Italian Center for Documentation on Cooperation and Social Economy | Virtual museum - Taiwan

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Two strains of cooperative development experience are reflected in Taiwanese history. The first reflects the period of Japanese control of the island from 1895 to the end of World War II; the second, that of the Nationalist Chinese who moved to the island when a communist government was established on the mainland in 1949. During the Japanese period, modest development of cooperatives took place, with the first society started in 1912. A cooperative law was enacted in 1913, another in 1934. There was a measure of development of agricultural cooperatives, enough to warrant the establishment of the Taiwan Provincial Farmers’ Association in 1937. During the war years no significant development occurred. With the establishment in Taiwan of the Republic of China, a cooperative system based on a mainland experience dating from the 1920s was introduced (see CHINA). In 1949 the Cooperative League of the Republic of China was reestablished, followed by consumer cooperatives designed to assist government officials, teachers and students. Collective farming, primarily involving war veterans and their families, was introduce to accelerate agricultural development. Cooperative training was formalized in 1953 with the opening of a Cooperative Correspondence School and a Department of Cooperatives at the Chung-hsing University. A new cooperative law followed in 1957 and gave additional impetus, principally to agricultural and consumer cooperative development. The Credit Union League of China was established in 1968, representing the development of that fledgling sector as a supplement to an already existing credit cooperative network based un a Schulze-Delitzsch model. A report in the 1970 edition or the ILO’s Cooperative Information indicated that there were then 2,701 cooperatives of many types (including 59 federations) with a combined membership of 1,493,521. By 1984, the ILO Directory (1988) reported, there had been an increase to 4,375 cooperatives with a membership of 2,710,198 (13.9% of the population) in the following sectors: agriculture—407 societies/with 297,010 members; consumer— 3,355/1,662,569; savings and credit—335/711,105; worker productive—51/7,216; and others—227/32,298.

Jack Shaffer, Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Lanham, Md., & London 1999

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