We are aware that we have different kinds of businesses today, but have you ever heard of cooperatives? Cooperatives have fundamental differences in contrast to typical corporations. For instance, cooperatives focus primarily towards providing goods and services which serve to benefit the consumers instead of making profit for outside investors, and are actively made and run by community members to meet a particular need. This International Day of Cooperatives, here are a few ways cooperatives can be beneficial to society today.
Cooperatives provide opportunities for community members’ active contribution. The organisational structure of a cooperative in contrast to other business models are vastly different. For instance, large businesses or multinationals will have owners or shareholders at the top, followed by persons who actually run the business, and then their consumers. In the case of small private businesses, the owners are the people who control the business, in turn providing goods and services to consumers. In the case of the cooperative, the same people are the ones who own, control, and use the business’ goods or services. So cooperatives are run by the cooperation and contribution of every member in any and all aspects, which provide equal opportunities for everyone’s participation.
Next, there is better control and accountability when it comes to cooperatives. When it comes to large-scale corporations, things like data, accounts, and funds may not be as transparent whether to shareholders who aren’t directly involved in the business, or public consumers. However, seeing as cooperatives are owned, run, and used by all in the community, these things are known to every member and each member gets to have a say in the decision making of how these are handled. Following a more democratic system, the cooperative has better control and accountability in order to meet the people’s needs and even minimises chances of exploitation.
Lastly, cooperatives benefit the socioeconomic development of communities. Profits that they get can be used to invest back into the community. For instance, providing for local activities, sports teams, and even community services. Profits also can be used to pay members dividends which help support their living. Aside from that, cooperatives also create and provide employment opportunities to community members, further enabling and empowering the community.
In summary, cooperatives are businesses which are owned, run, and used by community members. They exist so that members can have their needs met so they can live, grow, and thrive together harmoniously and successfully. They are important because it will ultimately lead to the socioeconomic growth of the country, but more than that, it teaches us the value of working together to live well.
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