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Cooperative movement. A solution that seems simple. My motivation. -It feels good to live in a community -Members of the community complete each other’s abilities -It gives me the pleasure of creating economic and social values

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Cooperative movement

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Cooperative movement

A solution that seems simple

My motivation

-It feels good to live in a community

-Members of the community complete each other’s abilities

-It gives me the pleasure of creating economic and social values

-It’s functioning is based upon principals that are worth living for: equality, community, solidarity, justice, independence, freedom

A foreign body?

A contested organizational form

In capitalist countries – too collective

In socialist countries or communities with similar principles – too individualist

in between capitalist entreprises and social organizations

present in the for-profit sector and in social economy, too

Looking for the „third way” „towards an ideal society

Capitalism -excessively focused on profit. What are the pros and cons? What is reality?

- instead of socialism unable to produce profit?(Széchenyi)


A force organizing society: self aid, self control, solidarity, independence

Solidarity in economy as well.

„Groups of people organize themselves and start cooperatives upon based upon their own investment to satisfy their needs. This is the best form of self aid.”

(John F. Kennedy)

The beginning

People have the right to participate in cooperatives and the state has to let them evolve spontaneously without trying to control them.

-after works of St Thomas Aquinas

Intervention or spontaneous development

Politics have already played withlegal frameworks and values of cooperatives in order to obtain social change

A cooperative

-has historical roots (experiences, people participating, economical results)

-implies some philosophical views, an attitude

-is based upon self-organization and self-improvement it has an influence on people’s intellect, will and behaviour

-resolves the conflict of property and work

The motivation

conscious reaction of people to an economical crisis in order to overcome it


the state reacts to the crisis helping the foundation of cooperatives

people create cooperatives to get financial support from the state => momentary safety

BUT real help is to enable people to organize themselves

Az állam reagál a krízisre, támogatja a szövetkezetek megalapítását

az emberek, /szervezeti háttérrel is/a támogatás elnyerése érdekében szövetkezeteket hoznak létre

Pillanatnyi jólét!

Lesz – e pillangóhatás?


A jó segítés a képessé tétel, nem a rendelkezési jog, a döntéshez való hozzáférés, az önsegítés gyöngítése,

Különösen nem a lekenyerezés..

What could the intention be behind the intervention of the state?

If the financial investment comes from the state and not the members?

If the state is a member of the cooperative (through local governments) (questions of property-dependence)?

If the favoritism of the state enters the game, who benefits who doesn't?

If the legal frameworks are modified in order to strengthen the position of circles who share interest with those in power?

If the legal frameworks are not stable enough?

Could a self-organizing, self-controlled cooperative movement grow in these conditions?

Avagy: Egy jobb világ létrejöttének segítése?

Principles: Congress of Manchester (1995)

7 fundamental principles

-Voluntary and open membership

-Democratic member control

-Member economic participation

-Autonomy and independence

-Education, training, and information

-Cooperation among cooperatives

-Concern for community

6 fundamental values

self aid


individual responsibility




The criterias of the functioning of cooperative loosen up

Principles that are essential to a cooperative

-Voluntary and open membership

-Democratic member control

„one member, one vote”

-Functioning based upon social and econimical activites at the same time

How cooperatives and capitalist enteprises influence each other in the global economy

-Controlled share of profit

- Methods of keeping consumers and extending their cirle

-Tools of keeping consumers engaged

-Developing emotional attachment



  • Concentration of financial ressources

  • Specialization

  • Quick decision making

  • Image development

  • Flexibility

In Hungary at the moment...

5300 cooperatives, 800.000 members

starting capital 230 billion HUF

profit 800 billion HUF

Social cooperatives in Hungary today

2011 259registeredcooperatives

2014 1934registeredcooperatives

Support of social cooperatives

OFA (2007) out of 49 supported cooperatives 7 functions in 2011

OFA (2008) out of 21 supported cooperatives (5 formerly supported) 7 functions in 2011

1 cooperative supported both years ceased functionning


EU support (TÁMOP) 141

(salaries, courses, investment 25 %, obligation of spending all incomes during the project period )

Changing of the legal framework

1992. (lands back to former owners)

2006. X. tv introduction of the notion of social cooperatives

2011. CVI. Tv. Public employment and cooperatives

2012. évi XXXVII. Tv. Registration fee cancelled for social cooperatives

2013. évi XLI. Tv. (membership of local governments)

2014. financial contribution (new Ptk)


Intervention of the state: using cooperatives for political purposes... OR/AND?

Would it be more fruitful to help cooperatives develop spontaneously (a slower process)?

What happens if laws (and political will) intervene to a tradition ?

Norms, values, principles?

Thank you for your attention!

Zsuzsa Mészáros

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