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International Year of Cooperatives
by Lacy Gray, click here for bio
Program: Food Forethought
Date: May 17, 12
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The United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, with the theme “Cooperative Enterprises Build A Better World”, conveying the idea that as member-owned, democratically controlled businesses, cooperatives exist to meet the common economic and social aspirations of their members. There are cooperatives all around us. In fact, it has been estimated that if the world’s cooperatives were a country, it would be the size of Spain, represent $1 trillion in revenues, and rank as the tenth largest Gross Domestic Product in the world. Impressive, but even more impressive is that all that economic activity is generated by people democratically working together to meet their own needs, while at the same time benefiting local economies and communities. No wonder the United Nations has acknowledged the importance and value of cooperatives. Agricultural cooperatives provide jobs in a lot of rural communities. It is estimated that nationally about 250 thousand jobs are directly in the employment of farmer owned cooperatives, and that there’s roughly $200 billion a year in net sales from farmer owned coops.
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