Co Operative Societies May

Co Operative Societies May

Co-operative Societies, may be producer or consumer co-operatives, voluntary or state-assisted. The essence of co-operative societies is that groups of consumers (or producers) control and share the profits of organizations that sell to (or buy from) them. The success of voluntary co-operatives depends primarily on theft relative efficiency. If the services they provide are more costly or of lower quality than those provided by competing enterprises, they rarely succeed unless fostered and protected by the state. The efficiency of voluntary co-operatives tends to vary between countries, regions and kinds. They tend to flourish wherever competition is sluggish or weak so that unorganized consumers or producers are exploited. They then stimulate competition.

Producer co-operatives are common in many countries, particularly in agricultural production and distribution; where they are voluntary their existence is economically justified, that is, it may be presumed that they are preferred to possible alternative arrangements. Many, however, are state supported or depend for success on the state suppression of competitors. In British agriculture voluntary producers' co-operatives have been less successful than in many countries mainly because they have been overshadowed by compulsory cooperatives in agricultural Marketing Boards created by Act of Parliament in milk, potatoes, eggs, hops and other products.

Consumer co-operation has been more successful in Great Britain. Organizations engaged in production and distribution are formed by groups of people in accordance with the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts. The members jointly own the capital of the societies and are in law the sole controllers. The size of individual shareholdings is limited. The trading surplus is normally distributed quarterly to members in proportion to their purchases, with the rate of dividend approved by a general meeting. In some cases there is only a nominal charge for membership. Policy is determined and staff appointed by an elected committee.

The retail societies are federated in the Co-operative Wholesale Society, which they in turn control by the election of directors and by quarterly general meetings. The C.W.S. is grouped with other co-operative organizations in the Co-operative Union, which holds the annual Co-operative Congress at which general policy decisions for the Co-operative movement as a whole are taken. The running of the Co-operative Union is in the hands of a Central Board and Central Executive. Co-operation has spread in this country from retailing to wholesaling, production, banking and insurance, but remains more prominent in retailing than in other activities.

Since the Second World War co-operative societies in the U.K. have accounted for about one-eighth of total retail sales and have had about ten million members. The failure to achieve much further growth in their share of the market has drawn attention to defects in organization. Some economists argue that the suspicion of highly paid executives, hostility to loss of sovereignty by small societies and a general reluctance to try new ideas in marketing may be traced to the 'uncommercial' philosophy of the movement and the absence of profit and loss incentives and disciplines. Others believe that these disadvantages may not be inherent in co-operation as such, and that its rapid growth and the more recent achievements of co-operative production in countries such as Sweden suggest that co-operative societies can be efficient and enterprising if they satisfy changing consumer demands.

In Denmark, India, Japan and other countries co-operation has been fostered by the state in agricultural capital and credit.

Co-ownership, worker participation in ownership as well as in control and profits of a business.

Co-partnership, generally, a system of production in which employees share under a formal agreement in the profits of the firm; in particular, where they do so as shareholders of the company. Co-partnership need not imply workers' control of management, though it may be associated with it. It is distinguished from consumers' co-operatives because it does not distribute profit to customers.

An early example of co-partnership in the U.K. was in the York-shire collieries. From 1865 to 1874 Henry Briggs, Son & Co. Ltd ran a scheme in which shareholders were recommended to share equally with the company's workers distributable profits above To per cent on capital. Later experiments went further in giving (or selling on favourable terms) shares to workers; this practice is now normally regarded as essential to co-partnership.

Co-partnership was often advocated as a way of increasing material incentives and cutting costs, and in its early history was fostered by employers as an alternative to unionism. The development of bonus and piece-rate payments, work study and trade unions has weakened these arguments for it. It is not common in British industry, but it exists in a number of firms, large and small, where it is thought to contribute to a sense of solidarity between management and workers.

Copyright, the exclusive right to reproduce an original literary, dramatic or musical work in a material form, perform it in public, publish, broadcast or cause it to be transmitted to subscribers of a diffusion service, and make an adaptation of it, or to authorize other persons to perform any of these acts. The author of a work is usually entitled to the ownership of the copyright, but it may belong to his employer, e.g. newspapers, Government departments, the person who has commissioned a particular work. Copyright lasts for the author's lifetime and for fifty years thereafter. It also applies in Sound recordings, cinematograph films and television and sound broadcasts. The terms of copyright are set by the Copyright Act, 2013.

The main economic interest in copyright lies in the monopoly power it confers which may prevent works becoming available in cheap reproductions. Copyright provides a means for authors to secure remuneration for their work and protection from competition. But as a means of paying authors it is haphazard because a writer of original ideas may find his work quickly superseded by s for which he has provided the groundwork. Some economists believe the period of copyright is longer than necessary to provide protection of the initial investment in a publication.

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