the changes induced by The new technologies in the economy also affect the co-operative sector. Between shoots, multinational and respect of ethical values and solidarity, the movement is looking for its place.
The advent of digital tools is far from being the panacea of co-operatives and mutual societies. Despite the hope of a more united world, they are faced with a sharp reaction of the economic actors in the traditional sense.
co-operatives “ rather hit by the subject “, writes Hervé Gouil, a former director of the regional Union of Societies co-operative and participative from the west of France. the “ [They] did not find there. There are both opportunities and a sense that other economic actors, to rediscover the interest of a mutual exchange, a system that is more horizontal and more democracy. And, at the same time, in the forms that it takes, there is a concern about the fact that this dynamics is rather captured by a vision capital-intensive classic on the bottom. “
The digital revolution has yet to bring out models of co-operative enterprise : ease of joining members, increased ability to share the working tools. According to a european Commission report published in 2015, the economy of sharing “ allows individuals and groups to receive income from assets that are under-used. Thus, physical assets are shared as services. “ Yet, it is difficult to see where the sharing. Often, businesses rely on a functioning to the logic of neoliberalism and the limits of legal uncertainty, such as Uber or AirBnB. the “ The most important thing is to underline the fact that the savings collaboratives are plural, stresses the one who is also a founding member of the Manufacturing co-operative, which is working on action research. in We tend to put them under the same designation of projects that eventually have different origins, values and different functions. There are structures or projects, who wish to develop the sharing reciprocal between the participants and the actors, and to facilitate this exchange on a principle of democracy and horizontality [...]. in Previously, we already had two opposing models or voltage. As between Linux and Microsoft. To one side is a classic business that will create a tool to capture most of the value added. And the other, Linus [Torvalds] who is going to donate a tool [Linux operating system] and putting it into circulation, provided that the users contribute to its improvement. “
There are few co-operatives in the horizontal economy. Most respond to specific local needs, such as the Factory in Sherbrooke, which provides building workshops to its members. the “ there are projects which are more restricted at the local level, including in the carpool, but who have not managed to achieve the effect of mass and therefore the popularity of Blablacar [for european Amigo Express], for example. There however, some platforms service exchanges between artists in the form of cooperatives, such as SMart in Belgium, which include the intermittents du spectacle, and to create true sharing between them [in the management and creation of projects]. “
Despite the innovative aspect of the sector, the cooperatives of digital are facing the same problems as their predecessors. the “ Develop tools exchange powerful, update it and promote it requires a significant capital investment, recalls Hervé Gouil. the There is a brake on the development of cooperatives classic that has existed for almost their origins, which is the difficulty of capture of the capital. The large mutuals have taken a long time to develop because they have not worked on a principle of massive influx of funds, including venture capital. “
Some co-ops think and to develop partnerships with players in more traditional. Recently, Communauto is partnering with the european car manufacturer PSA to ensure its international growth. This type of agreement will be more and more common in the future. the “ traditional businesses see this economy as a way to diversify or to work in their field of activity, thanks to the innovative and dynamic side of other entrepreneurs. Often, large companies struggle to innovate and thus they have an interest to join. It is necessary to ask what reciprocal influence it will have and if there is a risk that this partnership does not end by imposing the shape of operation a bit technocratic to traditional companies. “
At the head of a cabinet of co-operative development since 2001, Hervé Gouil believes that the solution will come to the aid provided by the big players, such as the Desjardins caisses in here. the “ The reconciliation between large cooperatives and mutual associations which, by their status and their history, follow in the defence of a co-operative model can effectively support new innovative and be inspired also. For the banks, for example, we may think of the mode of communication with beneficiaries via the networks, in relation to the tools of associations which permit to take investment decisions or sharing. All of these elements explored or updated by new entrepreneurs could also serve to re-invigorate the co-operative animation of a financial institution. “
And the sociofinancement ?
the Answer to the financial problems of the cooperatives of the digital with a tool born of the virtual world seems rather interesting. But this approach faces one major flaw. the “ Some cooperatives have made the calls to public savings through securities private, often in amounts restricted, finds Hervé Gouil. the If there are a lot of people who may be concerned, it is necessary to explain the project, which is not simple. For the moment, through these forms of financing, it short-circuits while the traditional funding, but the amounts and the commitments that are relatively low. “