Why Are We Here?
The concept of Cooperative:
Cooperatives exist around the world for making immediate and advantageous profits for people; profits that are made by optimized and true consumption of money and its fair distribution among members and people. So, we can say that a cooperative firm is in a bad situation, if some problems reduce optimal and rational utilization of capital and resources of members by members themselves. This causes a serious damage to cooperative values and people’s support of cooperatives, and distorts the role of cooperatives in economic development. In other words, cooperatives should pay special attention to the principles and philosophy of the concept of cooperative, and their economic service should be more desirable qualitatively and quantitatively, and they should have people support, in order to get people’s attention to cooperative economic.
Seven Principles of Cooperative
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary and free organizations, open to all people, and all are able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
3. Member's Economic Participation
Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
4. Independence and Autonomy
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative’s autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Social Interests
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.
Values of Cooperatives
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination. Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.