The solidarity economy or social economy is an approach to the development of productive activities based on the common good. Likewise, it seeks equity and balance with the environment.
The solidarity economy follows principles such as autonomy, equality, corporate social responsibility , transparency and community life.
This type of approach is observed, for example, in cooperatives . These organizations offer each of its members the same powers and obligations.
Characteristics of the solidarity economy
Among the characteristics of the solidarity economy or social economy are:
- It has several definitions, but the majority converges on certain key aspects, such as the prioritization of collective well-being over the generation of wealth.
- It is an approach that opposes the capitalist economy, stating that it produces inequality and affects the environment.
- The solidarity economy does not imply or require the elimination of capitalism, but can be applied in certain areas, for example, within an institution that develops cultural activities in urban areas with high poverty rates.
- One of the principles is self-management, which means that the organization or company is managed by the producers themselves. This happens, for example, when many small agricultural entrepreneurs form an association. In this way, they seek to generate economies of scaleand negotiate with their customers by offering a greater sales volume.
- Another of the pillars is sustainability, so an organization based on the solidarity economy seeks to use production methods that affect the environment as little as possible. For example, change the use of plastic bags for those that are made of paper.
Solidarity Economy Companies
Social economy companies manage their business based on principles such as equity and social responsibility and with the ecosystem. That is, they do not point only to a lucrative end. They can be constituted in different types of entities such as the following:
- Cooperatives: Institutions that manage a jointly owned business. The idea is that all partners share the same rights and obligations, so that the vote of each shareholder has the same value. Another characteristic of cooperatives is that their government is horizontal, that is, all members are equal. There is no vertical deal between management or leadership and the rest of the entity.
- Employee funds:Associations formed by dependent workers of the same public or private company. They are constituted with the objective of offering services to their members, receiving savings and granting credits . Its surpluses are destined to social activities.
- Mutual:Nonprofit organizations. The partners make an economic contribution and as compensation they access preventive and training programs. Likewise, mutuals provide benefits, subsidies or pensions for those workers who suffer, for example, a work accident.
- Non-governmental organizations: Institutions that develop projects to generate positive changes in a society or ecosystem. Thus, goals are proposed such as lowering the rate of child malnutrition. They have no lucrative purposes.