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The beginning of Mexico’s involvement with cooperative forms date from 1839 when a mutual savings bank was established in Orizaba. Artisan and consumer cooperatives appeared in the 1870s, and the First cooperative legislative provisions were included in the Commercial Code in 1889. The first agricultural cooperatives were formed in 1905. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 was followed by land reform programs that re-established and reinforced the traditional Indian ejidos and introduced collective cooperatives with a similar status. The constitution of 1917 gave official status to the cooperative movement, and 10 years later the first national confederation of cooperatives came into being. The period of the Cardenas presidency (1934—40) was a cooperative-friendly period and saw a rapid growth of collective cooperatives that were given legal status as ejidos. A national bank for ejidal support was established and a new cooperative law enacted. Early in the 1940s a cooperative development bank was organized and the national confederation of cooperatives reconstituted. A confederation of people’s banks was formed in 1964, reflecting the growth of the savings and credit cooperatives. Viewed apart from the ejidos, which are not regarded by everyone as cooperatives, the movement has had only modest growth and has not yet become an important force in the Mexican economy. In 1988 the “traditional” (non-ejido) cooperatives numbered 8,224 with 633,105 members (0.75% of the population). Cooperatives are active in the following sectors: agriculture, consumer, fisheries. Housing, savings and credit, transport, and worker productive and service enterprises. Current data on school cooperatives, thought to be widespread, was not available. The most recent statistical data on ejidos, an FAO report in 1980, estimated that there were then 24,000 of them with 2,600,000 members. Were these numbers to be included in cooperative statistics, this would in crease to 3.1 the percentage of cooperative penetration in the Mexican population.

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

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