History and Theory of Cooperatives

INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CIVIL SOCIETY, Helmut Anheier, Stefan Toepler, eds., Springer, 2009

Posted: 26 Jan 2010  

Morris Altman

University of Newcastle

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Cooperatives have evolved significantly over the last 200 years and are of increasing importance to economies throughout the world. Yet, cooperatives are marginalised and treated as inefficient and ineffective organisational types. This paper discusses the significance of cooperatives over historical time and the extent to which they are both efficient and effective economically and socially. Alternative theory is used to provide insight into the cooperative advantage in different economic sectors, and shows that cooperative solutions can produce higher socioeconomic welfare levels to members whilst also overcoming significant market failures. Also, competitive market places and cooperatives are not incompatible as market forces cannot force non-cooperative solutions to socioeconomic problems. Cooperatives show that democratic governance within the firm can contribute significantly to socioeconomic well-being.

Keywords: Cooperatives, Inefficiency, Organisational types, History, Market failures, Welfare, Socioeconomics

JEL Classification: P13, J54

Suggested Citation

Altman, Morris, History and Theory of Cooperatives (2009). INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CIVIL SOCIETY, Helmut Anheier, Stefan Toepler, eds., Springer, 2009 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1542255

Morris Altman (Contact Author)

University of Newcastle ( email )

University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
872