Sidor som bilder

in spite of the prophecies uttered more than 20 years since by Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx, still carry on the shoemaking business on their own account and will not consent to be wage-receivers, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that millions of Germans have the most pressing interest in the preservation of handicrafts.


* *

The raw material societies of the handworkers could have given greater help in this contest if several of them had not ruined themselves by grave mistakes, because, unfortunately, the bad custom of the handworker giving credit-sometimes long credit-to his customers, without any compensation, is widely spread in Germany. The workers often demanded of the raw material societies to sell to them on credit at the same price as if they had paid ready money. Many societies have given way to this unjustifiable claim, and sunk under the consequent loss of capital and interest. Hence the number of raw material societies is not increasing."

The 145 raw material societies included the following trades: Joiners and instrument makers, 21; spinners and weavers, 17; meal and bread producers, 14; printers and lithographers, 11; tailors, 10; brewers, 7; butchers, 7; carpenters and masons, 6; cigar makers, 6; clock and watch makers, distillers, metal workers, and shoemakers, 5 each: machinists and sugar makers, 4 each; gilders and potters, 3 each; brush and comb makers, miners, personal services, and sewing machine makers, 2 each; bookbinders, glass makers, plumbers and lacquerers, and starch makers, 1 each.

The industrial magazines are co-cperative commission concerns whose business it is to sell at a common magazine or depot the goods produced by their members. The larger number are engaged in the sale of carpenters and joiners' products.

The industrial productive societies are mainly confined to hand labor and to the smaller industries. A notable exception is that of the largest German manufactory of chronometers, which is conducted on the co operative plan. Co operation when applied to factory labor in Germany has not been very successful.



"Productive societies formed for the purpose of selling their wares to the consumers' societies, and supplied with capital by them exist * only as exceptions. A society of this kind was the Berlin Bakers' Society, which long since came to grief through bad management. Most of the productive societies have been founded without any reference to the wants of the consumers' societies, by small groups of artisans or laborers who were all to be at once employers and workers. The business of the society was their only source of income. If anything went wrong with their business, all

the members came into difficulty. This may in many cases have bound all the members together, and steeled their energies, but it tended also to make them indisposed to the admission of new associates, which naturally came into question only when the business was again going on prosperously. The members who had fought through the time of need alone, wished alone to reap the fruits of the good time. This was not associative, and was vigorously opposed by Schulze Delitzsch, but it was natural, and explains the circumstance that in many old and successful productive societies the number of members is slowly diminishing. In some, though this is not publicly known, the number of members has shrunk to such an extent that they are no longer societies, but have become trading partnerships.” The agricultural co-operative societies appear to be quite successful and are increasing.

The agricultural consumers' supply societies afford their members facilities for purchasing in common seeds, manures, etc., and secure to them the advantage of subjecting to chemical analysis goods offered to them for purchase so as to test the genuineness of the articles. Others, existing among land-owners, known as implement societies, provide agricultural machines owned in common and loaned to members. Still others have for their object the improvement of breeds of cattle, and, finally, the productive agricultural societies are engaged in dairying and wine making.

There exists in Germany a co-operative union founded by Schulze Delitzsch, and, since 1883, a union of the agricultural societies, having for its special object the advancement of this form of co-operation.


According to the report of Dr. Ziller, who is at the head of the cooperative societies formed in the Austrian empire, the total number of such societies within Austrian territory in 1881 was 1,515. Of these, 317 were unregistered, and 1,198 registered. Five hundred and seventy-two registered societies were with limited liability and 626 unlimited. One thousand one hundred and twenty-nine, or 74.5 per cent. of all the societies, were people's banks; two hundred and thirty-five, or 15.5 per cent. were distributive societies; and the balance were as follows: raw material supply, 6; agricultural material supply, 15; stores, 3; artisan productive, 41; agricultural productive, 61; building, 5; trading, 10; assurance, 2; various, 9. These statistics include Lower and Upper Austria,; Lutzburg; the Tyrol; Voralberg; Styria; Carinthia; Krain; the Coast Land; Bohemia; Moravia; Silesia; Galicia; Bukowina, and Dalmatia.


Distributive co-operation in Hungary, although instituted some years ago, has made little progress. Of late slightly more life has been apparent in the movement, but statistics respecting it are very scanty. The statistical bureau of Hungary has no data upon the subject.

Productive societies are not numerous, the chief examples existing in Buda Pesth. The chief avenue of co-operative effort is the systed of banking analogous to that of Germany.

Dr. Ziller, of the Austrian Co operative Union, has presented the following statistics for the societies in Hungary, Croatia and Slavonia, in the year 1883: Total number of societies, 357; people's banks, 308; consumers' societies, 16; raw material supply, 2; depots (for selling), 3; agricultural aid societies, 2; artisans' productive societies, 6; agricultural productive societies, 7; assurance societies, 8; miscellane ous, 5.


The co operative movement in Italy began with the political unification of the country, as part of the general progress of the time. People's banks upon substantially the German model were among the first, and are to day leading examples of Italian co operative effort. They have increased from four in 1865 to 252 in 1883, the capital in the latter year being about £2,120,000. They have been very successful, and of great benefit to certain classes, chiefly the middle class traders and artisans, but have not materially aided laborers, or the masses of the working population. Other forms of co-operative credit and savings institutions are in progress or contemplated, among others the following:

"A certain number of small agriculturists, generally the very smallest proprietors or farmers, unite themselves into a society with unlimited liability. On this guarantee the society contracts loans at the lowest attainable rate of interest, and out of the sum thus collected makes advances to their members who apply for them, at a somewhat higher rate. The bank is to act also as a savings bank. These institutions are specially agricultural, and satisfy the need for small advances, at long periods of repayment, keenly felt by a class of agriculturists numerous in the Italian provinces, that of the small proprietors who cultivate their own land, of the small farmers, and also, in certain L. S.-4

cases, of the agricultural laborers, who sometimes cultivate a field on their own account."

With these banks agricultural clubs are sometimes united.

Productive co-operation is limited to a few societies, and, although some success is to be noted, is still in the experimental stage. The oldest and most important society is the Artistic Glass Society of Altare, founded in 1856, and for a time subjected to government opposition. Its original capital was only 14,385 lire, about £463, but the members by carrying to capital monthly instalments of their wages increased it rapidly until, in 1883, it amounted to about £16,639. The value of product in the latter year was about £21,196.

The Co-operative Labor Society at Ismola, manufacturing earthen 'ware and kitchen utensils, was founded in 1874 by Guisppe Bucci, who gave up to his workmen his own establishment, for which they paid him by instalments. It has been reasonably successful.

In Bologna there are six productive societies engaged in hemp dressing, shoemaking, building and woodworking, leather cutting, glove making, and printing. They are all small, but are said to be exerting a good influence. At Milan, there is a co operative society of marble workers, and one of laundresses; at Bandeno, one of weavers; at Schio, one engaged in railway and tramway construction, and at Turin, one of working tailors, dressmakers and seamstresses.

The customary division of profits is between the shareholders and workers. At Altare and Ismola three per cent. is first paid to the shareholders, and of the remaining profit 30 per cent. is carried to a reserved fund; 25 per cent. to a subsidy fund; 30 per cent. to shareholders, and 15 per cent. to workers in proportion to the number of days each has worked. Members must become shareholders within four years or leave the society, a requirement that eliminates the thriftless and undeserving.

Another form of productive co-operation in Italy should be noticed the co-operative associations of day laborers. These arose among the agricultural workers of Romagna, and they had in view the emancipation of field laborers from the power of contractors whose custom it was to control every extensive operation in road making, earthwork, etc.; farming out the work to sub-contractors and reducing wages to the lowest point so as to swell profits to themselves without regard to the rights of the laborers dependent upon them. The work, it will be seen, is very simple, requiring little capital and limited skill, thus rendering it easy of performance upon the co-operative plan. The meagre capital required was readily obtained by savings from wages, the par value of shares being placed at a low figure. Almost the only

outlay required was for pickaxes, barrows, etc., and in many cases these were already possessed by the workmen. The plan of operation was simple. Large contracts are taken by the society at fixed rates, and sublet in sections to members, who work by the piece. By this plan individual remuneration is in proportion to the work performed. The workers became directly interested in the work and their efficiency is proportionately increased. The middleman is abolished, and the laborer is brought into immediate relations with the proprietor who controls the undertaking. Under these advantages men who previously earned from 71⁄2d. to 18. 2d. a day, have increased their wages to 28. 5d., and in some cases to 38. 24d. or 48. daily. The first association of this sort, founded at Ravenna with 300 members, grew to membership of 3,000 within a year. Others upon the same plan are working well.


Co-operative societies in the Netherlands have a legal sanction in the statute of November 17, 1876, and, although a few societies had been founded previously, the progress of the movement rests upon this statute.

The General Dutchmen's Union (Het Algemeen Nederlandch Werkliedenverbond) and the Society for Self Help (Vereeniging Eigen Hulp) are corporations founded for the purpose of promoting co-operative societies and extending co-operative principles. The first has its headquarters at Amsterdam, and the later at the Hague. Both maintain newspaper organs.

The following co-operative societies have been established since 1876:

[blocks in formation]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »