The social economy as the economics of liberation
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The Social Economy as the Economics of Liberation. The four oppressions!. Capitalism—source of oppression: overwhelming rights of capital Colonialism—source of oppression: global extension of capitalism Communism—source of oppression: excessive power of the state

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The four oppressions
The four oppressions!

  • Capitalism—source of oppression: overwhelming rights of capital

  • Colonialism—source of oppression: global extension of capitalism

  • Communism—source of oppression: excessive power of the state

  • Patriarchy—source of oppression: unequal relationships between sexes

Liberation from capitalism
Liberation from capitalism

  • This is where co-operation started

  • The Webbs and the Miners’ next step

  • Reclaiming surplus value

  • Challenging the power of capital to buy labour

  • Robert Owen, William Morris and the utopian community

  • Guild socialism

Liberation from colonialism
Liberation from colonialism

  • Imperialism as a global extension of capitalism

  • Colonialism as the institutionalisation of global capitalism

  • Challenge engendered inferiority

  • Ghandi’s ideas of Swaraj

  • Vandana Shiva and the subsistence perspective

From medellin to porto alegre
From Medellin to Porto Alegre

  • Latin bishops’ conference, Medellin, 1968, created the term ‘institutionalised violence’

  • Comunidades eclesiales de base (CEBs: local church communities)

  • Gustavo Gutierrez Merino (born 1928, Lima, Peru), A Theology of Liberation (1972)

  • Leonardo Boff (born 1938, Concórdia, Brazil), Church: Charism and Power: Liberation Theology and the Institutional Church

  • Eliminated by JPII and Cardinal Ratzinger

The concept of emancipatory praxis
The concept of ‘emancipatory praxis’

  • Everyday experience of poverty: mutualism as a practical rather than ideologically driven response

  • Uses a radical reintepretation of the Bible. Jesus as revolutionary. Marxist ideas of class struggle

  • Deeply rooted in the local Church: importance of mutualism as local solutions

  • Change grows out of meetings to discuss scripture: community involvement

  • Realisation of the Kingdom of God on earth: importance of utopian project: coops as real change agents rather than the ‘lottery mentality’, living on dreams, encouraged by the conventional economy

Social economy in the poor countries
Social economy in the poor countries

  • Social economy grew under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, as a source of resistance and mutual support: from 15% of the workforce in Santiago in 1970 to some 20% by 1982. Provides around a third of jobs in the poorer quarters of Santiago.

  • MST in Brazil and the peasant challenge to state support for neoliberal, neocolonial land ownership patterns

  • Case-study from Argentina: The Take, taking over factories left idle because of financial collapse

  • Côte d'Ivoire: 827,000 small farmers are co-operative members

  • Nicaragua: 78 per cent of maize and 59 per cent of beans are cooperatively marketed

Liberation from communism
Liberation from communism

  • Concentration of state power: loss of initiative

  • Issue of scale: one bicycle factory

  • Party replaces community

  • Bureaucracy creates inefficiency

Co operatives in central and eastern europe
Co-operatives in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Gorbachev hoped to liberalise via co-ops

  • Lost history of co-operation in Czech Republic: in 1994 new agricultural coops operated on 47 per cent of cultivated land and controlled 67 per cent of production

  • Cooperative is frequently co-opted by the state and now not trusted

Liberation from patriarchy
Liberation from patriarchy

  • ‘Sisterhood is powerful’

  • Women’s strength in community

  • Reproductive labour

  • A different attitude to resources: ecofeminism

  • Extended by Engels in his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1942)

  • In communal economies women are equal or more powerful (matrilineality)

  • The growth in private property undermines the role of women

  • Men's ability to generate a surplus creates patriarchy where women (and slaves) become themselves the property of father and husband.

Feminist views of patriarchy
Feminist views of patriarchy

  • Feminists focus on women's work as reproductive rather than productive labour

  • The invisible nature of women's work

  • The iceberg model (Maria Mies)

  • Ecofeminists argue that loss of embeddedness is source of spiritual and environmental alienation

Are women natural co operators
Are women natural co-operators?

  • Ease of access to finance

  • Sharing of skills and building of confidence

  • Micro-finance developed in women’s co-ops and businesses

  • Could this idea be based on stereotyping?

What do the four have in common
What do the four have in common?

  • Concentration of power [democratisation]

  • Inequality of access to resources [equality]

  • Alienation [empowerment]

  • Self-delusion [self-realisation]

  • Isolation [mutuality, reciprocity, sharing]

Assess the four concepts in terms of the three organisational forms






Social firm

Social enterprise


Assess the four concepts in terms of the three organisational forms