also
been characterized by disappointing progress,
particularly when compared with previous expectations.
  
("Even allowing for the fact that some portion of the
reality reflected by these official statistics is
inoperative or ineffective, one must remain
impressed that cooperative systems in the developing
world now represent a growing and diffuse network of
local organizations linked together by a common
commitment to collective action through
co-operatives. This widespread distribution of
co-operatives in developing countries suggests that
such organizations now represent a potential new
supplementary channel for food aid used (1) as a
resource for development and (2) es an in-place,
local institutional structure which can be utilized
as part of the apparatus for response to emergencies
and disasters. It would be fair to say that the
co-operative network in most developing countries is
matched today only by such structures as the schools
and churches."
  
- Jack Shaffer, COPAC 1988)
  
  
The explanations for this slow development have their
roots in the general situation of the national economies
of many Third World countries. The growth of these have,
as said, been relatively slow and the situation has even
become worse in absolute terms during the 80's. Most of
the countries of the Third World have also, especially
within the poorest parts, been plagued by frequent 
catastrophes, political conflicts and instabilities, and
by disease. The state is often weak (see G. Myrdal's
concept of "the soft state"), having little legitimacy in
the local community and a lack of power to carry out the
necessary infrastructural measures to, among other
things, establish the conditions for co-operative
development.
  
The problems, however, also seem to come from the
strategy used for co-operative development and above all
from political interference with the internal affairs of
the co-operatives. Governments, political parties and
ideologists have led people to have unrealistic
expectations of co-operatives. Long-term visions have
been confused with short-term realities: co-operatives
being expected not only to mobilize people but also to
penetrate and improve established institutions and power
structures (religious, political, social, etc.).
Furthermore, co-operatives were expected to be able to
solve the problems of the very poor.
  
It goes without saying that these are impossible
expectations of co-operative development, at least in the
short-term and at current operational levels. Visions and
ideas are important, but if these are too far from
reality, and if these are used for aims other than to
encourage co-operatives, they will become sources of
disappointment instead of inspiration. And so,
co-operatives will get an undeserved bad reputation as an
instrument of development. 
  
  
3.3.    The role of the government
---------------------------------------------  
Whilst expectations have been developed from the macro
perspectives, co-operative development frequently lacks
the basic preconditions for developing them.
  
Co-operatives have often been initiated from above, by
state bodies and local authorities. They also have been
given strong support from governments, financially and
technically. This was vital in the introductory stages,
particularly as the basic infra-structure was lacking.
The plan was that this support could be withdrawn once
the co-operatives were able to stand on their own feet
and began to realize their full potential.
  
  
  
("The original philosophy underlying the concept of
state-sponsored co-operatives, namely to allow
co-operators to learn by making their own mistakes,
was gradually abandoned and instead the policy *to
prevent is better than to cure* was applied,
covering co-operatives with a net of interventionist
owners of inspection, inquiries, approvals required
for almost every decision, secondment of staff and
direct interference with the day-to-day management,
administered by an ever increasing, costly but
largely inefficient development bureaucracy."
  
-H Munkner 1991, p. 2)
  
  
This transformation seems not to have occurred in many
cases. Instead, co-operatives have been fossilized as
instruments of the government, especially in countries
with planned economies.They are closely controlled by
state departments, authorities and registrars. The
necessary degree of autonomy has not been realized,
neither has the potential for economic efficiency, member
participation and people's involvement. With the warning
of J. Nehru one might say that the government in some
cases seems to have embraced the co-operatives to death.
These have lost their viability, stiffened into bureaucratic 
structures, applied bad management and got the 
reputation of being economically inefficient.
Co-operatives have become territories for political
careerists and personal privileges. And they are
perceived as part of the state.
  
  
3.4.    Step-by-step strategies 
---------------------------------------  
The need for co-operative approaches to development
issues has never been questioned. On the contrary, most
of those concerned - including critical researchers such
as Munkner - stress that co-operatives are good
instruments for development if they have the proper
preconditions and are subject only to realistic
expectations. Co-operative development needs a
revaluation of its strategies and models.
   
("In virtually all developing countries, the
relationship between co-operatives and governments
is of key importance for the success of the
co-operative movement. Not only support, but the
right kind of support is required. Increasingly,
co-operative and government leaders alike are
recognizing that previous forms of collaboration may
not have been the most appropriate iv the
independence and self-reliance of the co-operative
movement are to be fully respected.-- There is no
doubt that in Africa co-operatives have proved to be
vehicles for development. Faced with problems of
drought, co-operatives have established
infrastructures for crop purchasing and farm
requisite distribution. Members of credit unions
have been known to obtain loans with which to
replenish stocks looted in violent change of
regimes. To be more effective, co-operatives need to
develop strong structures at primary, secondary and
tertiary levels. Co-oteratives and governments will
have to go for collaboration rather than
confrontation, because both governments and
co-operatives realize that co-operatives will make
their greatest contribution to development only if
they are allowed to function as real co-ops."
  
-V. M. Lubasi, ICA Moshi, Development Forum 1991)
  
There is agreement on the need for government support in
the introductory stages of development, especially in
establishing a proper infrastructure and legitimacy for
the co-operative form. At the same time, there is a need
for a degree of autonomy, so that the co-operative
organization can gradually become self-reliant and
responsible in its activities. Then, the co-operative
might also be able to develop its potential to benefit
for the community at large. This is, and has to be, a
slow process of development. However, it will turn out to
be a viable process of development with good results for,
and influences on, the poorest parts of the population. 
  
Critical examination is progressing. Grand expectations
are made more realistic at the operational levels and the
process of development seems to have become  more
concentrated on concrete objectivus and values within a
"step-by-step" strategy. I have also understood that many
experiments are going on with alternative strategies,
built on the basis of participation and mutual self-help,
within which efficiency in meeting concrete member needs
and professional co-operative management have been given
high priorities. 
  
("In spite of the many difficulties still facing\
co-operatives in the developing countries, it is now
almost possible to speak of a breath of fresh air
that is invigorating the movement. The need for
structural change has clearly been recognized by the
major development agencies, not only the
co-operative development organizations which could
be expected to be better aware of the preconditions
for co-operative success. National movements are
responding enthusiastically to the opportunity to
develop national strategies and to participate in
national policy development. The ICA and its funding
partners have pledged their full support to these
efforts, and have created a number of structures to
promote such collaboration.....
  
Experiences around the world demonstrate an
undeniable link between democratic pluralism and
co-operative success. It may well be that
co-operatives in Africa will have to await
large-scale changes in their own countries before
they are in a position to benefit fully from the new
collaborative approaches which are characterizing
co-operative development in other parts of the
world."
  
-Bruce Thordarson 1991 (Plunkett Foundation Yearbook)
  
So, for instance, with the assistance of the ILO
co-operative department and various co-operative
consultant groups: also, of course, through the ICA and
its regional offices, which for some years have attended
conferences and seminars with the governments of Third
World countries in order to create a deeper understanding
of the conditions for co-operative development. The
outcome of these is encouraging. 
  
For the whole world co-operative movement this point of
departure for the future turns into a challenge of
solidarity with the co-operative future of the poor part
of the world. There is a need for continued direct
support in financial and technical terms as well as for
indirect support by promotion of trade. It can be
repeated again: these parts of the world offer the great
potential for future contributions through the
co-operative way. 
  
  
4. Co-operatives in planned economies
----------------------------------------------------  
At the time of writing (autumn 1991) it seems as though
the state-planned economies are becoming a smaller part
of the world economy. Transition to some kind of market
economy seems to be the future environment for
co-operative organizations in the former USSR and Eastern
and Central Europe. Other countries with state-planned
economies, among those some of the young states in
Africa, will probably embark upon a similar process, as
will the co-operatives within those countries. There are
evident signs of this already. 
  
As many have stressed, inside and outside the
co-operative organizations, such a transition must be a
long-term process. The transfer to a market economy
demands radical changes in economic thinking,
legislation, organization, education and training. There
is also a need for basic institutional changes, such as
people's habits and attitudes, and existing
infrastructures. To co-operative organizations this
certainly implies adaptations of their basic identity.
This project will take place over many generations.
  
4.1.    Rapid transformations
-------------------------------------- 
From what can be observed to date, however, it seems that
such transformation is forced upon the co-operative
organizations in too rapid a tempo. This is evident in
Poland and Hungary, above all in the old East Germany.
The co-operative organizations have experienced dramatic
conflicts between their traditional organizational
cultures and those of the market economy. The `clashes'
between systems discussed above are modest compared with
these. Suddenly, the co-operative organizations of the
former East Germany have been faced with views on
`productivity', `employment', `efficiency', `models of
distribution', etc, which are in sharp contrast with those
of the state planned economy. Consequently, this
situation has resulted in demands to close down shops and
factories, to dismiss employees and to replace the state
with new partners in production, wholesaling and
distribution. Such changes are radical and tough for the
co-operative organizations, as for the people who are
engaged in them as employees and members.
  
  
("The Hungarian co-operative movement looks back on
nearly one-and-a-half centuries of history, and has
rich traditions. However, it is frequently considered 
and judged on the basis of its bad experiences and 
practices during the recent period of our history. 
But today's co-operatives - and this is also said in 
our Constitution - are voluntary associations, 
supported by the state, which possess independence 
and have their own support organizations and the 
right to be represented. I personally know co-operatives
well - especially the agricultural ones - since I worked 
in this area for years as an agricultural engineer. I know 
perfectly well what was wrong with them, what we have 
to get rid of. At the same time, good traditions should be
maintained. ..The new law on co-operatives, which is
waiting for parliamentary approval, will not only
help to arrange relations in ownership but will
certainly contribute to the rebirth of co-operatives
based on real self-government. Having established
their legal framework, the co-operatives will be in
a position to prove their abilities and efficiency
in the different spheres of our economy, and in a
spirit of equality of opportunity."
  
-A. Goncz, President, International Co-operative Day '91)
  
Similar thorough-going adaptations have also occurred in
Poland, where the larger parts of the established
national co-operative organizations have been dissolved
and co-operative development has had to more or less
start from the beginning again. From these introductory
stages of transformation we can also observe that the old
collaborative relations between co-operative organizations, 
especially between those in Western and Eastern Europe, 
seem insufficient for this rapid process of change. One 
sign of this is the fact that co-operative organizations in 
Eastern Europe have found themselves compelled to 
collaborate with private capitalist associations in the 
West (in joint ownership, production, distribution and 
development). Of course, such tendencies are dangerous 
for the co-operative way. On the other hand: what are 
the alternatives?
  
  
4.2.    Some impressions and considerations
-----------------------------------------------------------  
I have decided, on good advice, not to discuss the
on-going process of transformation, necause the process
is so rapid that such discussions would quickly become
out of date. I also know that these issues will be dealt
with within the ICA. Nevertheless, as I am deeply
interested in what is happening in this part of the
world, I cannot avoid reflecting on what I have seen,
heard and read.
  
It is obvious in these first stages of the process of
transition that the swing of the pendulum has oscillated
strongly towards `privatization' and `market economy';
great expectations are attached to the benefits of such
changes. In this context it might be appropriate to warn
against overoptimism because to quite an extent the
co-operative organization has historically been the
`answer' to the bad effects of private enterprise and the
market economy. Co-operatives have emerged, and still
emerge, as organizations to protect farmers, consumers,
workers, savers, etc against the exploitation found in
such systems to achieve a fairer distribution of
benefits. The examples of this are many. 
  
  
I do think that our co-operative friends in the former
planned economies must keep this in mind when
privatization and market economy are the messages of the
day. Private capital associations are historically
well-acknowledged for their ability to mobilize
resources: capital, innovations and `know-how'. But they
are also well acknowledged for their exploitation of
resources for the benefit of the owners (often few) of
the enterprises. There is no reason to expect anything
else in this on-going transformation: why else would
private business wish to participate in it? So, there is
a crucial role for co-operative organizations to play in
such periods of transition. On the one hand they should
develop themselves as effective elternatives to the
market economy in increasing productivity, above all in
meeting people`s needs. On the other hand, they must
demonstrate their advantages when it comes to the
distribution of the benefits from such improved
productivity. As I see it, this is one of the greatest
challenges for the co-operative way for the time being.
  
In this context, my impression is that our discussions
are for the time being very much concentrated on the
supply side of the economy. They are about how to improve
the efficiency of agricultural co-operatives and producer
co-operatives. These are certainly important issues and
co-operative organizations have important contributions
to make in these aspects, especially in the  introductory
stages of the transition, when the need to improve
productivity is the main focus. But the consumer
perspective must not be forgotten. It would certainly be
a mistake to leave this to "the market" and to trust the
"market mechanisms". The markets are still very
imperfect; there is a need for many institutional changes
and supplements. As I have understood it there is, for
instance, an urgent need to improve the distribution
system from wholesalers to shops in order to match
production and consumption. There are serious 
bottlenecks in these areas.
  
To approach such pressing needs is the task of consumer
co-operatives, above all, nationally and regionally, mnd
for closer collaboration between them  and the producer
co-operatives. In experience, the benefits of improved
productivity all too often fail to reach consumers but
fill the pockets of various middlemen, especially as long
as the markets are far from the theoretical ideals (in
other words, for some decades). So, it is necessary to
improve distribution facilities in order to guarantee a
fairshare of the benefits to the majority of the
population. It would be an illusion to believe that the
market economy is able to guarantee this.
   
Finally, I do think that it is a mistake to mix the
concepts of privatisation and co-operation too much. The
co-operative way might be considered as private
enterprise in comparison with state-owned organizations,
but it can never be considered to be the same as the
private capital-associative way. The co-operative economy
has its special characteristics, which are different from
both the public economy and the private capitalist
economy. 
  
  
4.3.    A challenging melting pot
-------------------------------------------  
The on-going process of transformation is rapid and
impossible to forecast. It is nevertheless one of the
most crucial aspects of the world co-operative sector
today when we are considering contributions to future
values. There are many challenging prospects, especially
in demonstrating the co-operative way as an alternative
to both the public and the private capitalist economy.
For the time being, private enterprise seems to be eager
to invade the new market with investments. It is,
however, a crucial concern for the whole world
co-operative sector that committed co-operators of the
former USSR and Eastern and Central Europe should succeed
in their hard work of transforming the co-operative way
according to the new conditions. It should be a basic
priority in the global co-operative perspective to
support and assist in building up viable organizations
and in demonstrating the relevance of the co-operative
way in this part of the world, which has urgent needs of
Co-operation and long co-operative traditions. 
  
Since we have no experiences of this kind of
transformation it is also necessary to exchange knowledge
and to encourage research. This ought to be a task for
the ICA in the years to come. 
  
5. The situation before the 90s 
-----------------------------------------  
The process of development during the past 2-3 decades
has brought the co-operative organizations a mixture of
preconditions for the remainder of the 90s. There are
remains from the past, as well as heralds for the future.
There are good and bad experiences, successes and
failures. In this chapter I have focused on main
problematic tendencies in relation to what we have
usually considered as basic co-operative values.  Then, 
we have seen that many of the established co-operative 
organizations in European industrialized market 
economies have experienced problematic adaptations to 
unusually difficult and far-reaching changes in their 
environments. There has been nothing less than a clash
between basic aspects of the co-operative system and the
changes within its environment, which has necessitated a
pragmatic approach to basic aspects of the co-operative
way. 
  
Turning to the co-operative organizations of the
developing countries: experience, with some exceptions,
demonstrates a relatively slow development. The
problematic aspects are mostly connected to general
economic, social and political difficulties in the
overall development situation. There are also, however,
problematic aspects connected to co-operative practice.
This is especially true when it comes to issues of how to
achieve and maintain a proper degree of autonomy for the
co-operative way, and consequently to issues of how to
achieve the conditions to realize such values as member
participation, economic efficiency and human resource
mobilization. This makes the relations with governments
and state authorities crucial for the future.
  
Finally, co-operative organizations in planned economies
are faced with (as it seems for the time being) the
crucial task of more-or-less creating a new co-operative
identity. 
  
The experience of recent decades has also demonstrated
some critical aspects of co-operative development in
realizing such values:
  
1)  application for capital formation
  
2)  transformation to stock companies
  
3)  democratic management 
  
4)  approaches to the concept of efficiency
  
5)  proper relations with governments
  
6)  co-operative collaboration, especially internationally
  
7)  methods to encourage participation, involvement 
      and mobilization.
  
These are valid for all types of co-operative development, 
more or less. I will further examine most of these in 
chapters IV, V and VI, before drawing some conclusions.
  
6.  New co-operatives
-----------------------------  
Before finishing my examination of the problems
encountered in recent decades I will again strongly
emphasise that there are good and encouraging aspects as
well. But we are discussing the values and the principles
because of the problems, and that is why I have to focus
on them. 
  
Among the good developments of recent decades are the 
new lines of co-operative development, and it would be
misleading to omit these in a discussion of starting
points for the future. In the 70(r)s and the early 80's
these new co-operatives were looked upon as nothing more
than temporary expressions of the special problems of the
70's and of the ideological interest in alternative forms
of activities. Today we can state that these new
co-operatives were not temporary: they constitute a
growing trend. The statistical information is poor, since
most of the new co-operatives are outside the established
co-operative movement and are not members of the ICA.
From various sources, however, it is possible to get some
idea of their performance5: 
  
1)  These new co-operatives have emerged in most parts
     of the world: in highly industrialized countries, the 
     Third World, the former USSR and Eastern Europe.
     As far as can be seen, this is a growing development. 
  
2)  They have been established in many forms, often as
     quite informal pre-co-operative organizations of
     self-help character, and for many different kinds of
     needs. There are co-operatives to solve concrete and
     practical problems; these are common in Third World
     countries. There are co-operatives to create employment 
     or better working conditions, partly established in 
     collaboration with local authorities in, for instance, 
     Spain, Portugal, Italy and England.  There are various 
     forms of co-operative created by and for women, 
     young people, disabled people, etc. Co-operatives 
     have also been formed for special aims, for instance 
     to promote healthy food, products which do not use 
     non-renewable resources, organic cultivation, local 
     self-reliance, etc. Many forms of co-operative have 
     been established in new service areas, often by quite 
     highly-educated people such as architects, data technicians, 
     consultants, etc.  There are co-operatives to meet social 
     needs, for instance day care, care of the elderly, 
     preventative medical care, support for those dependent 
     on drugs and alcohol, etc, and there are cultural 
     co-operatives of various kinds, for instance film 
     producers, theatres, orchestras, etc.
  
3) As a contemporary and simultaneous phenomenon they
     can be said to constitute a co-operative movement,
     even if contact between them seems to be undeveloped
     and very informal: mostly networks of various kinds.
     The contacts with established co-operative organizations 
     seem to be few.
  
It is high time for the established co-operative
organizations to take this new trend of co-operative
development seriously. It is a sign of the fact that
co-operative ideas are living and that many people are
choosing these as guidelines to organize activities for
their common needs, as a reaction to the shortcomings of
the existing institutional structures of society or as a
conscious development of alternative forms of
organization. However, they can also be seen as a
criticism of the established co-operative organizations;
we cannot shut our eyes to that. Anyway, these new
co-operatives can be looked upon as pioneering
organizations similar to the early co-operatives of the
last century. 
  
("Les valeurs cooperatives sont ainsi o la fois les
conceptions generales, caracterisant pour les
cooperateurs ce qui est bien et juste dans l'ordre de
l`organization de la societe et de l'entreprise, et "tout
ce qui vaut la peine", qui les pousse o agir, qui
entraine et justifie leurs efforts, et do  decoulent les
regles generales de leur societe. Par rapport au systeme
capitalist, on peut proposer une premiere liste:
  
-  prominence de la personne humaine, et non priorite
    au profit
  
-  definite du travail, et non role dominant du capital
  
-  democratie, et non systeme monarchique ou
    technocratique
  
-  initiative et responsabilite, et non dependance et
    subordination
  
-  entraide et solidarite, et non individualisme ou
    egoisme
  
-  perennite de l`entreprise, et non droit absolu de
    propriete sur celle-ci."
  
-Y. Regis, president of ICA CICOPA 1990 (from 
preliminary paper)
  
  
To try to collaborate more closely is probably not wise.
Instead, it is important to try to establish a climate of
mutual understanding. For the older and established
co-operative organizations this means that it is
important to understand these new co-operatives in order
to at least give moral, ideological and infrastructural
support. Among other things, I do think that it is
necessary to use more flexible attitudes when it comes to
the question of the `true' co-operative form of activity.
Most of all, we should not turn our backs on them and
even work against them. The French concept of "Qconomie
sociale" constitutes an interesting approach to such
issues and might be used as a point of departure in
broader contexts. 
  
There are problems among these new co-operatives, I do
not want to romanticise them. But, among these new
co-operatives there are surely heralds for the future.
There is also something to learn from them for the older
co-operative organizations; because all co-operative
organizations which want to keep their character as
movements must allow young people the opportunity to
become pioneers. To some extent the new co-operatives are
expressions of this. 
  
  
Appendix A:
***********
  
Special recommendations
----------------------------------  
1) There is a need for some kind of body which could
     contribute to supporting the co-operative organizations 
     in developing countries in their relations with states. 
     Such work is an on-going task of the ICA Regional 
     Offices, but might be strengthened by a special ICM 
     body with participants from the developing countries 
     and the Regional Offices, which had a group (or network) 
     of experts, some of whom might be members of the 
     committee, at its disposal. The aim should be to follow 
     the issues of relations with states, to carry out special
     investigations on request and to collect and to evaluate 
     experiences.
  
2)  There is also an urgent need to collect and analyze data 
      about the on-going transformation process in 
      planned economies. This will go on many years ahead,
      and in more countries. The preconditions are different, 
      but there are also some similarities. Perhaps this might 
      be organized as a special programme, or as a special 
      "institute", estabablished by the ICA (and perhaps 
      some others).  The character of this body, whatever its 
      form,  should be research oriented. 
  
3)  There is a need to make a study of the various ways
      in which established co-operative organizations may
      be revitalized. To some extent, this is a task for
      co-operative research, but it is mainly a matter of
      identifying and testing new ideas. An exchange of
      experience is going on, of course; the need,
      however, is for an on-going, comprehensive view of
      the good examples. The ICA is the natural co-ordinator.
  
4)  Relations with new co-operatives need to be
      discussed in more detail. It is an on-going work of
     CICOPA and there is no need to make any other
      arrangement. The issues, however, ought to be
      presented as part of larger ICA contexts in order to
      give a basis for some overall policy recommendations.
  
5)  The lack of overall statistics is problematic and
     alarming, especially as regards basic economic data
     such as output (turnover), employment and capital
     even for the ICA members. This makes it difficult to
     compare development over a period of time or to
     compare different parts of the economy. I strongly
     recommend the ICA and its member organizations to
     improve their statistics, at least in such a way
     that it is possible to make some modest overall
     analysis of the development of the world
     co-operative sector.
   
Appendix B:  Some indicators of overall co-operative 
development
******************************************** 
As we have seen at the beginning of chapter I, the
overall co-operative development is one of expansion
(measured as number of members). Within this, there are
many changing trends during the last 3 - 4 decades and I
will briefly indicate these in this appendix, whilst
bearing in mind the shortcomings or the weaknesses of the
statistics. 
  
1. Geographical penetration
-------------------------------------  
European dominance remained until the beginning of the
1960's. Then, the geographical pattern started to change
and this has continued throughout the 1970's and the
1980's. More members of the ICA have come from other
continents, as new states are established and often use
the co-operative way as a part of their plans for
social/economic development.
  
This is evident from the statistics for Asia and the
expansion of credit co-operatives in this area. When we
also include the Chinese co-operative sector in the
statistics, mostly classified as multipurpose
co-operatives, this Asian dominance will become even more
accentuated than in the table below. The Chinese
co-operative organizations joined the ICA in the 1980's.
In order to get a comparative picture they are not
included. 
  
  
Table 3: Co-operatives and continents
          (% of ICA membership)
---------------------------------------------------  
Continents          1935       1960        1970      1986
---------------------------------------------------------------------  
Europe                    89           54            46          28
Asia                        10           32            36          56
Africa                       0             0              0.6         2
America                   1            13            17          12
Oceania                    0             0              0.5         0.5
  
(Source: Ahnlund 1990, ICA Statistics)
   
  
2. Types of Co-operative
-----------------------------------  
Traditionally, the general consumer co-operative has
dominated ICA membership; as recently as the 1930's
almost 85-90 % of the members belonged to these
co-operatives. Of course this reflects weaknesses in the
statistics, since many agricultural co-operatives were
outside the ICA, as were various kinds of industrial and
workers co-operatives. Anyway, the statistics indicate
the true situation of 50 - 60 years ago.
  
This pattern started to change in the 1950's. More
agricultural co-operative organizations joined the ICA
and were established in more countries. The consumer\
co-operatives became diversified, and housing and
insurance co-operatives started to gain ground. The
credit co-operatives began their expansion. These
tendencies became more clearly established as we moved
closer to the present time. Consumer co-operative
organizations now constitute a decreasing part (in
relative terms) of the world co-operative sector, while
credit co-operatives have become the largest part. 
  
Table 4: Types of co-operative (% of ICA membership)
Sector: Individual members  Societies
--------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Agricultural           10.4            33.9
Consumer              21.2             7.0
Credit unions         29.5           27.6
Fisheries                  0.5             2.4
Housing                  2.4            11.2
Industrial                 0.5              5.4
Insurance                 6.8              1.9
Multipurpose          23.2             7.9
Other                        5.6             3.3
  
(Source: Co-operative Credit Union, Directory 
and Reference, 1990 
  
I will not try to make any explanations, but I will 
again stress that this pattern is measured in terms 
of  membership. It would surely be different if we
characterized it in terms of economic figures. Then, 
we would see that the consumer co-operative 
organizations and agricultural co-operative 
organizations - even if  these are decreasing in terms 
of members - still account for the majority of the 
ICA membership and of the world co-operative sector. 
  
3. Co-operative development in various contexts
---------------------------------------------------------  
The pattern of the co-operative sector is of course
different in different parts of the world, depending on
their initial stages of development. Using the rough U.N.
classification (as in Ahlund, 1990) we can observe the
following.
  
-  Least developed countries. Few countries of this
   type have co-operative organizations which are
   members of the ICA. We must, therefore, be aware of
   the weakness of the statistics. The dominant types
   of co-operative are various types of primary
   agricultural co-operative and partly credit
   co-operatives connected to the former. There might
   be various types of pre-co-operative as well, and
   more or less informal work groups belonging to the
   old culture.
  
-  Developing countries. About 25% of the countries
   have co-operative organizations which belong to the
   ICA. The largest section seems to be the credit
   co-operatives, followed by agricultural
   co-operatives and, to an increasing extent, consumer
   co-operatives. There are also fishery co-operatives
   and workers` co-operatives, and to some extent also
   housing co-operatives. These countries also have
   various kinds of pre-co-operative.
  
-  Newly industrialized countries. Among those are the
   rapidly growing countries of South East Asia. ICA
   membership is quite high and co-operative
   organizations have been expanding since the 70's.
   Agricultural, credit, consumer and multipurpose
   co-operatives are the dominating types.
  
-  Industrialized countries with market economy. Most
   countries have co-operative organizations which
   belong to the ICA. Here, consumer co-operatives
   predominate, closely followed by agricultural and
   insurance co-operatives. Credit co-operatives and
   housing co-operatives are increasing, but still
   constitute relatively small parts of the total
   co-operative sector in those countries. There are
   also other types of co-operative; the co-operative
   pattern is more diversified.
  
-  Countries with planned economies. Changes are 
    rapid in most of these countries, and most of the
    co-operative organizations are members of the ICA.
    These countries have a long co-operative history
    with many kinds of co-operative. The dominant types
    of co-operative are consumer and agricultural
    co-operatives, but there are also workers', housing
    and credit co-operatives.
  
-  Highly industrialized countries. All these countries
   have co-operative organizations with membership of
   the ICA; these are the old basis of the ICA. In
   these countries general consumer co-operative
   organizations have been the dominant part, together
   with the agricultural co-operatives, but these have
   decreased in both relative and absolute size in
   terms of members. Today credit unions account for
   the largest part, especially through the rapid
   growth in the USA, Canada and France. Housing
   co-operatives have expanded, as have insurance
   co-operatives. Workers` co-operatives are not
   included in the ICA statistics, but other sources
   indicate that these are becoming more numerous.
  
4. A more diversified world co-operative sector
--------------------------------------------------------  
Again, I will emphasize the weaknesses of the statistics
and the fact that these are based on number of members.
They can only be used in an overall way as indicators.
The most obvious tendencies and trends indicate that:
  
-  Co-operative organizations have spread to more parts
   of the world. Most of this development has happened
   during the last 3 decades.
  
-  The largest part of the world co-operative sector
    (measured in terms of membership) is no longer in
    Europe.
  
-  The traditional types of the co-operative, the
    consumer and agricultural co-operative
    organizations, are not as dominant as before. More
    of the other types of co-operative have been
    established.
  
-  The credit co-operatives form the most rapidly
    growing type of co-operative of recent decades.
  
So, the world co-operative sector has become more
diversified, as has the membership of the ICA during
recent decades. Among other things, this makes the issue
of universality crucial when it comes to the values, and
especially to the Principles.
  
Notes
*****  
1) I have noticed that there are few overall empirical
    analyses of long-term development trends. In
    particular, there are few studies with a comparative
    approach. So, I have collected information from a
    variety of written and unwritten sources and used it
    to form some overall judgments together with my own
    experiences of the last 20 years, participation in
    seminars, conferences etc, from lectures and
    discussions, and from reading periodicals and
    yearbooks.
  
2) For consumer co-operatives, the main sources have
    been the large study by Brazda and Shediwy (1989), 
    a very fruitful contribution, and the analytical
    approach to these issues by Ilmonen (1986, among
    others). For agricultural co-operatives I have, to
    quite an extent, relied on articles in the Plunkett
    Foundation Year Books and on the various reports of
    the Nordic research programme about the future
    adaptation of Nordic agricultural co-operatives (see
    Bager, 1988 for a survey). I have also been able to
    follow these issues quite closely since the late
    60's in various ways, among others within the ICA
    Research Working Party.
  
3) I have mainly based this part of the chapter on
    various ICA documents, COPAC (1988), Plunkett
    Foundation Year Book 1991 (part III), Verhagen
    (1984) and the articles in Helund (1988). There are
    many reports and articles by researchers in this
    area: most of them heve the same type of (critical)
    conclusions. 
  
4) This part of the chapter is mainly based on
    unwritten material: discussions, seminars and
    conferences.
  
5) Mainly CICOPA (1988) for a survey.