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A New Look at Cooperatives and Their Role in Developing Countries

Edgar Parnell
Small Enterprise Development, Volume 13, No 1, March 1992

Cooperatives have been adopted in many situations: in communist countries, as a stepping stone to less centralised economies and in the USA as a counterbalance in the strongly capitalist market-based system. They have their convinced advocates as well as their detractors and there are plenty of examples of both successes and failures to support either camp.

This article suggests that cooperatives, as 'people-centred' enterprises, provide an alternative to businesses that have the prime objective of delivering returns based on capital ownership. It outlines what a cooperative is and what it is not, and points out some pitfalls that should be avoided if a cooperative is to stand a reasonable chance of success.

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