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I profoundly disagree with:

Each member has one and only one share capital which represents the member relative part in the ownership of the cooperative.

which, in my opinion and experience, leads directly to demutualization as members' interests, economic situation, & etc change over time.  Secondly, valuing capital, labor, investment (of one sort or another,) and other member/co-op interactions without regard to time means long time members have a vested interest in preventing new members from joining as these new members will receive the same claims on assets as theirs thus diluting their 'take.'  Third, a membership share in a co-op is a financial asset and by 'locking-in' the potential deployment of such by members is impossible, effectively.  

There are many ways of increasing the financial flexibility of members while maintaining the co-op ideal.  The best way I've discovered is allow the co-op first rights of purchase, other members second rights, then 'outsiders' as the last resort.  

From a Capital Management POV having the co-op purchase member shares allows the co-op to build cash reserves as dividends are paid.  I'm a big fan of having the co-op build as large a working fund as possible for a number of reasons which I can go into if anybody wants to go there.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 12:44:11 PM EST
I agree with everything you say, from painful experience of membership of a housing Cooperative.  

The approach I take is to create a production or revenue sharing "Capital Partnership" between the "Investor" Members or "Capital Providers" and the users of Investment, with any productive asset being held by a "Custodian".

ie a "Cooperative" of Investors in a revenue or production sharing partnership with a "Cooperative" of users of investment.

Or for the Marxists among us, Labour working with not for Capital.

Long time service and/or "savings" may allow the acquisition of any such "nth's" / Units or "Capital shares" (ie rights to revenues) but IMHO in order to be consistent with Cooperative principles, it would not matter how many Units you have, you only get one vote.

There are no "dividends" per se: the revenues simply "pass through" the LLP framework to the members, albeit members could agree that an amount would be held by a "custodian" by way of reserve.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 01:36:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Splitting "Capital Partnerships" (CP) and "Income Stream Investors" (ISI) is an extremely interesting idea for a co-op.  It very neatly divides those who are willing to put their bucks, pounds, and euros behind their beliefs - or mouths :-) - and are willing to take the long-term view or prefer capital accumulation from those who want, or need, a stream of payments or benefits from that capital.  The fights I've witnessed or observed have mostly been from those two camps which, in a sense, are antagonistic in the short term however much they unite in wishing to see the success of the co-op.    

IMHO in order to be consistent with Cooperative principles, it would not matter how many Units you have, you only get one vote.

I agree.  If a person wants to purchase more Units that's their relationship with the operational side of the co-op.  Management and Control issues should be decided by the members and workers - if the latter aren't also the former - based on the Industrial Democratic ideal.  Besides, those more financially invested GET a payback for their investment; asking for more is asking for double compensation, IMO.  

... there are no "dividends" per se ...

haven't been able to think of a better word.  I'd like to have something else to use -- got any lying around?  :-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 03:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an important point, and is relevant to much more than cooperatives.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Jul 13th, 2008 at 07:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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