Can we build Co-operative organizations for consumer community ?

The one big cause of constantly raising cost for the food, groceries and other goods is “Man in the Middle”.

In india, a farmer can not fix the rate for his product, where the oil companies fix their rates and change them frequently. The price for the agriculture products are fixed by the brokers and agents.

We, as consumers can not reach the farmers and buy the stuff from them. Bacause

  1. we can not buy in large scale
  2. we can not store food products in large scale
  3. we have to travel a lot to buy directly from farmers. We wont travel 20-100 km to buy 1kg of rice.

But, somehow, if we buy the goods from the farmers, we will get them for very low cost and farmers will get high income as there is no man in the middle.

How can we achieve this?

In my native, Kanchipuram, there are many silk manufacturer’s society, milk sellers society. Where the group of people join together, manufacture and sell something.

Like this, why cant we form a consumer’s society?

Imagine this. We all consume many things regularly. If we all form a society/organization by contributing a small amount of money as subscription fees, we can solve all the 3 issues mentioned above.

With the huge money,

  1. we can buy in large scale
  2. we can build storages
  3. we can create many local shops so that members can walk and buy stuff

The management of the organization should be transparent. All the decisions should be well acknowledged by the members.

This is how the open source community is building software. When we need something, we join together, discuss transparently, take decisions, roll out our sleeves, get hands dirty with keyboard, write code, fix issues and done.

Similarly, here is a social problem. We need to buy directly from farmers. How can we achieve this? Building consumer society, connecting with other consumer societies across the state/country will be a good solutions.

Imagine, today there is a consumer society is started. What should bethe guidelines for that? How much can we set the membership cost? It needs some initial money to set a shop, storage, salary for people, electricity bill etc. How can we pay for them until we get significant amount of members reached, so that it runs on its own self sufficient fund? What will be your doubts and fears on joining such society?

Share your thoughts.

Do you think, this is impossible?

It has been proved for 165 years in UK.  Quoting from the wikipedia page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Co-operative_Group

Read the full page to know more.

<quote>

The Co-operative Group, commonly known as the Co-op, is a British consumer co-operative with a diverse family of retail businesses including food retail; electrical retail; financial services; insurance services; legal services and funeralcare, with in excess of 4,500 locations. It is the largest consumer co-operative in the UK and owned by more than 4 million active members.[4] Membership is open to everyone aged 16 and over, provided they share the values and principles upon which the group was founded. Members are democratically involved in setting business strategy, decide how social goals are achieved, and share in its profits – in the last quarter of 2016 over £15m was returned to members and their chosen local community causes

The Co-operative Group has over 70,000 employees across the UK.

The Co-operative Group is unusual as a co-op because it is owned by millions of UK consumers and also a number of other UK co-operatives, making the business a hybrid of a primary consumers’ co-operative and a co-operative federation.

</quote>

File:The Co-operative, Balloon Street, Manchester.jpg

Image source – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Co-operative,_Balloon_Street,_Manchester.jpg

cooperative uk க்கான பட முடிவு

Image source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/12859033@N00/2151256125

 

I am wondering, how we missed the co-op culture from the UK, when we copied all the politics, law, culture from the british people.

Yes. The Consumer Co-op culture is all around the UK and it has making the country wealthier.

Why cant we create such nation-wide networked co-opeative organization in India? We can. Share your thoughts on this. Let us build a great consumer society. Let us buy directly from farmers and manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Can we build Co-operative organizations for consumer community ?

  1. Hi Shrinivasan,

    The concept of Co-ops is quite fascinating. We are actively exploring tech coops all over world, as well as learning the steps involved in initiating a co-op. Check out “Alternative Economic Models” (#coops:matrix.org) room in riot. We would benefit from your knowledge and experience.

  2. hi srini…
    we have been thinking about starting a coop, in the community for the past 1.5 years. Gaining initial momentum is bit of work. but it is worth it. அதுவும் நீங்க என்ன ஊக்குவிச்சதுக்கு மிக்க நன்றி. now i think a solid coop is in emergence.

    Yes.. coop in UK is stronger. I personally believe, that it is the next socio-political-economic evolution that communities, clubs has to evolve to adapt.

    I was thinking to call you, in order to discuss about this. but very coincidentally and fortunately you have written this article. Suriya from FSHM have organized a gitlab repo which i would like to share it here – which is kind of guide for learning about coop. stuff.
    https://gitlab.com/fshm/awesome-coop

    We are motivated towards workers coop, platform coop.

  3. i would like to add more one thing on food.. as i have so far analyzed the food distribution network. Not only coop. society will do the work.. but in addition to that… food production must be decentralized as much as possible. Urban and rural perpetual dependency should be leaned and meaned as much as possible. But yes… to start… worker/consumer coop, as in milk, silk, cotton, bank, agri produce market,,, has to be followed by farmers, and consumers alike, to eliminate the middle man. We collectively envision such a society.

    So far in our locality, coop. socieites are are not mostly worker owned. In practice it is investor owned. So, buying huge stock, building huge storage and dispersing stock through many stores will not serve in the long run. We shall discuss about this in the next meet…. 🙂

    I have planned to write a blog post deeply afaik, about coop. thanks for igniting and inspiring me…. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Co-operative business model – few thoughts -2 | Going GNU

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