What is Social Economy

Social economy means 'activities of organizations which operate under the principles that regulate profit distribution based on the ownership of quotas of capital and democratic decision-making process'. It seems a very new concept, but many common economic activities of our society such as fair trade, local exchange trading system (LETS), consumer cooperatives, social enterprise and village enterprises are actually included in social economic activities.

Social economy creates alternative forms of work and strengthens the social supports network built through local community chain with friendship. It is also crucial since it stimulates the consumption of other social service with the expansion of such social network as well.

In the past, Western nations had not experienced this economic abundance and the enormous inequality they are now facing at the same time. There are thousands of people in poor and neglected classes in this society. In order to resolve these challenges, new goals should be settled. Especially achieving a goal of establishing the 'solidarity economy (Économie solidaire)' which would allow current society relying heavily on labor and income to be separated from those factors is crucial. The society has been failing to build a sound market economy and there also have been emerging challenges such as high income gap between different economic classes in society. Beneath these problems, there is a weakened universal value system in which members of our society live.

Social Economy Actors

  • Social enterprise

    An enterprise which does economic activities, pursuing social values which correspond with public interests

  • Cooperatives

    A voluntarily organized enterprise by people who try to satisfy their economic, social and cultural needs and desires through co-ownership and democratic operations

  • Village enterprise

    An enterprise which tries to meet people’s needs and resolve social problems based on village communities with voluntary participations and cooperative networks

  • Self-help enterprise

    Enterprises established under the National Basic Living Security Act which helps economic and social rehabilitation of people, especially focusing on job creation