The solidarity economy is a global movement to build a post-capitalist world that puts people and planet front and centre, rather than the pursuit of blind growth and profit maximisation. It isn’t a blueprint but a framework that includes a broad range of economic practices that align with its values: solidarity, participatory democracy, equity in every dimension including race, class and gender, sustainability and pluralism, which means that it can’t be a one-size-fits all approach. Nevertheless, the notion of buen vivir, or living well and in harmony with nature and each other permeates everything the movement does.
Some of these practices are old and some are new; some are mainstream and others are ‘alternative’. Solidarity economy practices exist in every sector of the economy: production, distribution and exchange, consumption, finance and governance/state. People often think about cooperatives and credit unions which are collectively owned and managed by their members, but they are just one example. Others include community land trusts, participatory budgeting, social currencies, time banks, peer lending, barter systems, gift exchange, community gardens, ideas around ‘the commons,’ some kinds of fair trade and the sharing economy, and non-monetised care work.
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