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A cooperative ("coop") or co-operative ("co-op") is an autonomous association of people who consumer cooperative) or by the people who work there (a worker cooperative) or by the people who live there (a housing cooperative), hybrids such as worker cooperatives that are also consumer cooperatives or credit unions, multi-stakeholder cooperatives such as those that bring together civil society and local actors to deliver community needs, and second and third tier cooperatives whose members are other cooperatives.
In short, a co-op is defined as "a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, operated by its members for their mutual benefit, typically organized by consumers or farmers." Co-operatives frequently have social goals which they aim to accomplish by investing a proportion of trading profits back into their communities. As an example of this, in 2013, retail co-operatives in the UK invested 6.9% of their pre-tax profits in the communities in which they trade as compared with 2.4% for other rival supermarkets.
The Raiffeisen Union. In the United States, the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) serves as the sector's oldest national membership association. It is dedicated to ensuring that cooperative businesses have the same opportunities as other businesses operating in the country and that consumers have access to cooperatives in the marketplace. A U.S. National Cooperative Bank was formed in the 1970s. By 2004, a new association focused on worker co-ops was founded, the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
In 2012 the turnover of the largest 300 co-operatives in the world reached $2.2 trillion – which, if they were a country, would make them the seventh largest.
- Origins 1
- Social economy 2
- Organizational and ideological roots 3
- Cooperatives as legal entities 4.1
- Identity 4.2
- Economic stability 5
Types of cooperative 6
- Non-monetary cooperative 6.1
- Retailers' cooperative 6.2
Worker cooperative 6.3
- Volunteer cooperative 6.3.1
- Social cooperative 6.4
- Consumers' cooperative 6.5
- Business and employment cooperative 6.6
- New generation cooperative 6.7
Types and number of cooperatives 7
- Housing cooperative 7.1
- Utility cooperative 7.2
- Agricultural cooperative 7.3
- Credit unions, cooperative banking and Co-operative insurance 7.4
Federal or secondary cooperatives 7.5
- Cooperative wholesale society 7.5.1
- Cooperative union 7.5.2
- Cooperative political movements 7.5.3
- Women in cooperatives 8
- Cooperatives in popular culture 9
- See also 10
- References 11
- Bibliography 12
- External links 13
Cooperation dates back as far as human beings have been organizing for mutual benefit. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other, only trading with the external communities. In alpine environments, trade could only be maintained in organized cooperatives to achieve a useful condition of artificial roads such as Viamala in 1472. Pre-industrial Europe is home to the first cooperatives from an industrial context.
In 1761, the Glasgow, Indiana and Hampshire, although ultimately unsuccessful. In 1828, William King set up a newspaper, The Cooperator, to promote Owen's thinking, having already set up a co-operative store in Brighton.,
The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, founded in 1844, is usually considered the first successful cooperative enterprise, used as a model for modern co-ops, following the 'Rochdale Principles'. A group of 28 weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, England set up the society to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. Within ten years there were over 1,000 cooperative societies in the United Kingdom.
Other events such as the founding of a
- Canadian Co-operative Association
- Social Marketplace for Cooperatives
- Co-operatives UK
- DEBUuT, Business Cooperative of the Brussels Region
- International Co-operative Alliance
- International Confederation of Popular Banks
- Venezuela's Cooperative Revolution from Dollars & Sense magazine
- The National Co-operative Archive – holds records relating to all aspects of the co-operative movement.
- The European Union Project "Credit Cooperatives – Russian Federation" official web site
- Twin Oaks Communities Conference Conference focused on education about Cooperative Living
- United Nations 2012 International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) official website
- Neoliberal Co-optation of Leading Co-op Organizations, and a Socialist Counter-Politics of Cooperation (February 2015), Carl Ratner, Monthly Review, Volume 66, Number 9
- Cooperatives On the Path to Socialism? (February 2015), Peter Marcuse, Monthly Review, Volume 66, Number 9
- Armitage, S. (1991) 'Consequences of Mutual Ownership for Building Societies', The Service Industries Journal, October, Vol.11(4): pp. 458–480 (p. 471).
- Birchall, Johnston. "The International Co-operative Movement", 1997
- Brazda, Johann and Schediwy, Robert (eds.) "Consumer Co-operatives in a Changing World"(ICA), 1989
- Cooperative League of America. Co-operation 1921-1947
- Cornforth, C. J. et al. Developing Successful Worker Co-ops, London: Sage Publications, 1988.
- Curl, John. "For All The People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America," PM Press, 2009
- Dana, Leo Paul 2010, "Nunavik, Arctic Quebec: Where Co-operatives Supplement Entrepreneurship," Global Business and Economics Review 12 (1/2), January 2010, pp. 42–71.
- Derr, Jascha. The cooperative movement of Brazil and South Africa, 2013
- Emerson, John. "Consider the Collective: More than business as usual" 2005. Article on graphic design and printing cooperatives.
- Gide, Charles. Consumers' Co-operative Societies, 1922
- Holyoake, George Jacob. The History of Co-operation, 1908
- Llewellyn, D. and Holmes, M. (1991) 'In Defence of Mutuality: A Redress to an Emerging Conventional Wisdom', Annals of Public and Co-operative Economics, Vol.62(3): pp. 319–354 (p. 327).
- Masulis, R. (1987) 'Changes in Ownership Structure: Conversions of Mutual Savings and Loans to Stock Charter', Journal of Financial economics, Vol.18: pp. 29–59 (p. 32).
- Paton, R. Reluctant Entrepreneurs, Open University Press, 1989.
- Rasmusen, E. (1988) 'Mutual banks and stock banks', Journal of Law and Economics, October, Vol.31: pp. 395–421 (p. 412).
- Ridley-Duff, Rory. , Vol. 5., Issue, 1Social Enterprise Journal in the Cooperative Social Enterprises: Company Rules, Access to Finance and Management Practice, 2009.
- Van Deusen, David. (2006) Co-ops: The Changing Face of Employment in the Green Mountains, Z Magazine.
- Vieta, Marco (ed.) , Vol. 4, Issue 1, 2010Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action"The New Cooperativism" in
- Warbasse, James Peter. Cooperative Peace, 1950
- Warbasse, James Peter. Problems Of Cooperation, 1941
- Whyte, W. F. and Whyte, K. K. Making Mondragon, New York: ILR Press/Itchaca, 1991.
- Zeuli, Kimebrly A. and Cropp, Robert. Cooperatives: Principles and practices in the 21st century, 2004
- Understanding Cooperatives, a curriculum on cooperative business for secondary school students.
- India: Re-inventing cooperatives by increasing youth involvement
- Statement on the Cooperative Identity. International Cooperative Alliance.
- Carrell, Severin. Strike Rochdale from the record books. The Co-op began in Scotland., The Guardian, 7 August 2007.
- "Dr. William King and the Co-operator, 1828-1830,T. W. MERCER,OL6459685M
- Marlow, Joyce, The Tolpuddle Martyrs, London :History Book Club, (1971) & Grafton Books, (1985) ISBN 0-586-03832-9
- , 15(2):382-392Corporate Governance: An International ReviewRidley-Duff, R. J. (2007) "Communitarian Perspectives on Social Enterprise", .
- Brown, J. (2006), "Designing Equity Finance for Social Enterprises", Social Enterprise Journal, 2(1): 73 81.
- Monzon, J. L. & Chaves, R. (2008) "The European Social Economy: Concept and Dimensions of the Third Sector", Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 79(3/4): 549-577.
- Gates, J. (1998) The Ownership Solution, London: Penguin.
- Rothschild, J., Allen-Whitt, J. (1986) The Cooperative Workplace, Cambridge University Press
- Weinbren, D. & James, B. (2005) "Getting a Grip: the Roles of Friendly Societies in Australia and Britain Reappraised", Labour History, Vol. 88.
- Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2008) "Social Enterprise as a Socially Rational Business", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 14(5): 291-312.
- Rothschild, J., Allen-Whitt, J. (1986) The cooperative workplace, Cambridge University Press, Chapter 1.
- Cliff, T., Cluckstein, D. (1988) The Labour Party: A Marxist History, London: Bookmarks.
- Co-operatives UK what is co-operative?
- Co-operative Development Services Ltd: "Co-operative definition in glossary"
- International Cooperative Alliance.Statement on the Cooperative Identity. Retrieved on: 2011-07-31.
- Andrew McLeod (December 2006). Types of Cooperatives. Northwest Cooperative Development Centre. Retrieved on: 2011-07-31.
- The UN's official website is found at http://social.un.org/coopsyear/ retrieved on 25 February 2012.
- Whitsett, Ross. Urban Mass: A Look at Co-op City. The Cooperator. December 2006.
- Cobia, David, editor, Cooperatives in Agriculture, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (1989), p. 50.
- J. Bishop (2012). Lessons from The Emotivate Project for Increasing Take-up of Big Society and Responsible Capitalism Initiatives. In: P.M. Pumilia-Gnarini, E, Favaron, E. Pacetti, J. Bishop, L, Guerra (Eds.) Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education Incorporating Advancements. IGI Global: Hershey, PA. Available online.
- Ian Clarke, (2000) "Retail power, competition and local consumer choice in the UK grocery sector", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34 Iss: 8, pp.975 - 1002
- Nippierd, A. (2002). "Gender issues in cooperatives." Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organization
- "Membership in Co-operative Businesses Reaches 1 Billion," WorldWatch Institute
- "Teach Your Children Well: Don't Play Monopoly", Truthout.org
- Artist cooperative
- Cooperative economics
- Co-operative living arrangements
- Common ownership
- Commune (intentional community)
- Cost the limit of price
- Danish cooperative movement
- Democratic socialism
- Employee-owned corporation
- Employee Share Ownership Plan
- FC Barcelona (the world's first cooperative-based football club)
- Friendly Society
- History of the cooperative movement
- Industrial and provident society
- List of Co-operative Federations
- List of cooperatives
- Microfinance / microcredit
- Mondragón Cooperative Corporation
- Mutual aid
- Mutual organization
- Mutual Ownership Defense Housing Division
- Mutualism (economic theory)
- Online media cooperative
- Participatory democracy
- Participatory economics
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Cooperatives and Social Development
- Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen
- Rochdale Principles
- Social economy
- Social enterprise
- Cooperative Stock Market
My So-Called Housing Cooperative is a web series focusing on the humorous side of living in a housing co-op.
Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives is a popular board game played around the world that challenges players to work together to start and run a cooperative and overcome major hurdles.
As of 2012, the number of memberships in cooperatives reached one billion, and so the organizational structure and movement has seeped into popular culture.
Cooperatives in popular culture
However, despite the supposed democratic structure of cooperatives and the values and benefits shared by members, due to gender norms on the traditional role of women, and other instilled cultural practices that sidestep attempted legal protections, women suffer a disproportionately low representation in cooperative membership around the world. Representation of women through active membership (showing up to meetings and voting), as well as in leadership and managerial positions is even lower.
Since cooperatives are based on values like self-help, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity, they can play a particularly strong role in empowering women, especially in developing countries. Cooperatives allow women who might have been isolated and working individually to band together and create economies of scale as well as increase their own bargaining power in the market. In statements in advance of International Women's Day in early 2013, President of the International Cooperative Alliance, Dame Pauline Green, said, "Cooperative businesses have done so much to help women onto the ladder of economic activity. With that comes community respect, political legitimacy and influence."
Women in cooperatives
The British cooperative movement formed the Cooperative Party in the early 20th century to represent members of consumers' cooperatives in Parliament, which was the first of its kind. The Cooperative Party now has a permanent electoral pact with the Labour Party meaning someone cannot be a member if they support a party other than Labour. An alternative grouping, the Conservative Co-operative Movement is open to people of all parties or none. Plaid Cymru also run a credit union that is constituted as a co-operative, called the 'Plaid Cymru Credit Union.' UK cooperatives retain a strong market share in food retail, insurance, banking, funeral services, and the travel industry in many parts of the country, although this is still significicantly lower than other business models.
In some countries with a strong cooperative sector, such as the UK, cooperatives may find it advantageous to form political groupings to represent their interests. The British Cooperative Party, the Canadian Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and United Farmers of Alberta are prime examples of such arrangements.
Cooperative political movements
A second common form of cooperative federation is a cooperative union, whose objective (according to Gide) is "to develop the spirit of solidarity among societies and... in a word, to exercise the functions of a government whose authority, it is needless to say, is purely moral." Co-operatives UK and the International Cooperative Alliance are examples of such arrangements.
Cooperative wholesale society
In some cases, cooperative societies find it advantageous to form cooperative federations in which all of the members are themselves cooperatives. Historically, these have predominantly come in the form of cooperative wholesale societies, and cooperative unions. Cooperative federations are a means through which cooperative societies can fulfill the sixth Rochdale Principle, cooperation among cooperatives, with the ICA noting that "Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures."
Federal or secondary cooperatives
The oldest cooperative banks in Europe, based on the ideas of Friedrich Raiffeisen, are joined together in the 'Urgenossen'.
Cooperative banking networks, which were nationalized in Eastern Europe, work now as real cooperative institutions. In Poland, the SKOK (Spółdzielcze Kasy Oszczędnościowo-Kredytowe) network has grown to serve over 1 million members via 13,000 branches, and is larger than the country’s largest conventional bank.
Credit unions originated in mid-19th century Germany through the efforts of pioneers Franz Herman Schulze'Delitzch and Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen. The concept of financial cooperatives crossed the Atlantic at the turn of the 20th century, when the caisse populaire movement was started by Alphonse Desjardins in Quebec, Canada. In 1900, from his home in Lévis, he opened North America's first credit union, marking the beginning of the Mouvement Desjardins. Eight years later, Desjardins provided guidance for the first credit union in the United States, where there are now about 7,950 active status federally insured credit unions, with almost 90 million members and more than $679 billion on deposit.
Credit unions, cooperative banking and Co-operative insurance
Agricultural marketing cooperatives provide the services involved in moving a product from the point of production to the point of consumption. Agricultural marketing includes a series of interconnected activities involving planning production, growing and harvesting, grading, packing, transport, storage, food processing, distribution and sale. Agricultural marketing cooperatives are often formed to promote specific commodities.
Agricultural supply cooperatives aggregate purchases, storage, and distribution of farm inputs for their members. By taking advantage of volume discounts and utilizing other economies of scale, supply cooperatives bring down members' costs. Supply cooperatives may provide seeds, fertilizers, chemicals, fuel, and farm machinery. Some supply cooperatives also operate machinery pools that provide mechanical field services (e.g., plowing, harvesting) to their members.
Agricultural cooperatives or farmers' cooperatives are cooperatives where farmers pool their resources for mutual economic benefit. Agricultural cooperatives are broadly divided into agricultural service cooperatives, which provide various services to their individual farming members, and agricultural production cooperatives, where production resources such as land or machinery are pooled and members farm jointly. Known examples of agricultural production cooperatives are Ocean Spray, collective farms in socialist states and the kibbutzim in Israel.
In Tanzania, it has been proven that the cooperative method is helpful in water distribution. When the people are involved with their own water, they care more because the quality of their work has a direct effect on the quality of their water.
In the case of electricity, cooperatives are generally either generation and transmission (G&T) co-ops that create and send power via the transmission grid or local distribution co-ops that gather electricity from a variety of sources and send it along to homes and businesses.
A utility cooperative is a type of consumers' cooperative that is tasked with the delivery of a public utility such as electricity, water or telecommunications services to its members. Profits are either reinvested into infrastructure or distributed to members in the form of "patronage" or "capital credits", which are essentially dividends paid on a member's investment into the cooperative. In the United States, many cooperatives were formed to provide rural electrical and telephone service as part of the New Deal. See Rural Utilities Service.
This collective effort was at the origin of many of Britain's mortgage which is released in stages as the building is completed.The term may also refer to worker cooperatives in the building trade.
Members of a building cooperative (in Britain known as a self-build housing cooperative) pool resources to build housing, normally using a high proportion of their own labor. When the building is finished, each member is the sole owner of a homestead, and the cooperative may be dissolved.
- In market-rate housing cooperatives, members may sell their shares in the cooperative whenever they like for whatever price the market will bear, much like any other residential property. Market-rate co-ops are very common in New York City.
- Limited equity housing cooperatives, which are often used by affordable housing developers, allow members to own some equity in their home, but limit the sale price of their membership share to that which they paid.
- Group equity or zero-equity housing cooperatives do not allow members to own equity in their residences and often have rental agreements well below market rates.
Housing cooperatives come in three basic equity structures
A housing cooperative is a legal mechanism for ownership of housing where residents either own shares (share capital co-op) reflecting their equity in the cooperative's real estate, or have membership and occupancy rights in a not-for-profit cooperative (non-share capital co-op), and they underwrite their housing through paying subscriptions or rent.
The top 300 largest cooperatives were listed in 2007 by the International Co-operative Alliance. 80% were involved in either agriculture, finance, or retail and more than half were in the United States, Italy, or France. In the United States, cooperatives, particularly those in the Midwest, are analyzed at the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives.
Types and number of cooperatives
New generation cooperatives (NGCs) are an adaptation of traditional cooperative structures to modern, capital intensive industries. They are sometimes described as a hybrid between traditional co-ops and limited liability companies. They were first developed in California and spread and flourished in the US Mid-West in the 1990s. They are now common in Canada where they operate primarily in agriculture and food services, where their primary purpose is to add value to primary products. For example, producing ethanol from corn, pasta from durum wheat, or gourmet cheese from goat’s milk.
New generation cooperative
BECs thus provide budding business people with an easy transition from inactivity to self-employment, but in a collective framework. They open up new horizons for people who have ambition but who lack the skills or confidence needed to set off entirely on their own – or who simply want to carry on an independent economic activity but within a supportive group context.
Like other business creation support schemes, BEC's enable budding entrepreneurs to experiment with their business idea while benefiting from a secure income. The innovation BECs introduce is that once the business is established the entrepreneur is not forced to leave and set up independently, but can stay and become a full member of the cooperative. The micro-enterprises then combine to form one multi-activity enterprise whose members provide a mutually supportive environment for each other.
Business and employment cooperatives (BECs) are a subset of worker cooperatives that represent a new approach to providing support to the creation of new businesses.
Business and employment cooperative
The world's largest consumers' cooperative is the Co-operative Group in the United Kingdom, which offers a variety of retail and financial services. The UK also has a number of autonomous consumers' cooperative societies, such as the East of England Co-operative Society and Midcounties Co-operative. In fact, the Co-operative Group is something of a hybrid, having both corporate members (mostly other consumers' cooperatives, as a result of its origins as a wholesale society), and individual retail consumer members.
A consumers' cooperative is a business owned by its customers. Employees can also generally become members. Members vote on major decisions and elect the board of directors from among their own number. The first of these was set up in 1844 in the North-West of England by 28 weavers who wanted to sell food at a lower price than the local shops.
- no more than 80% of profits may be distributed, interest is limited to the bond rate and dissolution is altruistic (assets may not be distributed)
- the cooperative has legal personality and limited liability
- the objective is the general benefit of the community and the social integration of citizens
- those of type B integrate disadvantaged people into the labour market. The categories of disadvantage they target may include physical and mental disability, drug and alcohol addiction, developmental disorders and problems with the law. They do not include other factors of disadvantage such as unemployment, race, sexual orientation or abuse.
- type A cooperatives provide health, social or educational services
- various categories of stakeholder may become members, including paid employees, beneficiaries, volunteers (up to 50% of members), financial investors and public institutions. In type B cooperatives at least 30% of the members must be from the disadvantaged target groups1
- voting is one person one vote
A particularly successful form of multi-stakeholder cooperative is the Italian "social cooperative", of which some 7,000 exist. "Type A" social cooperatives bring together providers and beneficiaries of a social service as members. "Type B" social cooperatives bring together permanent workers and previously unemployed people who wish to integrate into the labor market. They are legally defined as follows:
A volunteer cooperative is a cooperative that is run by and for a network of volunteers, for the benefit of a defined membership or the general public, to achieve some goal. Depending on the structure, it may be a sweat equity.
The impact of political ideology on practice constrains the development of cooperatives in different countries. In India, there is a form of workers' cooperative which insists on compulsory membership for all employees and compulsory employment for all members. That is the form of the Indian Coffee Houses. This system was advocated by the Indian communist leader A. K. Gopalan. In places like the UK, common ownership (indivisible collective ownership) was popular in the 1970s. Cooperative Societies only became legal in Britain after the passing of Slaney's Act in 1852. In 1865 there were 651 registered societies with a total membership of well over 200,000. There are now more than 400 worker cooperatives in the UK, Suma Wholefoods being the largest example with a turnover of £24 million.
A worker cooperative or producer cooperative is a cooperative, that is owned and democratically controlled by its "worker-owners". There are no outside owners in a "pure" workers' cooperative, only the workers own shares of the business, though hybrid forms exist in which consumers, community members or capitalist investors also own some shares. In practice, control by worker-owners may be exercised through individual, collective or majority ownership by the workforce, or the retention of individual, collective or majority voting rights (exercised on a one-member one-vote basis). A worker cooperative, therefore, has the characteristic that the majority of its workforce owns shares, and the majority of shares are owned by the workforce. Membership is not always compulsory for employees, but generally only employees can become members either directly (as shareholders) or indirectly through membership of a trust that owns the company.
The Best Western international hotel chain is actually a retailers' cooperative, whose members are hotel operators, although it refers to itself as a "nonprofit membership association." It gave up on the "cooperative" label after some courts insisted on enforcing regulatory requirements for franchisors despite its member-controlled status.
A economies of scale on behalf of its members to receive discounts from manufacturers and to pool marketing. It is common for locally owned grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies. In this case the members of the cooperative are businesses rather than individuals.
A non-monetary cooperative provides a service based on entirely voluntary labour in the maintenance and provision of a particular service or good, working in the identical manner of a library. These co-ops are locally owned and operated and provides the free rental of equipments of all kinds (bicycles, sports, gear). This idea has been said to reduce general human consumption of goods, a key subject in sustainable development.
Types of cooperative
Capital and the Debt Trap reports that "[C]ooperatives tend to have a longer life than other types of enterprise, and thus a higher level of entrepreneurial sustainability. In [one study], the rate of survival of cooperatives after three years was 75 percent, whereas it was only 48 percent for all enterprises ... [and] after ten years, 44 percent of cooperatives were still in operation, whereas the ratio was only 20 percent for all enterprises" (p. 109). "Cooperative banks build up counter-cyclical buffers that function well in case of a crisis," and are less likely to lead members and clients towards a debt trap (p. 216). This is explained by their more democratic governance that reduces perverse incentives and subsequent contributions to economic bubbles.
The United Nations has declared 2012 to be the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) 
Cooperatives are dedicated to the values of openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Such legal entities have a range of social characteristics. Membership is open, meaning that anyone who satisfies certain non-discriminatory conditions may join. Economic benefits are distributed proportionally to each member's level of participation in the cooperative, for instance, by a dividend on sales or purchases, rather than according to capital invested. Cooperatives may be classified as either worker, consumer, producer, purchasing or housing cooperatives. They are distinguished from other forms of incorporation in that profit-making or economic stability are balanced by the interests of the community. Co-ops can sometimes be identified on the Internet through the use of the .coop suffix of internet addresses. Organizations using .coop domain names must adhere to the basic co-op values.
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Economic participation by members
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
Cooperatives are typically based on the cooperative values of "self-help, self-responsibility, democracy and equality, equity and solidarity" and the seven cooperative principles:
neither of which may be allowed under local laws for cooperatives. Cooperatives often share their earnings with the membership as dividends, which are divided among the members according to their participation in the enterprise, such as patronage, instead of according to the value of their capital shareholdings (as is done by a joint stock company).
- some members to have a greater share of the control, or
- some investors to have a return on their capital that exceeds fixed interest,
There are specific forms of incorporation for cooperatives in some countries, e.g. corporations such as limited liability companies or partnerships; such forms are useful when the members want to allow:
A cooperative is a legal entity owned and democratically controlled by its members. Members often have a close association with the enterprise as producers or consumers of its products or services, or as its employees.
Cooperatives as legal entities
The cooperative movement has been fueled globally by ideas of working class, they fought in the early 20th century to appropriate from the capitalist class the society's collective political capacity in the form of the state, either through democratic socialism, or through what came to be known as Leninism. Though they regard the state as an unnecessarily oppressive institution, Marxists considered appropriating national and international-scale capitalist institutions and resources (such as the state) to be an important first pillar in creating conditions favorable to solidaristic economies. With the declining influence of the USSR after the 1960s, socialist strategies pluralized, though economic democratizers have not as yet established a fundamental challenge to the hegemony of global neoliberal capitalism.
 From the mid-nineteenth century,
Friendly Societies established forums through which industrial societies prior to the rise of trade unions and industrial factories. Weinbren reports that by the end of the 19th century, over 80% of British working age men and 90% of Australian working age men were members of one or more Friendly Society.
The roots of the cooperative movement can be traced to multiple influences and extend worldwide. In the Anglosphere, post-feudal forms of cooperation between workers and owners that are expressed today as "profit-sharing" and "surplus sharing" arrangements, existed as far back as 1795. The key ideological influence on the Anglosphere branch of the cooperative movement, however, was a rejection of the charity principles that underpinned welfare reforms when the British government radically revised its Poor Laws in 1834. As both state and church institutions began to routinely distinguish between the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor, a movement of friendly societies grew throughout the British Empire based on the principle of mutuality, committed to self-help in the welfare of working people.
Organizational and ideological roots
 In the final year of the 20th century, cooperatives banded together to establish a number of