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Need To Make consumer Cooperatives Go global

The Following is the text of an entry I sent for an essay competition.
Read on.
Need To Make consumer Cooperatives Go global
As India ushers into a new era of Globalization and we are witnessing a very height growth of industries and foreign direct investments lets not forget the very crucial consumer cooperatives. In the Indian growth story they are not getting the place they deserve, and this is therefore for this purpose I feel that there is a dire need to take the consumer cooperatives in the global arena.
But first let’s understand what a consumer cooperative is.
A consumers' cooperative is a cooperative business owned by its customers for their mutual benefit. It is a form of free enterprise that is oriented toward service rather than pecuniary profit. The customers or consumers of the goods and/or services the business provides are often also the individuals who have provided the capital required to launch or purchase that enterprise.
There are many types of consumers' cooperative. There are health care, insurance, and housing cooperatives as well as credit unions, agricultural and utility cooperatives. The major difference between consumers' cooperatives and other forms of business is that the purpose of a consumers' cooperative association is to provide quality goods and services at the lowest cost to the consumer/owners rather than to sell goods and services at the highest price above cost that the consumer is willing to pay. In practice consumers' cooperatives price goods and services at competitive market rates. The difference is that where a for-profit enterprise will treat the difference between cost (including labor, etc.) and selling price as financial gain, the consumer owned enterprise returns this sum to the consumer/owner as an over-payment.
Large consumers' co-ops are run much like any other business and require workers, managers, clerks, products, and customers to keep the doors open and the business running
As in any form of business, problems are bound to occur. Consumers' cooperatives are run democratically they are subject to some of the same problems experienced by democratic government: the selection of incompetent or dishonest management, poor business planning, deficit spending, etc. Consumers may prefer to vote with their feet than to do detailed supervisory work of an organization they do not work for, for example at The Equitable Life Assurance Society in the UK. Problems such as these can generally be avoided by providing member/owners with educational materials that inform often and honestly as regard to business conditions. Also In some cooperatives there is too much interference by the government which is harmful in its own way. Also there is stiff competition from multinational firms who generally have more advantages regarding management, more market access, and deep pockets.
All these problems can be partly or fully solved by expanding the cooperative into a wider area, taking it every possible region feasible. With wide access of internet, and cheap telephony and transport, it should be easier to manage various offices spread widely across the globe. Also with large number of people immigrating to other lands
And even opting fir dual citizenship I feel that the cooperative can find like minded members in foreign shores too .Thus widening the membership base can be a good idea
And will aid in better management and also will take care of funds problems. Also this will help in establishing the brand of the cooperative by popularizing it amongst the masses.
There is huge amount of activity going on in the export sector .There is a huge potential as demand is high worldwide especially for Indian goods. Now since cooperatives can provide low cost products and services large amount of money can be generated to achieve the social goals pursued by the consumer cooperative. Since cooperatives often have good relations with the government, it can demand tax incentives,
Or other benefits thus further giving boost to their expansion plans. Also various cooperatives should collaborate and join hands with their foreign counterparts to take the multinational companies head on. This way they can exchange technology and information, easy and cheap raw material access or ease in knowing the market.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. And there lies a huge untapped potential for the consumer’s cooperatives. It’s high time these cooperatives shed their regional tag and come out as stronger, more powerful Indian cooperatives, with a large membership base and which can represent India in the world of cooperatives.
This will indeed need a revolution of sorts but then we have to be prepared to take on
Global competitors. And strengthen the brand India in the world.
Written by Tshhar Mangal
Jai Shri Ram !!!


Praveen said…
this is indeed a great idea and I've seen some small scale co-operatives like this working successfully in Kerala...for this, we need some dedicated people behind the scenes. else the usual problems are bound to arise..
still, this can be considered as a way forward in these economically troubled times
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