It might be confusing that sometimes we talk about Social Economy, sometimes about Solidarity Economy and sometimes about Social Solidarity Economy. Why is that? Sounds quite similar, doesn’t it? Are they all the same thing with different names depending on the heritage of some countries, or the result of various semantic approaches? For sure, there are many common points and values in those three concepts. Together they share the view that the pure essence of economy is not profit above everything else, and that the economy is not an iso-lated entity from the natural world or from the social dimension, that the value of economy should stay in the hands of those who created or produced that value as much as possible. We can think what social is and what solidarity is within an integrated term – Social Solidarity Economy. We can look at it as we are seeing twins – separate, but very connected and from the same origin. However, as very often, the devil is in the details.
We in the BUSSE project obviously put high emphasis on the solidarity part of our twins. We are standing by the position that in the 21st century we can’t be satisfied with making the economy just a little bit better no matter the tools. Whether it is the green economy, corporate social responsibility or something else with pretty much the same short and shallow shiny touch. The problems of our civilization that we have continuously piled up for many decades and even centuries, calling us for something more than 10 easy and tiny steps for saving the planet or humans. The situation with economic inequality and injustice, environmental degradation, resource wars and climate change, poor democracy and manipulation in political busi-ness, the deterioration of human rights and tolerance, are so serious that it is not enough to be greener, more energy efficient, buy more eco-products and so on. It urges us, it calls us, it screams for substantial transformation. Here we promote and nourish, advocate and practice all those transformative collective actions or public policies work.
We are finishing this Booklet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis which, as a consequence of our brutal invasion of Nature, reminds us also so brutally of the urgent needs for these transformative actions and policies for a more sustainable, just and solidarity-based world. It also makes us aware of the need for transformation in crucial areas of our society. Transformation with solidarity at its core.
You can also see that the Booklet has devoted a lot of space to concrete examples, real life stories, inspiring case studies. That is our message. SSE is not just a theory or wishful thinking. SSE is a tool to transform our imagination into our real life and succeed.
This Booklet aims to help adult learners to become more aware, more informed and educated, closer to Social Solidarity Economy and we hope that we have made several steps further in this direction. We also invite you to not stop here but to contact our organizations that are partners in this project. We need many fellow companions on this transformation journey.
EKUMENICKÁ AKADEMIE (CZ)
Ekumenická akademie/Ecumenical Academy (EA) is an NGO established in 1996 in the Czech Republic and our vision is a socially just, sustainable and tolerant society.
EA supports alternative forms of economical democracy, such as Social Soli-darity Economy (SSE), Fair Trade, co-operatives. EA has more than 20 years of experience in informal education, co-operation with universities, campaigning on responsible consumption and alternative economic models and creating good practice examples of SSE.
"DOBRZE" FOOD CO-OPERATIVE (PL)
For more than 7 years the “Dobrze” Food Co-operative has been running com-munity-based shops with organic food in Warsaw. It’s experience presents a successful example on how a grass-roots community can create an inclusive, socially and environmentally responsible economic model. The goal of “Dobrze” Food Co-op is to support a system of food production and distribution that fulfils the needs of consumers and producers and takes care of our environment. It is driven by the belief that direct co-operation between consumers and producers contributes to strengthening active citizenship and creates a fair economy, ben-eficial for all involved parties.
The Co-op shops are the joint property of its members who govern it according to international co-operative principles. Currently, the cooperative has almost 600 members and more than 1000 clients, employs 14 people and co-operates with around 20 small-scale farms throughout the whole season.