CO-OPERATION (ante), as a system of united effort for commercial or indus trial purposes, has been introduced and is spreading among the working classes of this country.
1. They co-operate in providing homes for themselves. Building-loan associations have existed in Philadelphia about 20 years. The members subscribe for a given num ber of shares and pay one dollar on each share every month for a term of years, until the sums paid and the interest on them amount to $200—the full value of the shares. This usually requires about 10 years. The money thus provided is loaned to the high est bidder. Each shareholder who builds or buys a house can, in order to help pay for it, borrow a part of the accumulated fund equal to the full value of his shares, paying the stipulated interest on it monthly, and giving, as security, a mortgage on the house. When his shares attain their full value, he has enough to pay the principal of the debt and cancel the mortgage. There are in Philadelphia more than 500 of these associa tions, with an of 100 millions of dollars. They have given homes to 60,000 workingmen, and now hold 80,000 mortgages, which are being paid off by monthly installments. Similar associations have been formed in Boston, where they are growing rapidly in usefulness, popularity, and strength, and in nine other cities of Massachusetts. They are flourishing also in various other parts of the United States. Their advocates claim for them many decided advantages. (1) They enable workingmen to have the• benefit of their earnings in advance, by building houses and paying for them in monthly installments, (2) The monthly payments on mortgages are more easily met. (3) They instruct the industrial classes in the management of property. (4) They yield a larger interest than could otherwise be profitably paid. (5) They do not require payment of the principal until the shares are complete.
2. A co-operative store was started in BOston, April, 1879. Fifteen hundred.sliares
were subscribed for at $4 each. The inducements offered by the system and the advan-• tages resulting from it, are: goods of the best quality only are sold, and at market prices;; full weight and measure are guaranteed; civility from store-keepers and salesmen is assured; no losses from bad debts are incurred; and an equitable share of the profits- is enjoyed by all who have any pecuniary interest in the store. The by-laws provide that a quarterly adjustment of interest and profits shall be made, when, if the profits are suf ficient, all the shares shall be credited with interest at the rate of 6 per cent. After that has been done, if there have been a net profit the contingent fund it to be credited with the percentage required by law, and the balance distributed among the purchasers. Every one making a purchase, however small, receives a check showing the amount, a duplicate of which is kept by the store. At the end of the quarter he receives a divi dend of the profits in cash in proportion to the aggregate amount of his the rate to those who do not own shares being half that of those who do. At the end of the first quarter, the profits were sufficient to pay 6 per cent on the stock, 4 per cent on all' purchases made by shareholders, and 2 per cent to other buyers. At the end of the second quarter, the dividend was 6 per cent ou stock and 6 on purchases. The num ber of shareholders is now 650. The capital is limited to $100,000. To enable the poorest to become stockholders, any person by paying fifty cents can have his dividendS on purchases placed to his credit, and when they amount to $4, a share will be issued to him. New shares also can be obtained by allowing dividends to remain.. These.
associations are specially adapted to large manufacturing districts, and the interest in them among workingmen and philanthropists is spreading widely.