New report: The Capital Conundrum for Co-operatives

25 Feb 2016

"The Capital Conundrum for Co-operatives", a new report released by the Alliance’s Blue Ribbon Commission explores ideas and options available to co-operatives that need suitable, long-term capital. The paper examines the relationship between co-operative capital and the Co-operative Principles and it delves deeply into the questions all co-operatives ask of themselves and their members when seeking and/or using capital for growth and expansion. It also sheds light on the challenges and opportunities arising from changing regulations.

Co-operatives face challenges in terms of access to capital; for example, the withdrawable nature of co-operative membership shares and the purported economic unattractiveness of co-operatives relative to other forms of enterprise.

The authors of the report identify three approaches, which require further debate and exchange. One option maintains that the Co-operative Principles provide the framework via which co-operatives ought to seek and engage with capital, even beyond member capital. Another suggests adapting tactically and pragmatically accepting the realities of a market-oriented framework while preserving the current Co-operative Principles. A third school of thought suggests co-operatives change the dominant market-oriented paradigm while also adapting or transforming the Co-operative Principles to reflect the changing context. 

 

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