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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/91

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THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT

volves an education of the rural population which is of high value. The officers of the various associations, who are leaders in the struggle for existence, are trained to a sense of responsibility, encouraged to ascertain the progress made by other nations in parallel situations, and inspired to devise new methods for their work in a manner quite foreign to the tradition-bound and almost stagnant condition of agriculture of former days.

The list of co-operative enterprises in Denmark does not end with those so far enumerated. During the last generation a number of co-operative supply societies were formed on the ordinary principle of cash payments for purchases and division of the profits among the subscribers. Contrary to its development in England, the movement has found favour chiefly in the rural districts, where an extraordinarily large number of co-operative stores are now flourishing, and where a considerable part of the population has fallen in with the movement. It has spread but slowly in the provincial towns, and not until very recently did it seem likely to reach the capital. The small rural co-operative societies have much the same character, many of them supplying their members with grain, fodder, manure and grass seed, besides the ordinary household commodities. Here, too, a need arose for united effort, and there was founded The Co-operative Wholesale Society of Denmark, which has gathered most of the local stores. It has acted not only as a commercial medium, but also through production (thus of tobacco, margarine and boots). To this is added a number of purchasing societies the object of which is to procure goods for the farmers, such as seed and manure; as the farmers, when purchasing these goods, were often defrauded.

The principle of co-operation is also taking root in many other fields. There are co-operative societies for the erection of dwelling-houses, for instance, and a co-operative bank was established in Aarhus, the charter-members of which are co-operative societies. Finally, the great connecting link between all Danish co-operative enterprises is the Co-opera-