Cooperatives – where are they?
18 April, 2013
Cooperatives – where are they?
Most of the tools for making money have already been invented by man. Probably! Well, some of these tools come and go, but some are so strong and proven that they persistently stay in place almost for good. Cooperatives make exactly this kind of an instrument for generating income. Using the now obsolescent Soviet type of vocabulary, it was called CEKAVSHIRI in the Georgian language, meaning Central Union of Consumer Cooperatives.
I remember my uncle was the head
of one of its chapters in the west Georgia and unless my memory is badly failing me, the chapter was generating a huge amount of revenues, seriously contributing to the state budget as well as filling the pockets of the working people. To cut a long story short, it was a good thing to keep the cooperatives functional even within the rigorous socialist economic system of those times. Where are those cooperatives now? What has happened to them? Is the money-making CEKAVSHIRI totally dead and gone? Maybe there is a vestige of hope, still lingering somewhere, at least in those economically-minded brilliant heads, whose intelligence will not allow the day perish for this truly expedient human invention. I am not an economist but I know that much – anything that makes our honestly earned affluence deserves to be held up and utilized thereof. To put the meaning of a cooperative in the most simplistic, but understandable definition, it is a human effort applied to whatever the Mother Nature is giving us, processed properly, turned into a desirable product, marketed accordingly and sold in compliance with the requirements of the day, thus allowing people to enjoy the result of their labor momentarily. Encyclopedically speaking, cooperative is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic and cultural benefit. If this is more or less true, then the conventional wisdom is inevitably dictating us to go ahead, grab it, put it firm on its feet and let it work as much as possible to the benefit of the people. We are used to the usage of political slogans like ‘Only bla-bla can save Georgia!’ Let us for a second insert the word ‘cooperative’ in place of the ‘bla-bla’ and believe that this could be a panacea for our economy. Who knows, it really might! Reinstating the CEKAVSHIRI in exactly the same soviet structure and ideology may not be the most fascinating idea, but bringing in the cooperatives of internationally recognized standards could truly give a chance to the future of our still fumbling national economy. At least, trying will never hurt. Opening of a nation-wide sensible discussion on the topic of restoring the cooperative movement in Georgia might be conducive to healthier economic relations in the field of agriculture, and not only. I am starting this discussion right here right now! After all, nothing brings rural and urban life together better than cooperatives. We are today living in much more favorable economic conditions than we used to be in the expired giant, called the Soviet Union. After all, our friendly powerful western countries are probably ready to support anything rational and beneficial that might happily develop in Georgia. Plus, we the people know much better today than we did before. Shall we put all those variables together and let Georgia relax a little? Why not? Trying must be better than doing nothing!
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