It aims to address the underlying issues, which have built-up over many years, that undermine the immense potential for consumer co-operation, in its many different forms, to improve the quality of the lives of the majority of people within Britain today.
Threats and opportunities
The recent debacle at the Co-operative Bank is merely a dramatic symptom of the general malaise which has overtaken British consumer co-operation in recent times.
The sickening series of revelations that hit the headlines in recent weeks could threaten the very future of the Co-operative Group and have serious implication for all forms of co-operatives.
However, the most significant threat to the future of British co-operation is likely to arise not from these events but from the way that those remaining in powerful positions react to what has happened.
History confirms that whenever ‘outsiders’ are called upon to recommend a solution to the problems of co-operatives they invariably advocate that co-ops should become more like conventional business and the curtailment of the powers of the members. Whereas, those that fully understand the way that truly successful co-operatives work know that the exact opposite is required.
It needs to be appreciated that elitism and cronyism within co-operatives and mutuals is usually followed by demutualisation.
The alternative is for those with the power to make the changes to respond by refocusing consumer co-operation upon their most fundamental function, which is to intervene within the marketplace in the best interests of their membership.
Only if this kind of pathway is chosen will it be possible to take advantage of the real opportunities that now exist for a substantial resurgence of consumer co-operation within Britain.
Formulating a rational response to the crisis
If we are to embark on the process of reform and renewal that is now required, then people throughout the British consumer co-operative movement need to:
- Understand what has gone wrong and why?
- What needs to be changed?
- What needs to be done to secure the leadership we now need?
- Get rid of the myths and misconceptions that hold us back
- Make sure that people properly understand the co-operative enterprise model
- Learn from our movement’s past and from the experiences other organizations
- Set out and implement a clear agenda for change
This website aims to address the above issues: http://www.co-oppundit.org/