Press release

New book: a short history of co-operation and mutuality

When was the first co-operative or mutual? The spread of customer owned co-operatives in nineteenth century Britain is well-known and celebrated. Yet there are also precursors of co-operation and mutuality before this in countries right across the world.

In his new book launched today (14 November), Ed Mayo brings together this rich story for the first time in A short history of co-operation and mutuality.

Covering everything from the Commons to lending circles to labourer societies, this is a fresh take on the origins of co-operation form a leading voice in the global co-operative movement.

“A very thoughtful, deeply researched and original history of cooperation and mutual aid.” Frank Trentmann, Professor of History


Preface         1844 – The birth of co-operation
Chapter 1      Co-operation and the human story
Chapter 2      An ancient way of getting things done
Chapter 3      Craft and co-operation in Europe
Chapter 4      Traditions of co-operation
Chapter 5      A friendly turn
Chapter 6      From friendship to resistance
Chapter 7      Freedom and repression
Chapter 8      Out of Rochdale
Chapter 9      After 1844: Plymouth and Finland
Chapter 10    Self-help and state sponsorship in the twentieth century
Chapter 11    The co-operative sector today
Chapter 12    Co-operation and mutuality over time: a conclusion 

Download the English version

Download the Spanish version

Take a look at the slide deck on the 12 early co-ops here