|Title||Co-operatives and Development: Towards a Social Movement Perspective|
|Year of Publication||1992|
‘Co-operation’ as it is intended by the philosophers and practitioners who promote it and by many of the active participants and sympathizers of the co-operative movement is a mirage and an indisputable ideal. It is also a permanent quest for a better world. En route, however, many obstacles are met. These are related to the external environment and the approach we take to achieve the ideal.
This paper is about the interaction between the ideal and the praxis of introducing and supporting co-operation in the developing countries. I tried mainly to show how the people in the Third World, on their own, are able to engage in co-operation when they find it fit. It is an observation which I made during my frequent contacts with co-operators in these countries. Again and again we see that co-operatives which are part of spontaneous social movements produce the most satisfaction to the people concerned. There is ample evidence that these co-operatives in the long run produce the best results. However, co-operation remains an uphill struggle, even when co-operatives are not part of an externally controlled poor-peoples support system, but linked to spontaneous collective action. I found during my experiences with Third World co-operative movements that many of the problems they face are related to the heritage they carry of years of external patronizing and government control and also to an underestimation of social-movement action.
In this paper, I therefore try to trace the background of this concept of external promotion, support, and control of the co-operative sector. I also try to show how co-operation is essentially a social movement phenomenon. In this, I do not see any difference between the conditions and experiences in the industrialized world and the so-called developing countries.