VALENCIA. This Tuesday continues the prestigious 33rd International Ciriec Congress on Public, Social and Cooperative Economy, whose inaugural lecture was delivered by the Nobel Prize winner in Economics Paul Krugman….and if we talk about cooperativism in a Valencian key, in the imaginary they stand out without a doubt, Consume Y Anecoop. And that’s why they join us Javier Quiles BodiDirector of External Relations of Consum and Joan Mir PiquerasCEO of Anecoop.
The cooperative business model is versatile and flexible and the truth is that, in general, cooperatives constantly innovate in their sectors of activity and in their typologies. That model that stands as the counterpoint to that of the absolute freedom of the markets, or at least, that is what the president of CIRIEC-International, Alain Arnaud, said on Monday, pointing to that absolute freedom as being responsible for the current “traumatic” moment. Mir and Quiles don’t see it that way at all. “I doubt that freedom a lot, when I talk to my team and do a serious analysis, How far does market freedom go?– says the director of Anecoop- talking about free markets with these multinational companies is not clearin the end it is a matter of how you want to define it – Quiles maintains – because we are, just, a little point in this world”.
In any case, inevitable comparisons are established with both models, which goes far beyond simple analysis. “We are not talking about the cooperative market with respect to the commercial market, but about the market and globalization; the reflection is, Is the economy globalized or is the market globalized? Because, you can sell your products to the whole world but what are the economic conditions of that sale, the labor conditions, is there child exploitation?, Is it paid what it touches?, in Spain, it happens, and in EU countries we have that handicap, that other third parties do not have and they can bring their products here,” Quiles claims, an issue on which Mir agrees, who has experienced and is experiencing this problem in his sector with the export of citrus fruits from third countries such as South Africa or Egypt, “I have seen large companies from other countries exploit there and they don’t play by the same rules.”
There are more than 2,600 active business entities under the cooperative form in the Valencian Community, but nevertheless they believe they are poorly represented institutionally. “Not only is the cooperative sector not well represented, but it is neglectedand I don’t want to say that the public sector does it knowingly but out of simple ignorance”, explains the head of Consum.
In this sense, cooperatives, obviously, must be competitive but for this, they understand that taxation must be adapted. “No cooperative, from the year 2022, and that is specially protected, that bills from 20 million euros, has any bonus in quota, because the 50% bonus has eaten everything, however in a commercial company, yes, in R&D&I, or that have disabled personnel. Did the legislator want it? I am convinced that it is not, but that error must be corrected, but that happens precisely because we are not taken into account in the social dialogue, they talk about companies and workers and what are we?”, says Quiles.
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Quiles (Consum): “The public sector ignores cooperatives due to simple ignorance”