The solidarity economy is a growing international movement dedicated to creation of new economic structures and organisations based on principles of cooperation, solidarity, social responsibility and mutual aid. It lacks any coherent programme or standard definition, and varies widely in nature from place to place around the world. It strongly overlaps with interests and action in areas of business, economics and livelihood in community-led movements such as permaculture, Transition and ecovillages.
Social and Solidarity Economy
According to a thinkpiece for UNRISD (the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) by Emily Kowana, the solidarity economy overlaps with the more radical end of the social economy. Part of the social economy fulfils a stabilising role for capitalism by delivering vital functions in care and social provision not catered for by profit-led enterprise, thus reducing exclusion and minimising possibilities for social unrest. The other seeks fundamental reform of the economic system in order to prioritise social over fiscal goals and environmental and social ethics over market logic, in line with the more transformative agenda underlying solidarity economics. The term 'Social and Solidarity Economy' encompasses this area of overlap, and refers to the combination of the solidarity economy and that part of the social economy that seeks to be transformative rather than conservative of the existing economic system.
The Réseau intercontinental de promotion de l’économie sociale solidaire (RIPESS) promotes, undertakes and coordinates action, advocacy and scholarship in support of the social and solidarity economy. The RIPESS charter states a number of key values: humanism; solidarity, mutualism, cooperation and reciprocity; social, political and economic democracy; universal equity and justice for all, including in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, class, age and sexuality; sustainable development; pluralism, inclusivity, diversity and creativity; and localism or subsidiarity, meaning decision-making and management on as local a level as makes sense.
- Kawano, E., 2013. Social Solidarity Economy: Toward Convergence across Continental Divides. UNRISD thinkpiece.
- RIPESS, 2015. Global Vision for a Social Solidarity Economy: Convergences and Differences in Concepts, Definitions and Frameworks. RIPESS working paper.