Co-operatives could resist capitalism, says Prabhat Patnaik

ULCCS a successful role model for labour co-operatives: Lise Grande


Renowned economist Prabhat Patnaik has said that the co-operative movement in the country could provide protection to petty production against encroachment by corporate capitalism.

In his keynote address at the inaugural session of the international conference on ‘Co-operatives in Transition in the Era of Globalisation’, organised jointly by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, and Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society Ltd (ULCCS Ltd) here on Thursday, Prof. Patnaik said that the struggle for preservation of the co-operatives must be integrated with the struggle to form an all together new order.

Citing the success story of ULCCS Ltd, which has withstood the challenges of globalisation and emerged as one of the best in the country through innovative practices and modernisation, Prof. Patnaik suggested that the co-operative movement needs to emerge as an alternative economic order transcending the existing neo-liberal system. Co-operatives across the country could resist the decimation of peasant and petty production.

Explaining that capitalism is an encroaching system taking over public sector property, Prof. Patnaik pointed out that the co-existence of co-operative and capitalist system is not ideal. There is a situation where co-operatives can imitate within themselves the essential features of capitalism.

In her inaugural address, Ms Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, New Delhi, said that co-operatives provide stability in these turbulent times when the world is facing inequality, climate change and job loss.

Stating that co-operatives enjoy a track record built over the last several years, Ms. Grande said that about 100 million jobs are being created by co-operatives across the world. Co-operatives look after its people better at a time when the corporates are laying their people off. The world is witnessing a co-operative renaissance and emerging as one of the solutions to the global crisis, she said.

Terming the Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS) as a successful model for labour cooperatives, which has no parallel in the world, Ms. Grande said that co-operatives like the ULCCS are important because they have shown us a winning way when the rest of the word is frantically looking for a solution.

Prof. Krishna Kumar Ladha, Professor at IIM Kozhikode, presided. Prof. Saji Gopinath, Professor and Dean (Development), IIM Kozhikode, welcomed the gathering while Shri R. Ramakumar, Associate Professor, TISS, offered the vote of thanks.

Dr. T. M. Thomas Isaac, MLA and former Minister for Finance, chaired a plenary session on ‘co-operatives in the era of globalisation’. Prof. Venkatesh Athreya, Visiting Professor, TISS, Mumbai, and Ms Hilary Wainwright, Editor, Red Pepper Magazine, London, spoke.

Technical sessions on ‘The Idea of Co-operatives’, ‘History of Co-operative Movement’, Innovation in Co-operative movement’, ‘New economic policies and co-operatives’, and ‘Enablers of co-operative in transition’ were held in the afternoon. Several delegates from India and abroad are attending the three-day conference that will conclude on Friday.

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