What is solidarity economy in Asia?

“Solidarity Economy” is one of terms used to describe all those economic activities and regulations which are based upon cooperation and solidarity, so as to place human beings and social relationships back at the core of the economic activities.

There are other names being used for the initiatives of a growing number of individuals, companies and cooperatives who have decided to integrate ethical, social and environmental principles to their daily economic activity. In Asia, titles like “People’s Economy”, “Compassionate Economy” or “Solidarity-based economy” are often heard.

Regardless of the way we call it, Solidarity Economy is a growing option for all those who choose to operate within the market but with a completely different approach, those who believe that economic activity should not be exclusively driven by competition and profit maximization.

Instead, the motivation for economic activity should be the improvement of the quality of life of all human beings.

In practice, there are Solidarity Economy activities in all regions of the world and in all phases of the economic cycle. Responsible consumption, corporate social responsibility (CSR) in production and distribution, share-holder activism, Fair Trade, Ethical Banking and Microfinance are some examples of these activities. A whole body of economic thought and beliefs have emerged as a consequence, as for example the belief that wealth should be redefined in order to

integrate social and environmental externalities and, thus, to be measured by a whole different set of indicators.

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