top of page
Search

KIBBUTZ, COOPERATIVE, AND SOVIET KOLKHOZ: WHICH MODEL OUTPERFORMS IN CREATING PROSPERITY?


  

"The kibbutz model & principles are a gift we must treasure."

 


During the IBMA 2024 conference, there was a session where I presented the Kibbutz model and concept for developing countries.


I did it because it gave me a unique opportunity to present it to tens of African students, professors, business people, and government officials.


If this Model is to be applied in Africa, I must begin by hearing as many opinions and genuine feedback as possible.


There is nowhere better than presenting it before those who know the "on-the-ground reality" and have nothing to gain or lose by expressing their profound thoughts.


Above all, I wanted to understand the fears they may have from an unknown rural community model.


To my great surprise, the Kibbutz concept generated a lot of enthusiasm and openness to hearing, investigating, and even accepting such a novel model that may offer a path out of smallholders’ poverty.


The following is my perspective on remarks, questions, and statements about implementing the Kibbutz concept in developing economies.


It will be great to get your insights and comments on the following.

 

 

THE KIBBUTZ IS A FAILURE!?


When I share my thoughts about the modified Kibbutz concept for rural communities in developing countries with Israelis, they often tell me, “But the Kibbutz is a failure; look how much they have changed from what they were. Are they even a “Kibbutz” anymore?


As a person who grew up in “a real Kibbutz," I believe people often confuse what they view in their "romantic" mind as a Kibbutz with what it is all about.

 

THE TRIGGER OF THE KIBBUTZ MODEL

Sure, a Kibbutz model 2024 (and many such models) differs from Kibbutz models 1910, 1950, 1980, etc.


The ability to change and adapt to evolving conditions signifies a flexible, vibrant community.


Isn’t it a prerequisite for any community model we wish to apply?


To my Israeli friends, allow me to state that a Kibbutz was never measured or considered “a Kibbutz” based on having shared accommodation for children and a shared dining room. 


The Kibbutz concept was triggered and born by Jewish farmers, subjects of the Ottoman Empire, who lived in villages and suffered poverty.


Despite receiving plenty of support with technologies, experts (knowledge), infrastructure, finance, and training, they suffered poverty.

 

PRINCIPLES AND GOALS

The Kibbutz principle pillars were self-management, cooperation, and equality.


Remember, the Kibbutz is designed to overcome economic and practical challenges pre-Israeli farmers faced 114 years ago.


Therefore, Kibbutz is a business and a lifestyle.


How many businesses do you know that have survived over 100 years?


Each Kibbutz is a business platform with many separate and different “business units” called branches.


Like any business, the Kibbutz platform and its "business units" make mistakes. Do you know of companies that do not make mistakes?


However catastrophic those mistakes were, all Kibbutz communities stand firm, and none of their members live in poverty.

 

NOT LIMITED TO AGRICULTURE

Another point many Israelis fail to see is the association of the Kibbutz with agriculture, as if there couldn't be a Kibbutz without agriculture.


When I was born, the Kibbutz's primary income source was agriculture; nowadays, less than 20% of Kibbutz members are involved in agriculture.


Furthermore, some Kibbutzim have zero agriculture. For example, one of my brothers lives on a Kibbutz with no land or agriculture, as it is located in a city! Yet, it is a Kibbutz and a prosperous one too.

 

RESILIENCY AND FLEXIBILITY

Let’s ask ourselves again, “Is the Kibbutz a success?”


The Kibbutz lifestyle concept survived the Ottoman and British empires and numerous Israeli governments, including those hostile to its existence and values.


Most Kibbutz communities were established in unfavorable environments, such as along borders, deserts, and malaria-infested areas, yet survived and thrived.


In the early days, most Kibbutz members, like my mother, had little agricultural knowledge and experience before establishing the Kibbutz.


Many Kibbutzim (like my Kibbutz) were established by Holocaust survivors who spent their high school period escaping the Nazis, had no family to support them financially, and Hebrew, the language spoken in Israel, was not their mother tang.


Technologies and agro knowledge developed extensively in the past 100 years, but the Kibbutz reached its peak success and national impact far before the “age of technologies”.


Flexibility is good and required for survival and continued prosperity, and the Kibbutz concept proved to have it.

 

A CLEAR TURNING POINT

Before the Kibbutz, from 1850 to 1910, the pre-Israeli farmers lived in poverty.


The agro sector was impoverished, with very little and slow economic development. At that time, Israeli agriculture was not a global pride or any better than farming in nearby geographic territories.


However, starting from 1910, after the establishment of the first Kibbutz, i.e., Dgania, hundreds of new rural communities, all in its image and based on the same principles, popped up everywhere.


From 1910 until today, not one family or individual has suffered poverty or hunger in Kibbutz communities.


The Kibbutz members and their children can access all universities, professions, job levels, and leadership opportunities in Israel.


Thanks to the Kibbutz movement, Israeli agriculture is considered a global leader, and its advancement and productivity need no PR.


Ultimately, the goal is not the business or community/social model but having a model that elevates people from poverty and helps them achieve their full potential.


Oh, and although the Kibbutz population is only 2% of that of Israel’s 10 million population, and less than 20% of its population works in agriculture, the Kibbutz movement is responsible for the production of 40% of Israel's agro production (Israel suffers no shortage of food), and 10% of Israel's industrial exports (excluding diamonds and high-tech).


As if more is needed, many Kibbutz members find their livelihoods outside the Kibbutz in tourism, governmental, and business-oriented organizations.   


When we compare Israeli rural communities to those in other countries and remember that the Kibbutz concept emerged 114 years ago out of an ecosystem less developed than most developing countries today (i.e., the Ottoman Empire), we can confidently say that the kibbutz model can successfully bring prosperity to its members, even under the harsher environment.

 

Would you invest in a community model that shifts 100% of its impoverished members to become part of the middle class?

 

 

IS THE KIBBUTZ A COOPERATIVE?


A cooperative (also known as cooperative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise". Cooperatives are democratically controlled by their members, with each member having one vote in electing the board of directors (Wikipedia).

In his email to me (below), Desire says that cooperatives have ”changed the life of members”, yet "the effect of it on the transformation of the country is not huge", i.e., it is small.


Many people confuse cooperatives with Kibbutz because, in both cases, we have a democratic, voluntary association that aims at improving its members' economic state.

  



 

The connection between a Cooperative and a Kibbutz is akin to comparing a Morse code machine to an iPhone 15; the latter is a descendant of the former, and their performance is so remote that comparing does injustice to the former. 


In a previous column, “The Impoverished Rural Community That Changed Its Nation's History”, I named efforts practiced by Zionists in “The Promised Land” from 1850 to 1910 to shift farmers from poverty to prosperity.


Those efforts included access to improved technologies, varieties, knowledge, visits of experts, direct support with finance, infrastructure, professional management, and training farms.


Oh, and it also included the establishment of cooperatives. Like today, so it was then; cooperatives improved things but were not game-changers.




Membership in a Kolkhoz is compulsory and, therefore, does not appear in the illustration.

 


The Kibbutz models, particularly those practiced from 1910 to 1980, were far more collaborative and integrated into the community lives than any past or present Cooperative.


Remember, the poorer the farmers, the more and faster a collaboration-based community will support their transformation from poverty to prosperity.

 

 

SHOULD WE COPY THE KIBBUTZ MODEL AS IS?

 

I am often asked, “Is establishing a similar Kibbutz model in Africa possible?


Firstly, we must realize that there is not one Kibbutz model, but several models share the same principles and operating systems.


Second, the "Kibbutz Package" content is not the same as it was 100 or 50 years ago; it is continuously adjusted to the changing environment, needs, and limitations.

Africa, or any developing country, does not and must not establish a Kibbutz model similar to that in Israel.


However, it should borrow its principles and adjust the rest, including the localization of the Model's “operation system,” into a novel African-dedicated "Kibbutz Package."


That is why I am sharing only a few details about the mechanism of daily activities on the Kibbutz and will focus mainly on its universal principles. Like physics laws, they are timeless and borderless.

 

 

AREN’T KIBBUTZ AND KOLKHOZ THE SAME?

 

KOLKHOZ

A kolkhoz was a form of collective farm in the Soviet Union. Kolkhozes existed along with state farms or sovkhoz.


These were the two components of the socialized farm sector that began to emerge in Soviet agriculture after the October Revolution of 1917, as an antithesis to the feudal structure of impoverished serfdom and aristocratic landlords and to individual or family farming.” Wikipedia.


The Kolkhoz model, legally organized as a production cooperative, appeared in the 1920s (i.e., more than a decade after the Kibbutz model had already operated in Israel) and was violently imposed on farmers by the central government.


Members of kolkhozes had the right to hold a small area (usually about 1 acre) of private land and some animals.


Kolkhoz members had to work a minimum number of labor days per year on the Kolkhoz and other government-dictated projects.


The government often imposed an order, which created local poverty and even hunger.


If Kolkhoz members did not complete the required minimum, the penalties could involve confiscating the farmer's private plot and a trial in front of a People's Court, which could result in three to eight months of hard labor on the Kolkhoz or up to one year in a corrective labor camp.


In the Kolkhoz, like in a cooperative, not the community but the family is the building block of the business!


Most Kolkhoz members didn't share core values with the Soviet Party leadership, and although they were called "Cooperatives," in practice, they were not, so they didn't enjoy self-management or equality. 

 

KIBBUTZ

Many things distinguished the Kibbutz from the Kolkhoz model; among those are:


·       In the Kibbutz, the community owns the means of production, including the land.

·       Members share core values.

·       Members have self-management.

·       Members enjoy and practice total equality.

·       Members are not forced into collaboration, cooperation, and integration.

·       There are no penalties against members who work less or don't work at all.

·       Families are not the building stones of the Kibbutz business but its shareholders, workers, and managers.

·       The Kibbutz is run like a single business platform that generates numerous “business units”; each may have a different business model.

 

 

HISTORICAL LESSON

 

Human history teaches us that those who survive and thrive create added value and know how to trade it with others.


We create added value by taking the WE-WE-WE attitude, which emphasizes thinking of the needs of others, as entrepreneurs often do.


The thinking of others is the attitude that supports individual and community growth while producing immense added value.


In its best years, the Israeli Kibbutz was focused on implementing a national vision, and the "side effect" that the universe rewarded it was economic prosperity and plentiful.


No Kibbutz works to feed itself but to achieve the best business results. Yet, thanks to being a successful business platform, Kibbutz members don't go to sleep hungry.


The opposite happens when we focus on ourselves, as babies do; we create little or no added value for others, our self-growth is meager, and eventually, we not only can't help others, but we can't even support ourselves.


If Africa wishes to become a significant global player, it must consider and help others achieve their needs.


For example, when Africa seriously considers feeding the world, there will be no more hungry people in Africa. When one African country helps the others rebuild their agro sector, their own agro-industry will thrive.


My friend, you know what I say, “Go Global Or Die Local”.


"Global" means going outside your family, community, nation, and even continent. The more global you go, the better you will do.

Go Global Or Die Local".

 

 

OPEN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

 

Feel free to reach out if you're interested in:


* Exporting fresh fruits from Africa to the EU under the Dream Valley regenerative protocol brand for the 2024 season.


* Joining the Nova-Kibbutz concept project to establish it in your region.

Kindly provide your background and credentials to receive tailored next-step instructions.

 

=========================

 

Here are four ways you can work with me to help your rural communities step forward to shift from poverty into ongoing prosperity:

* Consultancy on rural communities' models: Why, What, and How, e.g., based on the Kibbutz and Moshav lifestyle models.

 

* Local & National programs related to agro-produce export models - Dream Valley global vertical value and supply chain business model and concept connects (a) input suppliers with farmers in developing economies and (b) those farmers with consumers in premium markets.

 

* Crop protection: Biofeed, an eco-friendly zero-spray control technology and protocol solution, is most suitable for developing countries.

 

* IBMA Conference - To learn, share, and practice novel business models: the IBMA 2025 conference theme is “Reshaping Agribusiness Models for Building Prosperous Rural Communities." Register now or contact me.

 

 

 

TAKEAWAY MESSAGES


Ø  Some of the reasons the KOLKHOZ model failed include its being imposed on farmers, managed by “outsiders”, and misaligned values between its stakeholders.

Ø  The COOPERATIVE is a more effective model than the village and far less than the Kibbutz.

Ø  KIBBUTZ principles offer a blueprint for prosperity, adaptability to evolving conditions, and yielding enduring success.

 

=========================

 

More on the October 7th genocide in South Israel:

 

=========================

 

If you got to here, read this column, and enjoyed it, please be nice to your friends, share it with them, or help them Subscribe.

"Mental and Economic Freedom Are Interconnected."

 

See you soon,

Nimrod



 





Dr. Nimrod Israely is the CEO and Founder of Dream Valley and Biofeed companies and the Chairman and Co-founder of the IBMA conference. +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or email nisraely@biofeed.co.il

 

 

P.S.

If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, “Early Insights and Thoughts About The IBMA”.

 

P.P.S.

OPEN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES:

1)     Exporting fresh fruits from Africa to the EU under the Dream Valley regenerative protocol brand for the 2024 season.

2)     Joining the Nova-Kibbutz concept project or establishing a similar initiative in your region.

Kindly provide your background and credentials to receive tailored next-step instructions.

 

P.P.P.S.

Dream Valley is a field-proven disruptive business model based on the successful Israeli Model.

 

You can follow me on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook. 

*This article addresses general phenomena. The mention of a country/continent is used for illustration purposes only.

6 views0 comments

댓글


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page