Полтавський регіональний центр досліджень і сприяння розвитку кооперації

Poltava Regional Cooperatives-Research and Promotion Center

January 29, 2013

Spanish cooperatives boost employment during crisis

Cooperatives created 8,000 jobs during the first half of 2012 in Spain, according to the Spanish Ministry for Employment.

At a time when unemployment reached a new record in the country, with 5 million people without a job, co-operative enterprises have managed to not only maintain, but also increase the number of jobs by 7.2 percent in the third quarter of 2012.

According to Spanish Confederation of Workers Co-operatives (COCETA), the employment figures in worker co-operatives have doubled in the first half of 2012 based on the previous year — and now more than 250,000 people working in 17,000 co-operatives.

Juan Antonio Pedreno, President of COCETA, said: “This clearly shows that worker co-operatives are an important option when it comes to creating jobs that governments should value in order to help local economies.

“We continue to argue that this is always the case, but that during crisis co-operatives show that they are capable to create new jobs, whilst other enterprise models are destroying them; and this happens even though co-ops do not enjoy the same access to finance”.

Furthermore, COCETA also revealed that more than 80 per cent of those that form the co-operative have a permanent job, being members of that co-operative.

Co-ops are also doing well in terms of gender equality, with women representing almost 50 per cent of the employees, and 40 per cent are in a leadership position.

Mr Pedreno said that co-operatives are special not only because they maintain employment throughout crisis, but also because they enable social responsibility and solidarity.

December 24, 2012

Dear Colleagues!

Poltava Regional Research and Promotion Center for Cooperatives would like to congratulate you with an upcoming Christmas Holiday, and wish you and your Organizations prosperity and well-being in the New 2013!


Prof. Andrii Panteleimonenko,
Poltava Regional Cooperatives' Research and Promotion Center.

December 7, 2012

Blueprint for Co-operative Decade Inspires Action Beyond IYC

The International Year of Cooperatives may have just ended, but the Cooperative Decade (2011-2020) has only just begun. As Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance, observed during the Co-operatives United event in Manchester, UK in late October:

"This international year has seen the global cooperative movement come together in a way which was previously unimaginable. Now our challenge is to build on this hard work in a way which garners results. We now are in a position to cement our business model and markets worldwide."

Toward that a new "Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade" was unveiled, marking the beginning of a worldwide campaign to take the cooperative way of doing business to a new level.

The "2020 Challenge," which lies at the heart of the "Blueprint", calls for cooperatives in 10 years to become:

  • the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability;
  • the business model preferred by people;
  • the fastest-growing form of enterprise.
Specifically, the "Blueprint" aims to:
  1. Elevate participation within membership and governance to a new level.
  2. Position cooperatives as builders of sustainability.
  3. Build the cooperative message and secure the cooperative identity.
  4. Ensure supportive legal frameworks for cooperative growth.
  5. Secure reliable cooperative capital while guaranteeing member control.

December 6, 2012

Burlington Telecom into a co-op

A new proposal has emerged for the future of Burlington Telecom (Burlington, Vt., USA). A group of citizens want to turn the troubled utility into a cooperative.

The city-owned cable, internet and phone provider is mired in debt, owing $17 million to taxpayers and perhaps more than $30 million to its former leaseholder, CitiBank.

The city has been looking for private partners that would be willing to finance some of that debt and operate BT going forward.

But the group called "Keep Our Telecom Local" wants to preserve public ownership of the utility. The group hopes to drum up support for its co-op idea at a public meeting next week.

November 26, 2012

Economist and writer Jacques Attali is one of the great intellectuals of our times. Attali was advisor to French President Fran?ois Mitterand, and president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Today, he heads PlaNet Finance Group, a non-profit organization working to develop microfinance. Journalist Valerie Lesage from Les Affairesnewspaper met with Attali during his visit to Quebec City for the International Summit of Cooperatives in October 2012.

Cooperatives present themselves as economic and social models of virtue, capable of curing some of the ills of an economy dominated by the stock market. What do you think?

I think it's true if cooperatives are truly cooperative, that is when the members really participate in decision making. If cooperatives are just a pretext to create entities that follow market laws like everyone else, they won't change anything. But if there's a real democratic process, then cooperatives no longer make decisions based on financial interest, and so they can offset market ills. For example, if the U.S. market was run by real estate cooperatives and not by the financial mechanism of securitization that lead to subprime mortgages, we wouldn't be experiencing the current financial crisis.

Cooperatives tend to claim that their role in the economy is overlooked but that they have a great power to change society. Are they overestimating this power?

No, the facts are telling. One billion members. 100 million salaried workers. $1,600 billion in business volume. It's enormous. The problem is that many of these cooperatives are run just like any other business. It's when they are truly run as cooperative businesses with different values and different priorities that they can change the world. They can join forces with other players, proponents of the mutualist economy, for example, or NGOs who follow the same ideas, or even some commercial businesses that are beginning to take on long-term challenges. The key is that the organization must take into account something other than its own direct interests. Is the organization focussing on other things besides its own survival, its capital and its employees? Normally, a cooperative should be able to answer "yes" to these questions.

At a conference at the Summit in Quebec City, Madeleine Albright spoke of the need to enter into a new era of economic collaboration. Does globalization have to go hand in hand with cooperation?

The word cooperation is very important. In this era of new web technology, cooperation is the rule. What Wikipedia did, for example, is cooperation. And the cooperative world should have taken control of it. It's unusual that Facebook is not a cooperative, it has all the spirit of a cooperative, even if it started out as a commercial business. It is urgent for the cooperative movement to take leadership in its natural territory. Otherwise, we will see the market exploit the great ideas of the cooperative movement just to make money, and that's very dangerous for the cooperative movement. The great strength of capitalism is that it absorbs its adversaries. It swallows up everything to make products. It swallows solitude to sell it as distractions. It swallows risk to sell it as insurance. It swallows altruism to sell it as Internet products.

So, I believe the cooperative movement will be a key player if it can take on the challenge of giving a cooperative focus to the economy of the future. You seem very pessimistic about the economic future of the United States. Why?

The United States is a great power with extraordinary vitality, that may bounce back and find sources of vitality, particularly because it attracts all the talents and capital from people around the world who have no place else to go. Despite all this, when we look at statistics objectively, the United States are bankrupt. There is an extremely dangerous drain towards the future, based on a bet that the United States will find a new source of growth. It could be schists or a technical innovation; but without this source of growth, the United States will be in jeopardy.

How would that change the world?

The United States is not going to explode tomorrow morning. It is a major world power and will remain so, but the United States will decline in relative value, because other nations are rising. Even so, it's a bit like with the fall of the Roman Empire, when everyone became Roman. With the collapse of the American empire, the whole world will become westernized.

What do you see coming for Europe?

Europe is beginning to take form. One day, it will be similar to Canada, a fairly large federal group in which each nation can live differently, like Quebec, with its own identity, language, culture and politics. It takes a long while to bring this about, it's very hard to gather countries together that have histories spanning more than a thousand years. But if Europe doesn't succeed, war will begin again between European nations. I think we'll succeed in avoiding it. Currently, we're seeing tools like the Central Bank, new financial instruments being set up, a new European tax, the European Parliament being reinforced.

Do you see Greece leaving the Eurozone?

No, nobody sees Greece leaving the eurozone. It would be a disaster. Remember, Greece is a member of NATO, and if it left, it would be bad for everyone. Greece is near Turkey, near the Middle East, and, since no one wants to see that region destabilized, we'll do what we can to ensure Greece stays. Now that doesn't mean the Greeks, knowing this, can make no efforts to react to the problems they're facing. They have to put some effort in even though they know we'll help them.

Western countries are having to cope with a high debt level and aging populations. Will they be able to maintain their standard of living?

First of all, it's not aging, it's prolonging life. In France, the life expectancy is increasing by 3 months per year, which is enormous. We live longer, but we don't spend 30 years as bedridden elderly people. There are people in great shape at 70 or 80. That means we'll have to delay retirement. It's very positive, it creates opportunities for growth, new careers—in neuroscience, for example—to explain illnesses. It shifts business opportunities. Humanity cannot survive if its replacement rate is less than 2 children per woman. We need to balance this worldwide. France is doing well, the United States too. There will be immense population movements to draw people to places where they are needed, like Canada and Quebec.

November 21, 2012

"Co-operatives need to create networks with organisations around the world!" said co-op leaders at the IYC Closing Ceremony in New York.

Four leaders, including ICA President, Dame Pauline Green , Rabobank Executive Director, Vincent Lokin , Desjardins CEO, Monique Leroux , and Acting Director of FAO, Marcella Villarreal , discussed how to move forward at a press conference on 20 November.

“Unlike many other development programmes, these co-operative associations survive once development aid wanes. That’s a critical nature of the sustainability of our business model;” said Dame Pauline Green.

Vincent Lokin added: “We are just one organisation in a large world, there are many other organisations aiming for the same goals and we need to co-operate with them.”

Rabobank works with new co-ops in the developing world, Mr Lokin said: “Its quite important to not make them addicted to our help, so we try to push back and we hope we can teach them how to be independent.”

Governments also play a part, explained Dame Green : “In Rwanda, since the genocide, the Co-op Movement started at 0 percent and is now 8 percent of the country’s GDP and growing very fast. There’s a great sense of excitement around it.”

"It is the UN’s role to enable governments to become open and make the right decisions surrounding co-ops", said Marcella Villarreal. She added: “I think we were successful in advancing the agenda of co-ops throughout the year, but I think this is just the first step and I think the best is yet to come.”

Monique Leroux explained: “We need to continue to be agile in our own orgs, be innovative to better serve member needs, to work with more co-op partnerships and be very active in bringing education and support for young co-op leaders.”

November 19, 2012

At the United Nations' Closing Ceremony for the International Year of Co-operatives , youth is a key issue on the agenda in a world where young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and over 75 million youth worldwide.

The lack of opportunities for young people across the world has also led to an alienation among youths, with six million young people having given up looking for a job , according to the International Labour Organization.

The ILO expressed its belief that the co-operative enterprise model can help to overcome the current financial crisis and decrease youth unemployment across the world, contributing to social inclusion and poverty reduction.

Simel Esim , the Chief of the Co-operative Branch of the ILO spoke of the importance of getting youth into co-ops and communicating the co-op message beyond the International Year of Co-operatives. She is also participating in the Youth Forum at the Closing Ceremony of the UN's International Year of Co-operatives in New York. At this forum an International Cooperative Youth Statement will also be issued.

Getting the youth into co-ops

Ms Esim said it is essential to see how young people participate in co-ops and whether they are actually involved in the decision-making process.

She said: “Young women and men around the world want to be a part of an environmentally, socially and economically more responsible world order. The principles of independence, autonomy and democracy enshrined in co-operative enterprises can provide a good match for the aspirations of young people."

She said that at the same time, co-operatives can provide young women and men with the advantages of economies of scale, and the power of collective voice to overcome the challenges of unemployment and limitations to their participation in the public realm.

“The dynamism and innovation of young co-operators can in turn help the international co-operative movement become more energised. It is a win-win scenario really,” added Simel Esim.

April 27, 2012

According to the Agreement of Cooperation between the Co-operative Trade University of Moldova (Chisinau), and the Poltava University of Economics and Trade, a Director of Poltava Regional Cooperatives’ Research and Promotion Center, prof. A. O. Panteleimonenko represented the University at an International Scientific Conference “Cooperatives and Sustainable Development in Global Economy” on April 26th-27th 2012. At the beginning of the Conference he fulfilled an honorable mission, having read a Greeting Letter from the CIS Higher Educational Cooperative Institutions Rectors’ Council to the participants of a Conference.

During the plenary session, Andrii Oleksiyovych gave a presentation on “Controversy of the positive influence of demutualization on reforming the cooperative sector of economy”, which called out an unconcealed interest among the Conference participants.

Besides, Panteleimonenko A.O. had a meeting with the Rector of Co-operative Trade University of Moldova Shavga L.A. During the meeting an Agreement on Cooperation between PUET and CTUM has been prolonged.

February 17, 2012
During February 16-17th, 2012 at the Poltava University of Economics and Trade an International Scientific Conference “International Cooperative Movement: genesis and tendencies of modern development",

Issues within following areas were discussed at a Conference:
  • issues of cooperative theory and cooperative education;
  • Ukrainian Cooperative Movement during the Stolypin's Agrarian Reform (dedicated to 150th anniversary of the birth of P.A. Stolypin);
  • formation and modern development of consumer cooperation;
  • credit cooperation in Ukraine and in the world;
  • ukrainian and foreign experience of agricultural cooperation;
  • development of housing and other kinds of service cooperation.
  • cooperation and society's development.