Mutual Organizations, Mutual Societies

Edith Jeanne Archambault, December 2009

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Summary :

This article is an entry to be published in an International Encyclopedia of Civil Society in 2009. Mutual organizations exist everywhere in developed and developing countreies as well. After a definition founded on social economy principles, the paper gives the historical background of mutual insurance companies, mutual benefit societies and building societies. Then we draw a panorama of the European mutual societies with international perspectives on the USA and some developing countries. Some key issues facing mutual organizations are evoked: the competition with investor driven businesses, the trend of demutualization in Anglo-saxon countries and the new role of mutual benefit societies in changing welfare states. In conclusion we argue on the European Commission ambiguous guidelines while mutual societies are prototypes of social enterprises fitted with post-industrial societies.

Sources :

halshs-00267566, version 1 - 27 Mar 2008