Abstracts: Workshop on Co-operative Image and Values (1997)



Abstracts : Workshop on Co-operative Image and Values

                    October 1997

Source : Abstracts presented to the ICA Committee on Research Annual
 Conference The Co-op Advantage in Civil Economy, Bertinoro, Italy, October 1997


J. Tom Webb, Director, Extension Department, St.F.X. University, Antigonish, 
Nova Scotia, Canada.

As the emerging global society erodes nation states and decision making based on one
person one vote, co-operatives and co-operation are challenged. The emerging power
structure in our world is based on one dollar one vote in a time of enormous
concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people.   Is it time for
co-operatives to become more like the multinationals and begin to convert to corporate
values and strategies?  Or are people hungering for an alternative?  Should co-operatives

This paper looks at market research relevant to co-operatives and co-operation. Do people
like or dislike co-operatives or are they neutral to them?   It examines how people see
co-operatives and co-operative values.

The paper explores the relationship between education and marketing in  co-operatives. 
Is marketing education?  Is education marketing?  We know what marketing is in a
corporation but what is it for a co-operative where the consumers own the business? Where
the farmers or workers own the business?  

The paper looks at several "hot" marketing concepts that have worked in North America for
corporations but which are really more in tune with co-operation.  It looks at the award
winning "Marketing Our Co-operative Advantage (MOCA)" program and uses case studies of
how some co-operatives have experimented with "MOCA".

The thesis and conclusion is that the time is ripe for co-operatives to be true to who
they are and proud of who they are.  Globalization is producing a growing need for
co-operation and structures that are democratic and responsive.  It is making it possible
for co-operatives to benefit from their co-operative nature.


Sidney Pobihushchy, Canada

The disparity between those who have and those who do not have access to life resources
is dramatically increasing.  The United Nations Development Program, Human Development
Report (1992) informs us that this gap has doubled since the 1950's.  Today the combined
income of the wealthiest 20% of the earth's population is some 60 times greater than that
of the poorest 20%.  These  statistics define a crisis of justice.

The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio presented the
world with a vast array of data, experience and knowledge on the state of the earth's
environment.  Modern industrial processes combined with an impoverished people's struggle
for food and shelter have been shown to have disastrous ecological effects.  This is the
crisis of nature.

Within the prevalent paradigm of the global market economy, attempts to resolve one
crisis exacerbate the other crisis.  Economic development to ameliorate poverty places
the natural environment into further jeopardy;  action necessary to respect nature often
mitigates the success of economic development.  The global  market economy presents us
with a dilemma from which there is no escape.

This paper argues for an alternative paradigm which will accommodate both justice and
nature.  The paradigm draws heavily on the International Co-operative Alliance's
Statement on the Co-operative Identity (1995), especially its emphasis on community and
sustainable development