Co-Operation as a Remedy in Times of Crisis Agricultural Co-Operatives in the World Their Roles for Rural Development and Poverty Reduction

137 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2012

Date Written: September 1, 2012

Abstract

The author of this publication traces the origins of the relatively bad image which co-operative societies are having even today among most international and bi-lateral technical assistance and donor organisations.

From 1975, when the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) issued the verdict that co-operatives are unsuitable to serve as agents of change, because they are either small, inefficient and insignificant or – when economically successful – they are serving the better-off, reinforce existing social hierarchies and fail to reduce poverty.

The author tries to lift the ideological fog usually covering this topic by starting from clearly defined terms when analysing the roles, agricultural co-operatives can play, their potentials, limitations and preconditions to succeed in reducing poverty. It is shown by quoting directly from relevant documents of the United Nations, World Bank, FAO and ILO, how registered state-controlled pseudo-co-operatives depending on external support were erroneously taken to be co-operative societies and have tarnished the image of genuine co-operative self-help.

After defining what genuine co-operatives are, and the difference between co-operatives for the poor, of the poor and open to the poor, it is discussed how a re-orientation of development policy could improve the chances of genuine co-operatives to allow people with limited means to work themselves out of poverty by co-operating.

Keywords: Co-operatives, Agricultural co-operatives, Rural development, Genuine versus false or pseudo-co-operatives, ICA, FAO, ILO, World Bank, UNDP and co-operatives, Co-operative development policy

JEL Classification: Q13, P13

Suggested Citation

Münkner, Hans-Hermann, Co-Operation as a Remedy in Times of Crisis Agricultural Co-Operatives in the World Their Roles for Rural Development and Poverty Reduction (September 1, 2012). Euricse Working Paper No. 41 | 12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2145317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2145317

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