Cooperatives as an ideal business form for the Internet age


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Not only since Frank Schirrmacher has publicly considered that the left is right, left is back in: Because thanks to the latest developments in the Internet is at Company radical rethinking asked. Where is the journey going?

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Trend instead of mass market

The trend is increasingly focused on specific products and services rather than the mass market, communicative co-operation rather than advertising campaigns, cooperation instead of competition, solid financing instead of overdrawn credits.

There is even a separate legal form - but that was so far completely unpopular. The company form, which allows participation, participation and co-responsibility, has been around since the 19. Century: the cooperative. It just needs to be rediscovered.

Independence makes cost-effective

Freelancers from the IT industry founded 2004 in Bremen to provide IT services to their members. The basic idea was to become independent of professional mediators.

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Because on the German IT market, specialists are usually placed through personnel agencies or project exchanges who earn a lot of money: "We want to eliminate this intermediate trade through direct marketing and thereby increase the income of the members, but also their competitiveness," explains board member Manfred Feige Motivation.

Knowing every specialist personally, Jariva eG can tailor customers, projects and experts - faster and more efficiently than big intermediaries. And the freelancers can pass on their cost advantage to their customers. Moreover, through division of labor and cooperation, members are able to accept larger and more complex projects.

Difference from stock company

Jariva even provides a replacement in the event of illness. And: Especially when there are problems and crises, the community helps each other because the comrades are on hand with advice and action. Jariva made a conscious decision in favor of the cooperative as a form of company: “We wanted to use synergies together. And the purpose of a cooperative in life is to support its members economically, ”says board member Feige.

This is exactly what distinguishes cooperatives from other legal forms, such as the company itself. Although both company forms are the members of the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management, and the most important body is the General Meeting of Shareholders, And in both company forms, one acquires business shares, which is called shares at the AG. End of similarities.

Anti-capitalist or not?

A cooperative is not so anticapitalistic as it comes at first sight. For example, she has a lot in common with a company. But there are also some elementary differences. What is the better system?

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Let's say: The Eichborn AG, which had chosen this legal form to be independent from large publishing houses, has recently filed for bankruptcy. The TAZ as co-operative continues to operate as one of the few media houses in Germany. But where are the differences between the two legal forms?

Difference to AG

The essential difference between AG and eG (Registered Cooperative) is how the shareholder can exercise his influence. In the case of the AG, voting rights are linked to the share. So the biggest influence is who owns most stocks. This principle is clearly recognizable at the general meetings of the large German stock corporations.

An example: 6.000 smallholders agree to a no. A shareholder from the first row agrees with yes. The Assembly Leader then announced that the decision had been adopted. The gentleman from the front row represents a company holding 91 percent of the shares.


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