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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The birth of co-operatives in Europe in the middle of the nineteenth century shaped this form of enterprise by differentiating it from the established capitalist one, both in terms of internal organization and in terms of sectors of activity. This chapter highlights first the process of diffusion of co-operatives in the nineteenth century by grouping them into models—consumer, worker, financial, and rural co-operatives—that formed the pillars of the movement. The second part of the chapter is devoted to the novelties that emerged after World War II, especially social co-operatives and service co-operatives, giving a general account of developments of co-operation in Western Europe, North America, and Japan. A final glance of the new opportunities offered for co-operation through the Web is offered.

Keywords: financial co-operatives, social co-operatives, consumer co-operatives, rural co-operatives, diffusion of co-operatives, worker co-operatives

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