This article was translated by John R. Bopp

The South African Business Daily has just published an article by Toby Chance, a member of the Democratic Alliance (the main opposition party in South Africa) and a shadow minister for the Ministry of Small Business Development.

In it, he recounts his experiences and perceptions from a trip the South African parliamentary committee for small businesses made to the Basque Country, to learn about the experiences of the Mondragón Corporation.

It’s interesting to see how the Basque cooperative model is unmatched in the world for the at least the degree, level, and complexity it’s reached here.

It’s clear to see that the author came back delighted by what he saw in our country, and in several paragraphs gives some keys to understanding the reason for this success.  And it’s strange that, at least for us, the most fundamental key to this success is cultural.

Among the characteristics he highlights is that if the independent workings of the coop system.  As he explains, the government plays only a supporting role, not one of leadership or of financing.  He also highlights the group’s basic goal: the essence of Mondragón is not poverty relief, but rather the creation and distribution of wealth in a fairer and more balanced way.  He explains to his readers how this is possible thanks to the highly egalitarian culture, which is hard to replicate in other places.

Finally, we’d like to focus on his descriptions of our country’s ability to get out of a tough crisis that seemed like it was taking us to ruin, and the ability of Basque society, companies, and government to find the right way out, thereby turning us into role models.

If there’s one thing that struck us negatively, it’s the headline.  With all due respect, the model is Basque, not Spanish.  As the text itself explains, the model is based on a “highly egalitarian culture, which is hard to replicate outside its home”, which is The Land of the Basques.

Business Day – 18/10/2018 – South Africa

A Spanish model for successful co-ops that SA can learn from

Parliament’s portfolio committee on small business development recently returned from a five-day study tour to the Basque region of Spain, as well as Madrid. Our purpose was to visit the Mondragón Corporation, Spain’s leading exponent of co-operatives as an organising principle of business; learn from its successes and failures; and understand the role government plays in the co-operatives sector.

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