_________________________________________________________ THIS TEXT HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT BY THE INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE _________________________________________________________ Abstracts : Workshop on Privatisation and Public Policy October 1997 Source : Abstracts presented to the ICA Committee on Research Annual Conference The Co-op Advantage in Civil Economy, Bertinoro, Italy, October 1997 CO-OPERATIVES, THE SOCIAL ECONOMY, AND THE LABOUR-MARKET IN SWEDEN. Dr Yohanan Stryjan, Sodertorns Hogskola, Sweden The traditional Swedish model, pursued by successive Swedish governments from the 30s onwards presupposed full employment, a virtually frictionless labour-market, and continuous industrial expansion. New jobs were to be created by the 'business community' (näringslivet), the state was to underwrite overheads, and individuals were expected to be mobile. The model did not legitimate the social economy's involvement in job-creation. Consequently, the sector's role in insertion /reintegration tasks, and in job-creation in general, was relatively limited and low-profile. Job-creating initiatives were initially confined to countryside and regional development, a field perceived as laying outside the scope of labour market policy. This situation is apparently changing at present. The increasing third-sector engagement in labour-market insertion and employment creation is, however, largely moulded by this historical background. The paper gives a general description of the Swedish situation, and sketches out some typical features. Most notably, Swedish voluntary organizations have traditionally focused their resourcefulness primarily on activating people, rather than employing them. As a logical extension of this attitude, the current expansion strategy of the sector sets premium on the proliferation of new, independent organizations, rather than on the expansion of existing ones, and promotes the creation of loosely knitted networks of neo-co-operative and community organizations. PRIVATIZATION OF SERVICES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST - WHAT CAN CO-OPERATIVES OFFER? Dr Gabriele Ullrich, International Labour Office In the context of rethinking the role of the state, restructuring, adjusting and cost containment of public budgets, the community at international, regional, national and local level looks for alternatives to finance and provide services in the public interest. This is often reviewed under the simplified and shortened heading privatization. Action to implement privatization is taken in industrialized and developing countries as well as in economies in transition. It refers to introducing private-type management in the provision and finance of services in the public interest, to contracting out of such services to the private (for-profit and not-for profit) sector, and to selling the facilities and licensing the provision of the services to the private sector. The services concerned vary in each country according to the cultural and traditional context, the political and economic orientation and other factors in the civil society. They may include utilities (e.g. Gas, electricity and water), infrastructure of communication (e.g. Postal and telecommunication, transport), community and social services (e.g. Education, care of children and elderly, leisure and sports), medical and health services. What can co-operatives offer to the community when services in the public interest are privatized? The organizational form of co-operatives gives them the possibility to mobilize finance in the community through joint efforts, spend the budget in a social and non-profit way, control and monitor the spending jointly and regularly, create responsibility and solidarity among the community which takes part in the enterprise. Where are the short comings of co-operatives to take over services in the public interest? If the provision and finance is organized by co-operatives of the consumers or clients, are they still accessible to everybody, who is in need of the services, or do the public authorities still have to supply services to those who are not members of the co-operative? If the services are accessible to everybody, do the co-operatives loose their specific characteristics? Co-operatives of the providers, possibly even of the employees of the former public provider, may also be an alternative for the provision of services in the public interest. What would be the implications here? Would the co-operative members find satisfactory working conditions and pay? Would the provision of the services be satisfactory? Who would monitor and control the delivery of the services? The paper will examine these and similar questions in order to come to some realistic conclusions what co-operatives may not be able to offer. GOVERNMENT RESTRUCTURING AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY - THE CO-OPERATIVE ALTERNATIVE. John Restakis, CCA Ontario, Canada Canada, like other western industrialized countries, is in the midst of a fundamental redefinition of the role of government, and of the nature and delivery of public services. This shift in the role and operation of government has deep implications for civil society, for the nature and relevance of public responses to social issues, for the nature and meaning of citizenship and governance, and for the role of co-operative models as a viable alternative to the privatization of public services. In January of 1996, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), in partnership with the Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), and the Conseil Canadien de la Co-operation (CCC), initiated a unique research and development project to explore and document the role of co-operatives in the delivery of public services both in Canada and abroad. The CAPS project (Co-operative Alternatives for Public Services), is now completing its first stage. This paper will present the primary findings of the first stage of this project, and will explore the significance of co-operative models for governments searching for alternative structures for the delivery of public services. It will also address the challenges that government restructuring poses to the co-operative sector, and the unique role co-operatives can play as agents of civil society. CO-OPERATIVES AND PRIVATISATION - STATE RAILWAY COMPANIES TURNED INTO INDUSTRIAL WORKING CO-OPERATIVES. Dr Carlos Alberto Farias, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Facultad de Derecho, Argentina World-wide employment problems are increasingly concerning all social sectors, particularly those governments which have had to rearrange socio-economic policies so as to find possible alternatives for workers to overcome the unfair situation they were going through.Co-perativism has always provided solutions so that a decent job does no only meet workers basic needs but also the possibility for them of developing fully as human beings. Argentina - member of the MERCOSUR along with Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay has introduced radical changes, earlier than the other countries, in its economic system achieving soon important modifications in its economic development. One of the main achievement was the reduction of the State sector and the privatisation of many State companies including Telephoning, Airlines, Petroleum producers and Transport and especially Argentine Railways. Thus, many State employees, aware of the fact they were going through a transformation process, decided to form two working co-operatives looking for and overcoming alternative that includes 300 State former workers These working co-operatives called "Taller Perez (Perez Workshop)" and Talleres Coche Rosario (Coach Rosario Workshops)" merged in 1966 becoming "Complejo Industrial Ferroviario Perez (Perez Railway Industrial Complex)" which faces a new philosophy fostering its activities development based on Total Quality principles, aiming at improving the quality of living and offering an efficient service according to the important role of this region.