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Cooperation is when people work together to make their lives better, even though they are free to not work together, and receive little if any money for working together.
A cooperative is a type of organization that people use to make their lives better. The first cooperative was a store in Rochdale, England started in 1844. The people who started it wanted food that was cheaper and better quality. Since then, people have found many ways to cooperate. For example:
- farmers provide their own transport and marketing to get better prices for their crops,
- poor people protect themselves from money-lenders and workers save for their retirement (credit union)s,
- fishers package their fish to get a better price, and
- villagers provide themselves with electricity or water.
Co-operatives are democratic organizations owned by the people who use them. Cooperative organizations help people adapt to capitalism. The International Cooperative Alliance was started in 1885. It reports that there are 800 million cooperative members in the world.