Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen
He had a vision to help people 200 years ago – and created a worldwide used economical system. His name: Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen.
The 45-minute documentary describes how Raiffeisen provided a vision for people in rural areas of Germany, developing a particular form of rural co-operatives that still functions today. The story is narrated from the perspective of Raiffeisen’s eldest daughter, Amalie, who devoted her life to supporting her father’s work, having to renounce her own marriage and children to do so.
The documentary shows Raiffeisen as a father and mayor, as well as the founder of a movement. It includes comments from historians and people active in the co-operative or banking sector. Biographer Michael Klein, of the University of Heidelberg, explains how 1846-1847 marked a big famine in Europe, which led Raiffeisen to set up a bread society as a co-operative association.
The system was dominated by loan sharks who were loaning at interest rates of up to 80%. To address the problem, Raiffeisen created credit co-operatives for the farmers. Later on he published a book containing the premises for an agricultural co-operative bank. The model influenced the creation of similar co-operative banks in the Netherlands and Germany. It is worldwide known and used today.