The term Solidarity Economy defines an alternative economic system to the current (financial capitalism, neo-liberal, globalized); it sets the stage sue on solidarity concepts, short chain, ethics and justice.

Solidarity must be understood in two senses:

  • The Solidarity action of all persons acting for the good of the community, rather than for their own personal profit, as happens in the liberal economy.
  • Solidarity towards the weak, the elderly, the disadvantaged and all those who could not obtain a dignified life through work.

For short chain we mean the passage of goods from manufacturerer to consumer with the least number of steps, possibly direct. In addition it tends to reduce to a minimum the distance from the manufacturers and the preference for seasonal products.

For ethicity we mean working methods environmentally respectful, the use of quality raw materials, the realization of genuine products, the sincerity in labeling.

For justice we mean a fair relationship with the workers, employed on regular contracts and adequately remunerated.

While the liberal economy focuses on the price of the products and the profit of manufacturers, in solidarity economy these two parameters lose their importance; instead it gives huge emphasis on quality, understood in many ways: the quality of products, work, lifestyle and environmental impact.

The term Solidarity must not mislead us into believing that this type of economy is in some way poor. On the contrary, we are looking at a rich economy, where the wealth is distributed fairly and not based on human, animal or environmental exploitation. Liberalism however, by many perceived as a rich economy system, in reality is revealed poor, because it centralizes wealth in a few hands, do not guarantee a decent life for billions of people and exploits the environment beyond its potential.

Why extreme convenience and savings they are not compatible with a fair system? The reason is that when you constantly aims to lower the price of the products this will go mainly to break down the salary of workers, their safety, environmental protection, and often the quality of the products itself.

Misled by the capitalist philosophy, the consumer, focusing almost exclusively on price, is induced to buy goods made abroad, without considering the exploitation and poor quality which is the basis and without even evaluating the economic impact of this choice.

In fact, the savings achieved in this way is intended only for personal gain and does not take into account the collective impoverishment that follows. Pay a higher price to buy quality local products, leading the workers to get higher wages that allow them purchase products themselves best: is an upward spiral that feeds on itself, while we may well observe the downward spiral brought by Capitalism. Many small and medium-sized businesses are forced to close, despite the high quality, just because they can not be competitive in terms of prices. This leads to a progressive loss of jobs, increase in petty crime and social problems of all kinds.

The Social Economy can be the solution to the problems that are afflicting Italy and the whole world:

  • Economics: combating unemployment, ensuring more jobs, better paid, more secure and dignified.
  • Environmental: the rural production model of organic and biodynamic agriculture and non-intensive farming, with less use of harmful substances; while for the secondary sector it is preferred craft to industrial production thus greatly reducing the pollution.
  • Social: behind every product there is the human face of those who carried it; the disadvantaged and the elderly are not left alone; the community, the more rich, can finance better services, from education to healthcare.

But it's not just this. At the base there are the high values ​​that we can identify the concepts of justice, fairness, respect. It is a real philosophical shift: educate and educate ourselves to new values, to look beyond ourselves and our small interests, to open ourselves to others, to restart to dream.


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Mario Bruscella

Friday 01 July 2016

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