Organizing people into mutual aid associations for economic purposes. The main types are agricultural, consumer, credit, housing, marketing, artisan, supply and multi-purpose. The organization will vary according to the goals of the cooperative but generally ownership is by members, and management is hired or appointed by owners, councils or congresses.
The cooperative form of economic enterprise gives much closer control of management to owners. It saves members money and in many forms makes otherwise unviable economic ventures viable. People of varying financial circumstances can invest as little or as much as they wish in a cooperative venture to their benefit and/or to the benefit of society. The profits are distributed relative to the investment. Investment may take a variety of forms - money, goods, reduced costs, decreased effort for the same or a greater level of profit. Through investments of the profits cooperatives can have a powerful effect on mainstream economic enterprises through actually achieving a share of the ownership of these and affecting their policy and direction. They may also increase their share of the marketplace by reducing competition among themselves.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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