The Social Economy encompasses a vast array of organizations and enterprises with common values and goals. It is a diverse sector of the economy that has a distinctly human character. In other words, it exists in a community of like-minded people who come together to work, play and live together. But the Social Economy is not limited to businesses. It is also comprised of associations, foundations, and mutuals. Below is a look at what it is all about.
Organizations that promote social economy include building and mortgage societies, credit unions, charities, neighborhood organizations, community groups, self-help groups, religious groups, and social enterprises. These organizations operate in a range of industries and sectors, and many face barriers that prevent them from realizing their potential. Lack of transparency, limited visibility, and access to markets are just some of the problems faced by these organizations. This is a vitally important area for those in the social economy.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the Social Economy is explicitly recognized in its national economic policy. Other countries, such as Spain and France, recognize it as a legitimate branch of economic thought. In Latin America, some countries, such as Brazil, have made it part of their government’s policy and are experimenting with it. They have found that a mix of approaches works best to achieve social goals while simultaneously increasing profits. So, what is the difference?