While limiting its scope to three countries, Italy, Spain and France, the research shows, for example, that:
- In Italy, these enterprises have displayed greater growth rates since the 1970s in terms of the number of jobs than the private sector as a whole.
- In Spain, they have established several large business groups with particularly safe jobs, one of them, Mondragon, being the country’s seventh largest.
- In France, over 700 businesses on the verge of closing down have been transformed into cooperatives between 1989 and 2010 (over 30 every year), thereby saving thousands of jobs.
Cooperatives have indeed been affected by the crisis, but they have generally sorted out its short-term effects more efficiently than most companies, and have better maintained their employment levels.
Even more importantly, the non-cyclical nature of the crisis has strengthened their characteristic long-term approach, an important pre-condition both to address changes and to anticipate them. Two important factors stand out to explain these achievements: the specific internal structure of these enterprises, and the systemic environment which they have built around themselves, especially in terms of financial instruments and inter-enterprise groupings.
Beyond the Crisis: Cooperatives, Work, Finance. Generating Wealth for the Long Term _ by Alberto Zevi, Antonio Zanotti, François Soulage and Adrian Zelaia _ ISBN: 978-2-9600861-8-8 - 194 pages _ CECOP Publications 2011 (available in English, French, Italian and Spanish) _ printed on 100% recycled paper
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