Consumer co-operatives prove popular throughout history

The most popular types of co-operatives throughout history have been those set up by consumers, says a Professor of History from the University of Bologna.

The most popular types of co-operatives throughout history have been those set up by consumers, says a Professor of History from the University of Bologna.

At the Euricse academic conference last week in Venice, Prof. Vera Zamagni speaks about the success and problems of the co-operative model. In the video interview, she describes the problematic situation of worker co-operatives caused by the traditional organisation of the industrial system.

Prof. Zamagni describes the successful and various models of consumer co-operatives, founded by the users to self-manage their needs. The secret of success for small and medium enterprises, suggests Prof. Zamagni, is putting together to become competitive in a worldwide scale.

She also emphasised the importance of finding the right community for the development of a co-op. "The ideal location," she says, "is characterised by strong civil values and the love of democracy."

Prof. Zamagni also picks out the risk of demutualization in co-operatives, which lies with the managers of a co-operative. If the manager aims for profit in a co-operative, then the organisation runs the risk of being transformed into a shareholder company. Managers that work for co-operation need to be trained accordingly, according to the Professor. 

In this article


Join the Conversation