Abstract and Keywords
The role of co-operatives as providers of goods and services, as in the industrial age, more recently became overshadowed by their potential as providers of social services. In the post-industrial or service society, co-operatives are found in a growing number of countries. Co-operative enterprises have a unique capacity to mobilize social capital and provide relational goods that neither public nor private for-profit providers demonstrate. This brings co-operative enterprises full-circle in terms of their historical political role as democratic pioneers, since they can now also contribute to reducing the growing democratic deficit. This chapter explores the political and social dimensions of co-operative enterprises that pursue multiple goals. It also introduces a dynamic model of co-operative development that can be fruitfully employed for analysing the social and political dilemmas faced by co-operative enterprises.
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