Co-operatives in a Global Economy: The Challenges of Co-operation across Borders
In their efforts to internationalize in the emerging global economy, co-operatives not only face a variety of problems that are common to all firms, but encounter specific challenges due to their particular value commitments, forms of incorporation and organizational structures. These features of cooperatives are generally seen as a major source of competitive disadvantages and may cause significant trade-offs, forcing cooperatives to choose between living up to their principles of member ownership and control and remaining economically viable. Critics argue that such trade-offs signal the increasing irrelevance of cooperatives in a global economy. Advocates, however, counter that cooperatives may have unique competitive advantages which can be exploited in a global economy and that current trade-offs facing cooperatives can be overcome with the development of new international and transnational cooperative institutions and practices. Cooperatives, they claim, represent a much more sustainable and equitable form of production and may form the basis for viable, alternative approaches to development. This collection examines these debates about the roles of cooperatives in our increasingly global economy.