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Dearborn independent. [volume] (Dearborn, Mich.) 1901-1927, March 13, 1920, Image 10

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IBB DBAKBOKN HMOEJPHHIDENTf
10
Workmen Have Made Co-operative Stores
Pay Well in England
I1r()RKMhN in hngland and Continental
f f t urope have really made a sueeess in buying
goods collectively -in running their own stores.
These stores now number into the thousands with a
business going into hundreds of millions of dollars.
I hey began in a small way many years ago and have
become prosperous out of this saving. This article
deals with Tngland alone. Sext week, a similar
article will tell of operations in Continental F.urope.
IN GREAT BRITAIN alone the co-operative tores,
it taken together, contain more capital and do a
larger turnover than any other enterprise, with the
possible exception of the liquor industry: in Russia it
is the one stable thing which ha stood fast through
tire and torment, and promises an avenue tor a re
sumption of international business.
Co-operation does nt net often into the news
papers, seldom at all into American newspapers. Co
operative Stores do not advertise ; they do not need to.
Advertisers. of course, do not welcome co-operative
stores. Those may not he the reasons for the silence
regarding a remarkable plan.
The birth of modern COH perative stores is romantic
enough. In 1S44, twenty-four poor men of Rochdale,
in the north of England, most of them rlannel weavers,
stared haggardly into the desperate poverty of the times
for them and decided t make an experiment. They
appointed from their number a treasurer, and brought
to him their subscriptions, two cents one day. three
cents another; in similar amounts they brought these
tiny sums from a few others They scraped together a
capital of $140.
Think of it! Twenty-four poor rlannel weavers and
5140, and a plan to revolutionize the business methods of
two continents. There is a thrill at the thought of that
meager capital what would it do for you today ! and
the little store they opened with it in Toad Lane,
Rochdale.
Yet by 1906 then were 1,400 Ittch stores in the
United Kingdom, and their sales for the year ex
ceeded $315,000,000.
The little Lancashire shop at first sought only to
supply its members with their wants bacon, candles
shoes and SO forth, what they actually did, as the idea
spread, was to improve vastly the position of millions
of the working class by enabling them to obtain their
provisions cheap and pure, to avoid the millstone of
debt, to save money, to pasi from retail to wholesale
trading, and from distribution to manufacturing, build
ing and house-owning and banking.
The membership today i nearly 3,000,000. That
means 3,00o.imio families in tin- l'nited Kingdom up
ward of 15,000.000 souls, buy as a unit, on the co-operative
plan, get their little metal checks with their
purchases, and cash these in at stated intervals for their
"dividends'' or else build up their bank account, with
the knowledge that their money is conservatively used
in extending yet further the reach of the idea.
To-operative societies, in the technical sense as
Used here does not cover associations which are pri
marily for social, provident or religious purposes such
as the Communist experiments in the L'nited States,
but does cover societies for the production of wealth,
such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail or wholesale
distribution, building or house-owning, raising capi
tal, etc.
These workmen's co-operative stores, or dis
tributive societies (referred to as the "Co-Op")
flourish all over the country; practically all of them
are registered under the Industrial and Provident So
cieties Act. which constitutes them corporate bodies,
with limited liability, and fixes $1,000 as the maximum
any member may hold in the share capital.
Their government is democratic, based on one vote
each, for man or woman, their members or share
holders, and the committee-men or directors are almost
exclusively the more provident of the working class.
I hey Share in Profits
THEIK method is modeled on the original Rochdale
plan, with modifications. It varies slightly in dif
ferent societies, but the following ii a general working
l;isis.
Membership is open to anyone who pays a small
entrance fee (25 cents) and signs a pledge for a $5
share, which can he paid for out of the profits. For
rears K has been possible for any member to withdraw
his shares in cash at par. With each purchase the mem
her is given metal disc s (sometimes paper) equivalent
to the amount -pent, and at the end of each quarter
this stack of metal discs, ,,r book of paper coupons.
tly represents the member's expenditure with the
CO-Operative Society during that period. At the end of
the quarter, a limited interest (never more than 5 per
cent, and frequently less) on shares and, in some so
cieties, paying a proportion of profit to the employes,
the surplus is divided to tin m mb I 'S in proportion to
their purchases hi some societies ion -members can
cash in their fhs( v btr( for half-dividends.
Thus there is every incentive for the member to do
all the purchasing at the "Co-Op," imce tin- money
spent becomes a sort of capital, which draws interest
By 1 1 CO WOODSTOCK
in proportion to its sise; and also there is the incentive
to bring others there to purchase also, since the more
members, the bigger the opt ration of the store, the bet
ter the wholesaling facilities, and the larger profits
which, analyzed down, means the cheaper the cost of
living. Stripped, u means the member is getting the
goods at cost; ami the cost is low in proportion as the
purchasing or manufacturing is large.
And this dividend on members' purchases is a real
thing: it averages 12 cents on the dollar, thus the div
idend on three months' purchases is sieable II you
could purchase the necessities of hie. food and cloth
ing at a price that met any other fair store in town,
and could count on a 12 per cent rebate on all you
spent, would it interest you?
Occasionally the prices of the co-operative stores
have been slightly higher than those of private stores,
but the effect was merely that the member saved what
before was the retailer's profit, and every time he made
a purchase put a few cents in his bank account, since
he had just that much more coining to him on settling
day.
Purchasing Depots in Many (Cities
HERE is a typical example of a co-operative busi
ness. The North of Kngland Wholesale Society
began business in Manchester in 1864, and in 1871 be
came the English Wholesale Society.
This organization has purchasing and forwarding
depots not only in England and Ireland, but in New
Yrk. Hamburg. Rouen. Copenhagen and Calais. It
is the wholesah arm for a large group of societies.
The societies make bread, butter, clothes, boots,
furniture, millinery, flour; often farm land; and in
vest increasing sums in building cottages to rent or sell
to their members; also loans much money to mem
bers desiring to build.
Another remarkable development of tin Labor Co
partnership idea produced the famous South Metro
politan ias Company, of London, which before the
war had more than $2,000,000 invested in it. by nearly
7.000 employes
The number of societies today is 1,560, many of
them with many stores called "branches," and with
nearly 150,000 employes, of which total 80,000 are en
ura.'ed in the distribution end of the business, and the
balance in the productive end. The year's business
transacted by all the societies runs over $5(X OOOlOSji
with . rot.ts of $60,000,000.
The difference between the English and th Con
tinental co-operative systems is simply the interpreta
tion of the word "credit." The Rochdale idea .ud all
its followers to this day. oppose tin "'credit" itttt'
in other words, no member could spend agan si his fu
ture income. On the Continent, co-operation eksfo
collective credit to put into the hands oi rkin
peasants, craftsmen and traders, the stock and tools
with which to labor. The credit opposed b) Kng.
lish is the "credit tor consumption' the road to pov.
t rty ; tin credit sought by the Continent is the "credit
for production" the road to well being.
Another form of cooperation, developed almost
everywhere except in Great Britain, is agricult ai,
The co-operation affects production, market own
ership of expensive machinery in common, a. ' insur
ance against risks. Thus the small fanner obtains the
same advantages a- the big farmer.
Denmark has developed it to a point of great sue--s,
the farmers practicing it in every form except
for raising capital, which has seemed to be lini - ssary.
The Danish farmer, a century or so ago a sen today
is almost always a freeholder. The great edit attonsl
movement of the middle nineteenth century in Denmark
had remarkable results, and the regeneration . t agrj.
culture was one of them. The Kochdale plan, that is,
the British CO-operative store plan, entered the country
ah ut the same time, and in 1882 cooperation in agri
culture began.
Almost every Danish village has its co-operative
dairy, which can handle milk from 200 to 1,4 M. and
even 2,000 cows. These dairies are productive - h ictus
in which the cow -owners are the shareholders, and all
shareholders have iual rights and equal voting power,
whether owning one cow or one hundred. The) handle
more than four-fifths of all the milk used in Denmark,
and produce about $50,000,000 worth of butter ,t year.
Similar co-operative organizations handle other
phases of agriculture collective buying oi ndder,
fertilizers ami agricultural and household requisites,
Collecting and exporting eggs, bacon-curing, bc keeping,
fruit-growing and so forth. The bacon -curing SOCttttei
are of great v. Certainly, whether thl Ugh co
operation or not. tanning in Denmark has ti e : Titled
the country from one of the poorest to of the
richest in Kuropc.
In my next article, to be published next week, I
shall tell of other co-operative plans foi buying
and distributing ods and making loans in C tmenta!
Europe, and their success
Mr. Burleson Has Carried an Umbrella 38 Years
m
sssssssssssssssssssf
Ka Clincdintt
hostmasthk (;knkral BLIHLBSON
IN AT least three ways, Postmaster-General Albert
Sidney Burleson is different from every oth r man in
public life. There has not been a day rain shine
during tin- past 38 years that he has not carri an um
brella with him, no matter whether he was dling at
the White House, going to a social function. SpCCttng
a field of cotton on his Texas farm, or at ding to
his duties of running the Post Office Depai lent for
the people of the l'nited States, and taking the blame
whenever your mail is late or misdirected
A few years ago Mr. Hurlcson was visin TeXSI
during the worst drouth that had been exp i need W
more than 20 y ears. There had been no rain for over
two years and the iky was as clear as a cor.: try gin
complexion. The whole state was sizzlingly hot ana
annoyingly dusty. One of the old-timers Ice I looking
at the umbrella clutched tightly in the grip oi the cab
inet member, and finally blurted out, "Say. M Bun
son, are you expecting the drouth to be bl (Wj
SO0H or are you aiming to hook up with tin Baptlftf?
This brought forth a broad smile on : 'date
features of the head of the mail service, ai '"ns ex
planation : "I've been carrying an umbrella t iWf
I was nineteen. t that time I had an ittad '
swelling, necessitating the use of some aid in walking
1 knew that if I used a cane all tin boys would gtty JK,
so I quietly resorted t the use of an umbrella for tnsi
purpose, thus avoiding all debate and comment That1
how the habit started and I guess I'll stick to H the re
mainder of my days '"
I'ln iecond distinctive feature about the Postrnatfer
General is his peculiar styk ol headgear. Volt WlW
by his picture that he sports a hat of the vintag
long, long ago h is claimed that a little store at bafl
tntonio, Texas, is the only place that still keepi 1,1,1
remote Styk in stock. His friends claim 1" t,,,,',t"
that particular brand at the time he first regaled him
eti in long pants. ..
I here are men heartless enough to coinpaie the m
ervice with his headgear.
The third peculiarity is his sln.es. He has IJ
worn i pair of ready-made shoes in his life A" "
II Austin, Texas, lias made his shots fOf l j
l 40 rears They an comfortably ample ai & sl-
Of architecture

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