Co-operative society, its expansion and future possibilities in context of Bangladesh
Co-operative Society: A Co-operative society is essentially an association of persons who joined together in a voluntary basis for the further once of their common economic interests. Short Overview on Co-operative Society: The co-operative movement began in Europe in the 19th century, primarily in England and France, although The Shore Porters’ Society claims to be one of the world's first co-operatives, being established in Aberdeen in 1498. The industrial revolution and the increasing mechanization of the economy transformed society and threatened the livelihoods of many workers. The concurrent labor and social movements and the issues they attempted to address describe the climate at the time. The first co-operative may have been founded on March 14, 1761, in a barely-furnished cottage in Fenwick, East Ayrshire, when local weavers manhandled a sack of oatmeal into John Walker's whitewashed front room and began selling the contents at a discount, forming the Fenwick Weavers' Society. In the decades that followed, several co-operatives or co-operative societies formed including Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society, founded in 1812. The early attempts at forming co-operatives met with varying degrees of success, and it was not until 1844 when the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers established the 'Rochdale Principles' on which they ran their co-operative, that the basis for development and growth of the modern co-operative movement was established. Robert Owen (1771–1858) is considered the father of the co-operative movement. A Welshman who made his fortune in the cotton trade, Owen believed in putting his workers in a good environment with access to education for themselves and their children. These ideas were put into effect successfully in the cotton mills of New Lanark, Scotland. It was here that the first co-operative store was opened. Spurred on by the success of this, he had the idea of forming "villages of co-operation" where workers would drag themselves out of poverty by growing their own food, making their own clothes and ultimately becoming self-governing. He tried to form such communities in Orbiston in Scotland and in New Harmony, Indiana in the United States of America, but both communities failed. The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was a group of 28 weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, England, that was formed in 1844. As the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution was forcing more and more skilled workers into poverty, these tradesmen decided to band together to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. With lessons from prior failed attempts at co-operation in mind, they designed the now famous Rochdale Principles, and over a period of four months they struggled to pool together one pound sterling per person for a total of 28 pounds of capital. On December 21, 1844, they opened their store with a very meager selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. Within three months, they expanded their selection to include tea and tobacco, and they were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods. The Co-operative Group formed gradually over 140 years from the merger of many independent retail societies, and their wholesale societies and federations. In 1863, twenty years after the Rochdale Pioneers opened their co-operative, the North of England Co-operative Society was launched by 300 individual co-ops across Yorkshire and Lancashire. By 1872, it had become known as the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). Through the 20th century, smaller societies merged with CWS, such as the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (1973) and the South Suburban Co-operative Society (1984). By the 1990s, CWS's share of the market had declined considerably and many came to doubt the viability of co-operative model. CWS sold its factories to Andrew Regan in...
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