Tag: cooperative movements

Cooperatives Roles in Local Economic Development (LED)


The concept of economic development originated in the early twentieth century when Western countries began to modernize and industrialize their economies. Since then, the evolution of the developmental concept has been influenced by the emergence of capitalism and demise of feudalism (Contreras, 1999). However, development as it is understood in the Social Sciences today emerged during the period of reconstruction initiated in the Unite State in 1949, when President Harry Truman declared, at his inaugural address, that economic development was a priority for the West (Truman Library, 2015). The developmental theories that emerged during the 1940s and 1950s, known as classical developmental theories, emphasize the central role that the state must play in major phases of economic development.  Nevertheless, a newer emerging contemporary developmental theory, known as local economic development, suggests the participation of indigenous populations during developmental planning.

A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) (2006) specifies the role of a local economic development strategy in bringing prosperity to a local civil society. The ILO report specifically notes how local economic development has become a significant deterrent to globalization challenges in many part of the world. Further, the ILO stipulates that cooperative movements have become the foundation for capital accumulation, socioeconomic development, and the democratization of political and social life in many parts of the world. History has recorded how cooperative movements became the source of mobilization for local economy activities in South Africa (Khumalo, 2014), in Nigeria (Mande, at al., 2014), and in the United States (Bartik, 2003). Some of the notable achievements of cooperatives in developing countries include enhancing the employability of more vulnerable parts of the population, establishing a balance between community-centered versus self-interest policies, and  improving community-business relations (Fulton & Keltinson, 1992). Indeed, the collective nature of cooperatives can be beneficial in the local economic development approach.





For Further readings in cooperatives and local economic development topic please refer to the following literature:

Bartik, T. J. (2003). “Local economic development policies”, Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 03-91. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Contreras, R. (1999). How the concept of development got started. Transnat’l L. & Contemp, 47.

Fulton, M. E., & Ketilson, L. H. (1992). The role of cooperatives in communities: examples from Saskatchewan. Journal of Agricultural Cooperation, 7, 15-42.

International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2006). A local economic development manual for China. Geneva: International Labor Organization.

Mande, S., & Lawal, K. A. (2014). Cooperative marketing societies and its challenges for sustainable economic development in Lagos, Nigeria. Journal of Research & Method in Education, 4(6), 24-31.

Truman Library. (2015, April). Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved from http://www.trumanlibrary.org/

Taking Cooperative Solutions to the Next Level




Cooperatives at the grassroots level have played a significant role in providing solutions to many of the social problems in society, from supplying the growing population of the world with foodstuffs to supporting local business in the competitive and globalized market. However, the crucial challenge that most cooperatives must face today is how to cooperate with each other to address the major common challenges related to sustainability and global competition. Therefore, the next revolutionary vision in the cooperative movement should bring cooperatives together at a global level to solve global challenges.  Cooperation among cooperatives is crucial to the continuity of the cooperative movement in the globalized era. Globalized consumers are pampered with more product and service choices from around the world. Hence, cooperatives can no longer expect members and communities to support them simply because they are a cooperative. Cooperatives can only survive if they can provide better quality products and services than their competitors.

Some discussion regarding cooperative solutions can be found in the following readings:


** Horohito Norhatan is a graduate student at the Center who is interested in cooperatives and is sharing with us a series of articles on his favorite research topic, cooperatives, Horohito received his M.L.S. in political leadership and public services from Fort Hays State University. His research focuses on cooperative movement, economic democracy, political economics, and development policy. In his graduate thesis, “Cooperative Impacts on Poverty Eradication in Indonesia,” he investigated the impact that Indonesian cooperative organizations had in reducing the poverty rate, generating community wealth, and increasing the regional gross domestic product. Under the guidance of Dr. Xabier Irujo, Horohito is conducting research related to Basque cooperative organizations and their impact on the development of the Basque economy.