The Cooperative, a hybrid institutional arrangement, compatible with free-market capitalism


  • Ion Pohoat * Faculty of Economy and Business Administration. Alexandru Ioan Cuza Uni-versity of Iasi. Romania.



The cooperative phenomenon is a social and economic process that has, throughout history, been subjected to the most contra-dictory interpretations. Assigned to the causal register, which re-veals the origins of human action, the cooperative is given a logi-cal explanation: in the economic evolution of the world, two economic facts remain fundamental —the division of labor and human cooperation. This perspective is attributed to Smith and Hayek, according to whom the economic actors cooperate, with-out being self-sufficient or compelled by the division of labor (in-cluding the natural one). Following this natural path, the coop-erative was manifest in the form of a hybrid institutional arrangement, between the private firm with a hierarchical struc-ture, and the market, with a positive role in developing the free economy. Unfortunately, the cooperative phenomenon was not spared either ideological interpretations or pure scientistic ones.

On the one hand, since the beginning, both left- and right-wing doctrines claimed the cooperative in order to provide a «social» touch to their development networks. By so doing, they diluted, sometimes to distortion, the technical substance of the phenome-non, describing it as a compromise formula between liberalism and socialism. Interestingly, today, this «third way», within which the cooperative aims to be recognized as a strong lead, is claimed especially by the milder interpreters of the liberal doctrine. In so-cialist thought, following the paths of associational and, allegedly, scientific socialism, the idea of the cooperative was severely com-promised.


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How to Cite

Pohoat, I. . (2016). The Cooperative, a hybrid institutional arrangement, compatible with free-market capitalism. REVISTA PROCESOS DE MERCADO, 13(2), 329–358.