The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Traditional businesses are better than cooperatives

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 605 times Debate No: 97356
Debate Rounds (3)
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I am redoing this debate and others since several of them never were voted on, and I believe one reason for this was because of the Vote Comment requirement. I am disabling that for this debate and all further debates since I hate the moderators on here.

Now, let's begin the debate with definitions of terms:
Cooperative: " an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled business." [1]

Traditional business: a business that is privately owned by a single individual or a few individuals. They typically have a board of directors and stock-holders.

The first indicator that cooperatives are better than traditional business models, is that 80% of cooperatives survive the hard first five years of being in business, compared to just 41% of traditional businesses[2]

In addition, cooperatives allow for workers to be paid more, since cooperatives do not have one person at the top piggybacking off of the work of the workers and taking a share of the profits. Those profits, instead, are divided up between the workers.

While cooperatives are in the minority and are not out-competing traditional businesses, this is primarily because most of the world lives in a market or capitalist economy. To begin with, the traditional businesses have an advantage because banks are more willing to lend to traditional businesses since we live in a capitalist economy, and it's tougher to get like-minded people together to contribute money to start a cooperative. [3] If there was a level-playing field for cooperatives and traditional businesses, I'm sure cooperatives would take over since most people would prefer to work under a cooperative, where they have more autonomy and more profits going to them, than under a traditional business model.

In a comparative study performed by Gabriel Burd"n and Andr"s Dean, where they looked into how cooperatives performed in the Uruguayan economic crisis between 1999-2001, it was found that Workers cooperatives employment index rose, while their capitalist counterparts fell in employment. [4, pg. 520] In addition to this, average wage remained higher in worker cooperatives than in capitalist businesses. [4, pg. 523]

Next, I will point out that it is possible for worker cooperatives to be extremely successful and that they can turn over profit at a rate as good, or even often better than traditional businesses. Mondragon Corporation is the largest cooperative in the world and "is the tenth-largest Spanish company in terms of asset turnover and the leading business group in the Basque Country." [5] Therefore cooperatives can do just as well as traditional business models or even better.



Disclaimer; I'm not too old or educated so forgive me, I've currently pass 7th grade so sorry if this isn't the best! I really only learned of this topic very recently so I may not fully grasp the concept. Also sorry if my sources aren't to great, just doing this to practice.

Although cooperatives have consumer benefits, the disadvantages weight out in various ways. Cooperatives are most commonly established to offer a service to members instead of a return on investment thus it could be troublesome and challenging to bring in potential members looking for financial benefit. Because the challenge is greater to find members than in a traditional business, that could cause difficulty to uphold the business and possibly threaten its stability in multiple perspectives. [1]

With traditional businesses, the operators can make more money and profit off the business. The business can make more money than it spends which in many ways has immense benefits. That can allow for more opportunities than a cooperative.[2]

I honestly give up at this point ^ I cant exactly withdraw but its 1 am and Im not sure why Im here even Im failing a core class so I should probably be working on that... anyhow whoever is reading this and voting vote for the other person, but aye at least I know about the businesses I honestly had no idea what they were before this so

Debate Round No. 1


I agree that cooperatives are not good for investment returns. I mean, the basic structure of them means the only stock holders are the workers themselves, as they own the business. So, it's true that not a single individual will make a lot of money, however, cooperatives make it so that each of the workers will typically earn more than workers of a traditional business(since the profit the business owner(s) in a traditional business makes would be split among the workers). No single worker will make more than a person at the top would, but I consider it unnecessary for a person to be at the top of a business when cooperatives have proved they are not necessary. Really, all they're there for is to take a percentage of the companies profits and make the workers be paid less. The workers themselves can do all the decision making of a business, and they have proved to be better in some instances than traditional businesses, as outlined above in my previous round of argument.

If my opponent is still willing to debate, I would ask them to elaborate on these "immense benefits" they talked about when the operator of a business in a traditional business makes more money. You sort of talked in a generality there and didn't offer any specifics.

I suppose I'll leave this round at this, since there is not much to rebut in pro's argument, as most of it was generality and not a specific case.


Im just winging this off of fun facts I found on the internet but from what I can understand, it takes a longer amount of time for changes to be made for cooperatives. Its less stable because there is no distinct leader and its hard for the business to change and adapt when the market changes and adapts.
Debate Round No. 2


I think it would take longer for traditional businesses to adapt to market change actually. In traditional businesses, the guy at the top making decisions is not involved or minimally involved in the operation of the company, so they wouldn't necessarily see the need to change at first, whereas workers would see the effects of a change in the market more directly. Maybe this balances out the fact that cooperatives have to vote on everything whereas a traditional business doesn't necessarily, so perhaps both are about as good as the other in terms of reactionary time for market changes.
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Debate Round No. 3
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