This case investigated the evolution of cooperatives in Brazil, in comparison with the world’s largest ones. Early cooperative activity took place at Rochdale-Manchester (UK) in 1844. Facing difficulties to buy goods on local markets, a group of 28 workers (27 men and one woman) devised an ingenious solution to this particular puzzle: to buy food in large quantities, to get better prices, storing goods in a common warehouse. The total amount gathered was then divided equally between them. Eight years later, 3,450 members were registered at the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, still active, with approximately 140,000 members. The idea of sharing cooperative efforts world spread. In Brazil, the first one came with the Republic proclamation: in 1889, at Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil, the Cooperativa Econômica dos Funcionários Públicos de Ouro Preto was founded to foster the consumption of agricultural products. Brazilian Federal Government regulated Cooperatives through the adoption of Law no 5,764, on December 16, 1971. In this article we compared the current facts and figures between the World Co-operative Monitor and the Brazilian cooperatives, highlighting the increased participation of cooperatives in Brazilian economy, discussed in this single case study. Finally, recommendations for future research complete the present work.
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