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Solidarity Economy at the Rio+20 Summit
Submitted by emilykawano on Tue, 06/26/2012 - 1:41pm
Excerpt from People’s Summit Plays Countervailing Role at Rio+20
Articulating people’s alternatives: the social and solidarity economy
Among the many ideas for more sustainable development paths articulated at the People’s Summit is the growing movement for a “social and solidarity economy” built on the values of cooperation, complementarity, sharing, mutual support, human rights and democratic control over economic decisions and resources. Many summit workshops gave examples of the myriad initiatives taking place on the ground – notably in Brazil – to promote these new forms of economic relations that can meet social and environmental goals. These include the establishment of community banks that issue their own complementary currencies to support local entrepreneurial activities in a manner that ensures that the wealth generated in the community stays within the local territory, is equitably shared, and creates “multiplier effects” through faster circulation of money and reinvestments in job creating projects.
Proponents argue that the strategy for the poor and excluded is not to begin with political demands on the State (for e.g. basic public services such access to housing, water or sanitation), but to build up first their autonomous economic base, which then places them in a stronger position to make demands on the authorities. One Brazilian community leader stated that local community banks, besides issuing complementary currencies to fuel social, economic and environmental initiatives, can also serve as a strong basis for the development of new social movements at the territorial level.