Sharing Hong Kong: from social and solidarity economy to sharing economy, and from fair trade to community supported agriculture
Submitted to the Asian Solidarity Economy Council, on the occasion of the 5th RIPESS International Meeting of SSE, Manila, Philippines, October, 15-18, 2013.
Sung Ming Chow, October 2013
he current study is an extension of two previous studies: Beyond Utopia: Community Economy Theory and Practices in Hong Kong (2003) and A City of Marketplaces: Local Auto-conomy and Ethical Consumption (2012). The three studies can be summarized as “the community-autonomy-sharing trilogy”. Compared with the previous two studies, which emphasize on the community and local autonomy of the economy and demonstrate the diversity and variety of market behavior and relationships in our city, the present study is more structural, institutional and policy oriented. While the previous ones are collections of case studies and existing best practices, the present one is more systematic, coherent and forward looking.
Comparing to the Beyond Utopia study ten years before, Hong Kong has already encountered tremendous transformation in its community and local autonomous economy. In the past, as the concept of community economy implied, activities were relatively restricted within particular communities. The geographical locations of the projects were highly concentrated. Prominent examples included the Time Coupon Scheme of Saint James Settlement, the Second Hand Shop of Association of Labor Relations and the women coops of Women Workers Association. However, as the general social and economic environment has changed fundamentally, the mainstream economy has failed to meet the daily needs of the citizens, alternative economic activities are becoming by far more popular nowadays. In 2010, the establishment of the Social Economy Alliance symbolized such historical moment, that activities have been moving from “the community” to “the society”.
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