Solidarity Economy – A chance for Southern Africa. An introduction to the concept and practical experiences from Brazil

Claudia Haarmann, Dirk Haarmann, October 2011

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Summary :

This study explores the concept of solidarity economy as an alternative development and economic model to the current profit-orientated capitalist one. The aim is to outline the basic principles of the concept as well as to learn from practical examples, mainly from Brazil, where a sizeable number of people practically engage in solidarity economy and have managed to create sustainable livelihoods.

The idea for this study emanated from a workshop by informal traders from Southern Africa hosted by ESSET in October 2010. The informal traders related that the current economic system is dehumanising and systematically excluding, disadvantaging and marginalising them. They are forced to compete in a cut-throat market with little or no access to financial services and support. The conference concluded that the root cause of the problems of the informal traders was in fact the current economic system in its totality with profit maximisation and competition as its core values.

ESSET approached TARA to compile a study to look at solidarity economy as an alternative model. The study included an exposure visit together with representatives of the informal traders to Brazil to learn

more about the concept and to see how it works in practise.

Sources :

Werkstatt ökonomie