World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

History of cooperatives in the United States

 

History of cooperatives in the United States

The history of cooperatives in the United States extends to pre-independence times.[1] With the exception of credit unions and mutual banking institutions, most cooperatives have held a comparatively light footprint on the economic history of the United States in comparison to the economies of Europe.

Contents

  • 18th century 1
    • Colonial era 1.1
  • 19th century 2
  • 20th century 3
    • Great Depression 3.1
  • 21st century 4
  • References 5

18th century

Colonial era

The earliest Philadelphia Contributionship mutual insurance company, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, is the oldest continuing mutual insurance company in the continental United States.

19th century

The Boston Mechanics' and Laborers' Mutual Benefit Association was founded in 1845 as a mutual organization styled after the British Rochdale Pioneers.[2]

20th century

By 1920, there were 2,600 consumer co-ops in the United States - all but 11 were general stores - and 80% were in towns with populations of less than 2,500. Combined sales volume for these stores was about $260 million USD.

Great Depression

Upton Sinclair's EPIC movement became one of the leading proponents for the establishment of self-help cooperatives in California during the Great Depression, as was Japanese pacifist Toyohiko Kagawa, who advocated for "brotherhood economics" as an alternative to communism and fascism on both sides of the Pacific. This advocacy for cooperatives, combined with then-president Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, culminated in the establishment of cooperatives in Berkeley, California, Palo Alto, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Hanover, New Hampshire, Hyde Park, Chicago, and Greenbelt, Maryland. While all these cooperatives lasted to at least their 50th anniversaries, the Consumers' Cooperative of Berkeley ultimately closed down, the Eau Claire and Palo Alto cooperatives scaled back their activities, and the Hanover, Hyde Park, and Greenbelt[3] cooperatives have survived to this day.

Credit unions, in particular, were established throughout the United States and have remained one of the most visible and productive legacies of the New Deal period.

21st century

In the healthcare reform debate, health insurance cooperatives were, at one point, proposed as an alternative to the public option, and indeed in some states were instituted as the ACA became law.

In 2009, the United Steelworkers signed an agreement with the Basque Country-based Mondragon Corporation in order to further the establishment and expansion of unionized worker cooperatives in North America.

The National Cooperative Business Association identifies over 29,000 cooperative businesses employing more than 2 million people and accounting for over $650 billion in annual revenue.[4]

References

  1. ^ The history of cooperatives...
  2. ^ Foner, Philip Sheldon (1947). History of the labor movement in the United States, Volume 1. International Publishers Co.  
  3. ^ "Greenbelt Consumer Co-Op: About Us". Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  4. ^ "Co-op Research / Economic Impact". National Cooperative Business Association. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.