The establishment of an autonomous and joint community inspired by the ‘Villages of Cooperation’ of Robert Owen was to become a model of a ‘new social order’ to be achieved by means of the systematic and disciplined observance of a series of practices, known as the ‘cooperative principles’. What happened after Rochdale, however, was the vertical development of separate cooperative branches (such as consumer, credit, marketing, production, insurance, transport, etc., to the exclusion – except in such cases as the Israeli kibbutz – of the multi-functional rural cooperative community) and the recognition of cooperatives as a special type of enterprise within a non-cooperative economic system. Despite Polanyi’s admiration for the spirit and motivations underlying the consumer cooperative movement as a praiseworthy creative effort after the moral debasement of the Speenhamland era and as ‘(…) the most eminently practical offshoot of Owenism’, he had to admit that such deeds remained peripheral, declaring that this proved ‘… the greatest single defeat of spiritual forces in the history of industrial England’ (Polanyi, 1957, p.169).