''in proportion to their patronage''
what does that mean here?

@paulfree14 The is the mechanism by which a operates on a not-for-profit basis towards its members in the context of market pricing.

Say a made a 5% profit/surplus last year. If you spent $100 there and I spent $1000, I would get $50 back while you would get $5 in your Patronage Refund.

For , patronage is based on labor contributed, of which the simplest formula is hours worked, so if I worked 2x your hours, I'd get 2x your share of the surplus.

how is this then true?
'Wealth is eqally distributed among the many'
equally in the sense, everyone acording to the same rule? thought then the statement would be also kind of true for 'the corporation'


@paulfree14 Because in a corporation, profit/surplus is distributed on the basis of capital ownership, while in a co-op, it is distributed on the basis of use.

As such, while the profit of a corporation tends to go to augment the wealth of a small minority, the surplus of a co-op is distributed at the same rate to all patrons on the basis of their use, which is inherently a less wealth concentrating formula. Democratic 1 person 1 vote governance also helps set broad vs narrow priorities.

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@paulfree14 One long-running strategic debate in the movement is around pricing & the .

Should conform their pricing to market rates, and benefit their members via larger patronage refunds? Or should they seek to minimize their surplus and move the larger market by paying above-market wages or charging below-market prices, thereby narrowing the margins of their capitalist competitors?

@paulfree14 I don't think there's a single correct answer to that question, but that it depends on strategic considerations like a co-op/co-op federation's market power. If you control a substantial portion of the market, it's a very different situation than if you are on the margins trying to survive...

coop, talk 

oh, I didn't try to argue that the wealth acumulation could be by both the same, as in fact do coops counter this.
Just not getting the use of 'equal' here.
imagine I'm part of the coop, but don't work much for it (maybe cause of chronical illness), then in fact I could resieve less, thought.

coop, talk 


A little nuance is that the document doesn't actually say "equally," it says "equitably". ;)

coop, talk 

xD lol
...taking a look into a dictionary

coop, talk 

ok. with equitably it does make logical sense, it's now just a question how it is defined.

If the rule is:
'if you work x then you get x'
I would consider it as unfair, as some people can't work that much, but maybe even need more then those that work much.
everyone acording to their capabilities and needs I would consider as equitably.

But that's rather a philosophical

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp
A different way to look at the problem of needs is that for most people that tends to be a baseline. If you can metaphorically raise the boats High Enough then those needs would be met and everything else is surplus. I think some of the Nuance occurs when you consider the fact that a lot of the equitable share systems are percentages.

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp I find the best thought experiment to reason about this is to consider somebody shopping at (or working at) a co-op food store. You can construe the need as the cost of fuel, with some people being further away needing more fuel. But that's not always the same amount as the percentage of their income that they pay for food/work for the store. But this cost/value is an externality to the cost/value that labor/patronage on the store instills.

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp
It's still a market-based system, so your choice of store matters. If your community is too far away from that store then maybe another option is to look at creating a Co-Op Farmers Market or Cooperative ride pooling service. Or maybe worth it to start a local store if the gas prices are too high.

There's always going to be variations in levels of need, but in this system the spread is more even so proportionally more people's needs are met.

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp of course this doesn't fully capture the nuances. stuff like unpaid labor and emotional labor aren't factored into it (but that's more an issue of how Society values it as a whole). What this does however is open up more options. Especially because more of the value is returned as opposed to being sharecropped and captured at the top. Unmet needs don't go away, but are perhaps easier to meet through other means.

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp I use the Cooperative grocery store model specifically because from experience it seems to help people with disabilities, or low income, disproportionately more often than the typical grocery store. The economics of the situation gives more flexibility and how it can service a community.

I've done a lot of research into food deserts from perspective of elderly and impoverished. Co-ops seem to be the best at serving that niche.

coop, talk 

@paulfree14 @mattcropp a more dysphemistic way of looking at the situation: cooperatives are often in a better position to fulfill the needs of the citizens / a community. At least when government needs based programs are failing at providing acceptable levels of subsistence. They are in stark contrast to predatory firms acting in ways that amount to rent extraction.

I see them as the closest things to a shared commons that we can have in our society.

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