Solidarity Economy

The Solidarity Economy

The Solidarity Economy is based on the concept that all economic development should take the needs of the entire community into account, allow democratic participation by all affected community members and use technology to promote harmony between humans and the environment. Individuals work in an organized, communal manner towards improving the lives of the group, seeking unity and promoting democracy in the producing process. The system promotes the exchange of goods and services so as to favor both the producers and consumers. IDEX’s partner DESMI is guided by the ideology of Solidarity Economy, which it has used over the decades to create equitable and sustainable development solutions. DESMI sees their model not as something specific only to their region, but a practice that could be useful for marginalized communities worldwide. Here are the principles of the Solidarity Economy as well as the comparisons with the current neoliberal capitalist system from Jorge Santiago, Director of DESMI.

The principles of the Solidarity Economy

Members of Ñepi Behña (Women of Dignity) in Hidalgo, Mexico demonstrate the spinning of plant fibers from the agave plant. The cooperative sells this internationally.

  1. The search for the integral development of the human being.
  2. Mutual support and help.
  3. The search for the development of society
  4. Construction of a social enterprise though local development.
  5. Technology and financing for human development.
  6. Respect for nature and human beings.
  7. Development of the individual and his/her community.
  8. Right to work, education, health, rest and a dignified life.
  9. Importance of cultural values as a people.
  10. Construction of democracy.

A comparison between the Neoliberal Economy and the Solidarity Economy

1. The role of labor a) Produce goods for sale
b) Provide services
a) Satisfy needs
b) Realize your potential
2. Organization of labor Hierarchical owners are bosses a) Democratic
b) Support for the group
c) Group decision-making
d) As culture
3. Technology Substitution of human labor An instrument for labor
4. Land a) Merchandise
b) Individual property
c) Business
a) Sustenance
b) Collective property or individual property under collective use.
5. Production For the market a) For yourself/your family
b) To exchange
c) For the market
6. Product pricing Depends on supply and demand Depends on the work and its relationship to other products
7. The market. Controlled by global big business and banks Controlled by producers and consumers, according to their real needs
8. Money Commodity, power A means of exchange
9. Relationships Transactional interactions Ongoing cooperation and building power
10. Space Competition Free

Our partner AFEDES in Guatemala provided the following description of the Solidarity Economy:

Solidarity Economy aims to construct a new world, starting on the basis that there is a current breaking of social and economic relationships as well as relationships of power, imposed by the current system. Solidarity economy responds to systemic structures that causes poverty and hunger in the communities. With a solidarity economy lens, we re-value the human being as the actor with the capacity to decide what constitutes an adequate life for him/herself. It proposes that our surroundings will provide us with provisions and resources needed to be able to have a productive system that satisfies our basic needs and creates “el buen vivir” (well-being). It sustains the duty of having life values and principles in each community (indigenous or not), and proposes that what needs to prevail is cooperation, community and culture as pillars for developing the ideal economic system establishing lifestyles living in harmony with nature, where the human being is part of Nature.

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