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There are seven principles, known as the Rochdale Principles, that guide all cooperatives in the spirit of the original cooperative movement dating back to 1844. They have been modified somewhat and there are several versions sometimes with six or seven principles, but they are all similar in spirit.

  1. Voluntary and open membership.
  2. Democratic control.
    • One member, one vote.
  3. Member economic participation
    • Also, "distribution of surplus in proportion to trade." Another principle sometimes seen is "limited return on equity," in other words, reserves should be used to improve service or infrastructure, not as investments per se. One of the original principles was cash trading--no extension of credit, but this principle has been largely relaxed.
  4. Autonomy and independence.
    • Originally phrased in terms of political and religious neutrality.
  5. Education, training, and information.
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives.
    • A relatively new principle added in 1966, intended to strengthen cooperatives in a corporation-dominated economy.
  7. Concern for community.

1. Further reading

SevenPrinciples (last edited 2008-07-07 04:28:02 by localhost)