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1. No credit is given; and, therefore, terated, he naturally feels the importance there can be no bad debts. The capital of of dealing at a shop in which he can the concern is much more frequently place confidence. But, when a person turned over, and consequently its pro- purchases articles of clothing, he is ductiveness, or, in other words, the anxious to select them according to his profits realized, are much increased. own taste, and, therefore, wishes to

2. When a co-operative store is first have as large a choice as possible. established, the shareholders form a • Hence such a tradesman as a draper nucleus of customers; and, therefore, ought to be most scrupulously carepurchasers need not be attracted by ful in studying the tastes of his cussuch expensive means as advertise- tomers. Minute attention to what ments.

may appear so trivial a matter as taste 3. The expenses of management are is not so likely to be exercised by extremely small.

a paid manager as by the individual These three causes combined are, I owner of a business, who, perhaps, feels believe, sufficient to explain the un that his livelihood depends upon attendusually high profits realized by every ing to such apparently small matters. successful co-operative store. In some A co-operative store, therefore, is likely respects, however, it must be admitted to carry on a much larger business in that a retail shop, conducted by an food than in clothing. But, although a individual owner, possesses advantages co-operative store, in common with over any business conducted on the every other joint-stock undertaking, joint-stock principle, such as a co-opera- may suffer from the energy and skill of tive store. Again and again has the a paid manager, not being stimulated by remark been verified, that an individual self-interest, yet this advantage can be owner of a business, being more power amply compensated by the other advanfully stimulated by the feeling of self- tages we have enumerated as connected interest, will show more energy and with the co-operative system ; for it has discrimination in business, than the been conclusively demonstrated that, manager of a joint-stock company. when ordinary care is taken to select a And the truth of this is illustrated by proper manager, a co-operative store is examining some of the business details almost certain to succeed, that large of the Rochdale Society. Their last profits will be realized, and that the quarterly report shows that 30,0001. most inestimable advantages are conworth of grocery has been sold, and ferred upon the working classes. only 1,0001. worth of drapery goods. Any working men who intend to There must be some cause for such a establish a co-operative store may difference. The Lancashire operatives, insure success if they will only take the who are well, even expensively, dressed, precaution of selecting a proper manager, certainly do not spend twenty times as and of strictly adhering to the principle much in grocery as in drapery goods; that no credit shall be given. Exand, therefore, it would appear that perience, perhaps, shows that it is pruthose who supply themselves with dent to commence by selling food only; grocery almost entirely from the afterwards almost every other business Pioneers' Store, deal there only to a might be embraced, as at Rochdale. limited extent for drapery and clothes. There need scarcely be any risk involved I do not think it is difficult to suggest in the co-operative stores. It is not a reason for this.

necessary to make any speculative purThe people of Rochdale have confi- chases; and, as no credit is given, the dence that a co-operative store supplies business can be readily expanded or them with such articles as tea and sugar contracted. The more intelligent workunadulterated, and of the best quality; ing classes, therefore, throughout the and since a person, when purchasing tea, country may be confidently advised

savings' bank is now their only investment, and the interest they obtain is so small that they have little induce. ment to save. The impossibility of obtaining more than 21 or 3 per cent. for their capital most effectually discourages providence. A co-operative store, by offering a singularly profitable investment for the savings of the working classes, will most powerfully encourage increased prudence; and without increased prudence it is vain to hope that the condition of the poor can ever be ameliorated.

But the important question now arises -Is the principle of co-operation as certain of success when it assumes a higher development, and is applied to commer. cial undertakings ? I will, in the first place, describe the origin of the Rochdale co-operative cotton manufactory; I will, next, trace its progress up to the present time, and I will then remark upon the danger which may imperil the future success of this and similar institutions.

As an offshoot of the Pioneers' Store, a co-operative cotton mill was established at Rochdale in 1855. The Pioneers' Society has 5,0001. invested as capital in the undertaking. At first a portion of a mill was rented, and, in 1856, 96 looms were at work; the profits on the capital were 13} per cent. The labourers receive the wages current in the trade, and a uniform dividend of 5 per cent. is paid on capital. The remaining profits are divided into two equal shares; one of these is paid as an extra dividend upon capital; the other share is, at the end of each year, divided amongst the labourers. Each labourer's share is in direct proportion to the amount of wages he has received throughout the year. The most efficient workmen, therefore, not only receive, as in other employments, the highest weekly wages, but also obtain a corresponding advantage in the annual division of profits. The most skilled labour and the highest efforts of that skill are secured ; and the concern, though in its infancy, has hitherto been able to compete success

enterprise has been most particularly developed.

This first great success induced a desire to extend the manufactory, and, as a mill sufficiently large could not be rented, it was determined to build one. The foundation stone was laid in 1856. The mill was opened in the autumn of 1860; its total cost was 45,0001.; and it is admitted on all hands that there is not in the country a better mill, or one more complete in every respect. All this was effected entirely by the joint earnings of the working classes ; and so great was the desire to join the undertaking, that the capital account was obliged to be closed long before the mill was completed. The supply of capital, in fact, seemed to be so abundant, that it was at once resolved to erect a second mill. Others were anxious to follow the example of Rochdale ; and, in Lancashire, numerous other co-operative manufactories have been commenced or projected.

The figures above quoted, no doubt, exhibit a striking success. The cooperative manufactory proved to be a lucrative speculation, and others of the working classes naturally felt anxious to participate in such large gains. I wish, however, dispassionately to consider whether, in the first place, this success was promoted by any exceptional circumstances; and, secondly, I wish to inquire what is the probability that the continuance of this success can be insured.

Now, it is well known that the cotton trade, until the commencement of the civil war in America, had been for some time extremely prosperous; in fact, during the years 1859-60, the profits realized by cotton manufactories were unprecedentedly high. The Rochdale co-operative manufactory, of course, shared the general prosperity in trade; but no one supposed that such extraordinary prosperity could be permanent, and, therefore, the profits of the co-operative cotton manufactory, as well as those of every other manufactory, could not continue to be what

if no other circumstances intervene, we pany. The advocates of co-operation may be certain that exceptionally high justly maintain that, when the labourer profits are sure, in the course of time, receives a share of the profits, he at once to be reduced by the competition of ca- becomes interested in the welfare of the pital—for capitalists will compete against concern, and that the highest efficiency each other to appropriate to them- of labour is thus secured. Few, perselves as much as possible a profit so haps, have adequately considered the unusually high. The years 1859-60 pecuniary loss which is incurred from the cannot, therefore, be regarded as types listlessness and carelessness of the hired of the normal condition of the cotton labourer, who has ordinarily no motive trade. The working classes, who sup- to do his work well. There is no greater plied the capital for the construction defect in our social system than the abof the cotton mills at Rochdale were, no sence of a mutual pecuniary interest doubt, doomed to disappointment, if between the employer and the employed. they believed that the cotton trade Ill-feeling is thus constantly engendered, would continue in the same thriving which too frequently gathers sufficient condition, unaffected by any reverses. strength to convulse by a strike. The But now a second question of the managers of a co-operative manufacgreatest possible importance arises—Is a tory can with truth say that, by making co-operative cotton manufactory likely the labourers participate in the profits to succeed as well as a manufactory of the concern, the best labour, and owned by individual capitalists who, in the highest and most skilled efforts the ordinary way, employ simply hired of that labour, are secured. We helieve labourers ? It is often said that a co- . that an advantage is in this manner operative manufactory is a joint-stock obtained which will amply compensate undertaking. It has, no doubt, been some of the disadvantages to which a proved that a joint-stock trading company co-operative trading company may be can seldom successfully compete with the liable. We will proceed to notice some individual trader; and hence it is con- of the difficulties with which such a cluded that a co-operative manufactory company will have to contend. will, for similar reasons, fail to compete I t is well known that the success of a with the manufactories which are usually large trading concern almost entirely depossessed by a few individual capitalists. pends upon the energy and ability of the But there is a fundamental difference managers. In the case of a joint-stock between a co-operative company and an company these managers are usually ordinary joint-stock company. In some paid by fixed salaries ; and therefore it co-operative trading companies the is maintained that such a manager will shareholders are alone employed as not have the same motive as the indivilabourers ; almost invariably a great dual owner of the business to exert skill portion of the labour is supplied by the and energy. But this difficulty may, shareholders ; and the labourers who are no doubt, to a great extent be overcome not shareholders participate, as I have if a manager is partly paid by a share of remarked in the case of the Roch- the profits, for it will then be directly dale manufactory, in a share of the his interest to do everything in his profits. All the labourers therefore power to promote the welfare of the may be regarded as partners in the con concern. There is, however, perhaps a cern; labour and capital are both re greater danger to be apprehended with cognised as claims to share the profits; regard to a co-operative trading comand, when a labourer is a shareholder, pany; for, when the shareholders have these claims become united in the same secured good managers, they may, perindividual.

haps, not place sufficient confidence in In this consists the fundamental them. The success of a co-operative manudifference between a co-operative com factory may at any time be jeopardised

minority of the shareholders of Rochdale, society :-the Hôtel Fould, in the Rue but which was happily prevented from de Berry; the Hôtel Rohes, in the being carried into execution by the good Champs Elysées ; the Hôtel Frescati, sense of the majority. The shareholders Rue de Richelieu ; the Square d'Orléans. may at any time object to give labour a Rue Taitbout, &c. &c. And at the preshare of the profits. A party of the Roch- sent time these co-operative masons are dale shareholders wished to increase their building an hotel for M. Girardin, on the own gains by depriving labour of any Boulevard of the King of Rome, an hotel share of the profits. But, if this were for M.Arsénne Haussage, on the Boulevard done, the concern would at once lose the Beaujon ; an hotel for Malle. Allier, distinctive characteristic of co-operation; on the Boulevard de l'Empereur ; and it would, in fact, at once be converted an hotel at Montrouge, for M. Pacotte. from a co-operative into an ordinary As I have before remarked, no labourers, joint-stock company. Such a danger except the shareholders, are employed may with certainty be obviated if the by this society. The labourers are paid shareholders are the only labourers who the ordinary wages current in the are employed in a co-operative trading trade, and the net profits realized are establishment. This plan is almost in- apportioned in the following manner :variably followed in France with the Two-fifths of these profits form a fund greatest possible success, for in France from which the annual dividend on co-operative trading establishments are capital is paid ; and the remaining threemore numerous than in England. We fifths are appropriated to provide an probably possess a greater number extra bonus on labour. The bonus of co-operative stores ; but in France which each labourer thus receives is the co-operative principle has been proportioned to the amount of labour applied to many trades which in he has performed throughout the year. England have never been carried on by No arrangements that could be devised associations of labourers. A small society would more powerfully promote the of co-operative masons was established efficiency of labour. This is the secret in the year 1848, in Paris. This society of the remarkable success achieved by was reproached for holding certain poli- this society. The co-operative masons of tical opinions, and the Government Paris have achieved their remarkable attempted to discourage it by refusing success by fairly entering into the great to it any loan of capital. This intended field of commercial competition ; they hostility insured its future success ; for have striven to do their work better and the societies which were assisted by the cheaper than others; and it is because Government in almost every instance they have proved that they can work proved to be failures. The co-operative better and cheaper that they have been masons endured many vicissitudes, and employed to build residences for such in the year 1852 they determined to re- persons as M. Girardin, and the others organise their society. It then consisted we have enumerated. of only seventeen members, and possessed Co-operative trading establishments no capital. They resolved to create a capi- must be prepared to meet the retal by depositing in a common chest verses and difficulties to which all one-tenth of their daily earnings. At commercial undertakings are subjected. the end of the first year a capital of It is, perhaps, not altogether a fortunate 141. 10s. was in this manner created. circumstance that a co-operative cotton At the end of the year 1854, the capital manufactory should in England be the had increased to 6801. ; and, in 1860, first instance in which co-operation on a the society was composed of 107 mem- large scale has been applied to trade. bers, and the capital possessed by The cotton manufacture has always been them was 14,5001. The following are characterised by great variations in the some of the important buildings which profits realized. Three or four bad have been constructed in Paris by this years are succeeded by two or three if no other circumstances intervene, we pany. The advocates of co-operation may be certain that exceptionally high justly maintain that, when the labourer profits are sure, in the course of time, receives a share of the profits, he at once to be reduced by the competition of ca- becomes interested in the welfare of the pital—for capitalists will compete against concern, and that the highest efficiency each other to appropriate to them- of labour is thus secured. Few, perselves as much as possible a profit so haps, have adequately considered the unusually high. The years 1859-60 pecuniary loss which is incurred from the cannot, therefore, be regarded as types listlessness and carelessness of the hired of the normal condition of the cotton labourer, who has ordinarily no motive trade. The working classes, who sup to do his work well. There is no greater plied the capital for the construction defect in our social system than the abof the cotton mills at Rochdale were, no sence of a mutual pecuniary interest doubt, doomed to disappointment, if between the employer and the employed. they believed that the cotton trade Ill-feeling is thus constantly engendered, would continue in the same thriving which too frequently gathers sufficient condition, unaffected by any reverses, strength to convulse by a strike. The But now a second question of the managers of a co-operative manufacgreatest possible importance arises—Is a tory can with truth say that, by making co-operative cotton manufactory likely the labourers participate in the profits to succeed as well as a manufactory of the concern, the best labour, and owned by individual capitalists who, in the highest and most skilled efforts the ordinary way, employ simply hired of that labour, are secured. We believe labourers? It is often said that a co- that an advantage is in this manner operative manufactory is a joint-stock obtained which will amply compensate undertaking. It has, no doubt, been some of the disa vantages to which a proved that a joint-stock trading company co-operative trading company may be can seldom successfully compete with the liable. We will proceed to notice some individual trader; and hence it is con- of the difficulties with which such a cluded that a co-operative manufactory company will have to contend. will, for similar reasons, fail to compete It is well known that the success of a with the manufactories which are usually large trading concern almost entirely depossessed by a few individual capitalists. pends upon the energy and ability of the But there is a fundamental difference managers. In the case of a joint-stock between a co-operative company and an company these managers are usually ordinary joint-stock company. In some paid by fixed salaries ; and therefore it co-operative trading companies the is maintained that such a manager will shareholders are alone employed as not have the same motive as the indivilabourers ; almost invariably a great dual owner of the business to exert skill portion of the labour is supplied by the and energy. But this difficulty may, shareholders ; and the labourers who are no doubt, to a great extent be overcome not shareholders participate, as I have if a manager is partly paid by a share of remarked in the case of the Roch- the profits, for it will then be directly dale manufactory, in a share of the his interest to do everything in his profits. All the labourers therefore power to promote the welfare of the may be regarded as partners in the con- concern. There is, however, perhaps a cern; labour and capital are both re- greater danger to be apprehended with cognised as claims to share the profits; regard to a co-operative trading comand, when a labourer is a shareholder, pany; for, when the shareholders have these claims become united in the same secured good managers, they may, perindividual.

cu.

haps, not place sufficient confidence in In this consists the fundamental them. The success of a co-operative manudifference between a co-operative com- factory may at any time be jeopardised

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