Far too many are leery of cooperatives. Not just from lack of familiarity, but from their way-too-close association with the darkness of Socialism. When a co-op's members or a co-op itself is involved in anything illegal, it only stains it's reputation for their entire movement.
Three recent examples will show why this vital part of a Distributist economy and state must be wary of all taint. (All reports were dated February 23.)
1: According to an article from the “progressive” newspaper Seattle Weekly, the state of California allows co-operatives for the buying of so-called “medical marijuana”. Even though the negative effects of marijuana are well-known, those pushing to legalize this drug are using these type of co-ops for such a purpose.
2: According to a report from the news website allAfrica.com, the deputy head of the Zambia Cooperatives Federation warned of fake co-ops getting government provided fertilizer. He demanded total obedience to legal guidelines for operating co-ops, and not cheat it's members of their dividends and benefits.
3: According to an article from The Jakarta Post of Indonesia, police on the island of Bali had to shut down a co-op suspected of running a Ponzi scheme. The police chief said the co-op was illegally running an investment firm, promising members a 150% rate of return. The Post reported that 62,000 investors could get at their money when police shut the co-op down.
As the old saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” As part of a Distributist State, co-operatives have the power to change an economy and social structure for the better.
But bad actions on a co-op's part will only hurt their image. It will give ammunition for it's rivals in the Capitalist and Socialist camps. So it must continue to weed out those that would break the law and blacken it's reputation. Let the co-operative movement be a model of both innovation and moral righteousness.