Join up and cooperate
Humans are gregarious in nature while seeking to helpfully relate between them. Collectively they produce the goods/services required to meet the complex challenges presented by life that would otherwise not be within grasp of the individual. Besides, humans constantly learn, teach and socialize in order to accomplish greater synergies. The outcome of cooperation is far higher than the sum total of individual endeavours; this is a nearly self-evident statement.
Something similar takes place when a clash of interests arises. A positive result may be achieved by all, if a negotiated settlement is sought. It ought to be reached through balanced compromise, that despite looking like a loss, does take into account each one’s vital stakes. On the other hand, if the non-rational or emotional path is pursued - by seeking goals aggressively and through confrontation - everyone stands to lose.
There is a need to exercise and rationalise a sense of collective action. Under a positive light that draws from life’s own teachings that transforms situations of conflict and hardship into win-win situation to everyone.
Cooperation as a means to collective objectives may take many shapes in line with the type of problems and the maturity of the people. Cooperatives have been the most common format adopted by poorer people. Every cooperative-member has equal voice in decision-making; nevertheless there is need of a respected Director, who everyone can look up to. This person will have an unblemished reputation, uphold values and shall be committed to the common good.
The director will strengthen his authority by making wise decisions. If and when required such decisions will be explained to all. When the bond of trust is firmly established, cooperative-members are likely to adhere to every initiative. Also, once they understand the scope of initiatives and results begin to show, trust is growing further. From the outset, the general framework for the Cooperative must be fully laid out before members. Disagreements over the sharing of future profits will thus be avoided, nor will they become a matter for undue friction and strife. The Cooperative is responsible for the purchase of several materials in bulk. These range from cattle feed to consumer goods for members’ families. Farmers benefit from the lower prices negotiated.
Milk delivered to the village Cooperative is first checked for fat content and quantity. To make their lives easier farmers are readily paid in cash.
There is another model – the producers’ associations - better suited to richer societies with higher education levels. Should many producers join in cooperation, they size up their operation and are able to face the market confidently. Associations may publicise members’ products, actively sponsor participation in trade fairs, pay for research into product innovation and more.
These associations are found in industry too or in procurement where buyers seek the best prices for their members’ purchases. In a demanding market big buyers wield strong power. Often smaller players may have a voice negotiating buying and selling prices if banded together in an association. As stand-alones they are voiceless.