Co Operation In A Capitlist Economy Essay

2181 words - 9 pages

Co-operation in a Capitalist Economy
This course has taken us through the history and development of the co-operative economic structure, looking in depth at the co-operative movements’ roots and the formation of its laws. Examples such as the Mondragón Corporation and the co-operative movement in Italy were provided, to allow for a better understanding of how this system has evolved and its existence in modern society today. As this semester comes to a close, I wanted to take a closer look at co-ops here in the United States that are undergoing the trials and tribulations that result from being a co-operative organization within a capitalist economy. To do so, I first began by researching ...view middle of the document...

This development significantly improved farmers’ earning and created hundreds of local jobs. The results were impressive, at the time it was recorded that: “the co-ops have generated about $2 billion in new rural investments, created 5,000 direct jobs and many times more indirect jobs, and have had a strong impact on local communities” (Birchall 202).
An agriculture and farmer co-operative initially founded in 1929, CHS Inc. began with a mission of working to aid the success of farmers across America. The organization currently strives to be a “globally integrated energy, grains and foods system innovatively linking producers with consumers” (CHS Inc.). CHS Inc. has grown to become a Fortune 100 company that has accumulated almost $2 billion in cash, used to help both farmers and member co-operative owners. The company employs dozens of energy saving solutions in the production of grains and foods, and goes further to offer a variety of other business services to its members (CHS Inc.). However, the organization has also experienced minor setbacks along the way and has recently suffered marginal decreases in profits over the last few years due to lower earnings in the business’ energy department, which can mostly be credited to decreased petroleum refining and lower propane consumption (Meersman). To better grasp how CHS was able to build such a strong co-operative within a capitalist economy, I began by exploring how the company originated.
Nearly 90 years ago, the North Pacific Grain Growers, Inc. (NPGG) was formed as a regional co-operative, comprised of 60 local co-operatives within the state of Idaho; around that same time, the Farmers Union Central Exchange was also founded. In combination with other regional co-operatives, these organizations merged to form Cenex, which served as an agricultural co-operative in Minnesota. Throughout the next ten years, Cenex went from being a regional structure to being recognized as a national affiliation by the name of National Co-operatives. By the end of the 1930’s the company had developed the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association (GTA), which aided the co-operatives expansion into other various industries including food, plant food, seed, wheat milling and petroleum businesses (CHS Inc.). This expansion only continued in the coming decades, as Cenex grew rapidly in all business sectors relating to farming and agriculture.
Similar to the development and role of Mondragón Co-operative Corporation (MCC) in Spain, this organization began to achieve stability by forming ties to dozens of lines of business. This was made possible through mergers amongst various farmer-owned co-operatives, morphing Cenex from a single business into an independent economic structure with services ranging from food production to financial management and transportation services. Some of the major advances made by Cenex throughout the 1970s and 1980s included developing the first “pay the pump” technology, purchasing...

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