The End of Capitalism Has Begun

Post Capitalism

Paul Mason, The Guardian, July 17, 2015

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

If you lived through all this, and disliked capitalism, it was traumatic. But in the process technology has created a new route out, which the remnants of the old left – and all other forces influenced by it – have either to embrace or die. Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism. (more: full article in the Guardian)

UNRISD – SSE raising international profile

Social and solidarity economy (SSE) is raising its profile internationally! Last September, the International Leading Group on SSE featured SSE at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York thanks to a side-event chaired by the President of France François Hollande. Paul Ladd, new Director of UNRISD, took part in the event, along with other members and observers of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE. For the video of the side-event, click here.

Read our latest think piece, The Invisible Player: Social and Solidarity Finance for Financing for Development, part of the UNRISD Series The Road to Addis and Beyond. The findings stem from our research project on Social and Solidarity Finance in connection with UNRISD project on Politics of Domestic Resources Mobilization.

Join us in two forthcoming events on SSE and cities:

– The 7th edition of the International Forum of the Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs organized by the Mont-Blanc Meetings, 26-28 November 2015, in Chamonix, France. The theme of this year’s edition is “Human and Sustainable Development of Cities and Territories“.
– The 2d edition of the Global Social Economy Forum on “Local Governments and Social Economy Stakeholders, Allies for the Intelligent and Sustainable Development of Cities”, 7-9 September 2016, in Montreal, Canada. The call for proposals for innovative initiatives is now open.

With kind regards,

The SSE Team

Mixed fortunes as solidarity economy takes root in Greece

Time banks, farmer-to-buyer sales groups and alternative currencies springing up but expansion has not been steady or easy

Bartering bazaar in Volos
A bartering bazaar in Volos, where tem currency coupons are exchanged for products or services. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

As money has become tighter in Greece, an alternative “solidarity economy” has sprung up providing everything from food and medical care to hairdressing and language classes to thousands – without a euro changing hands.

The Athens Time Bank, for example, allows members to collect credits by offering an hour of their time to someone who needs their services. The bank boasts doctors, dentists, electricians, yoga teachers and plumbers among its ranks, but the most popular service on offer is psychotherapy – highlighting how years of austerity have eaten away at more than just savings and living standards.

“These are the seeds, we are still in the beginning,” said member Christine Papadopoulou, who is also one of the coordinators of an annual “festival of solidarity” that brings together thousands of people for discussions, concerts and workshops each autumn.  Read more

RIPESS North America



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Interview: Mondragon Corporation: A Manufacturer of Equality


Josu Ugarte. Photo credit: Financial Times photos / Foter / CC BY. Article cross-posted from TooMuch.

By Too Much

June 26, 2015 – In the United States, top corporate execs sometimes make more in an hour than their workers can make in a year. At Mondragon, one of Spain’s largest companies, no execs can make more in an hour than their workers make in a day.

Sky-high corporate CEO pay, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz notes in a new report, “creates social norms” that drive up levels of inequality far beyond corporate payrolls.

Those “social norms,” cheerleaders for our current corporate order insist, simply reflect economic reality. In a globalized world where corporations tally sales and profits in the many billions, their argument goes, no modern major business could possibly survive — let alone thrive — without shelling out top executive pay that stretches into the many millions.

The owners of one of the largest businesses in Spain would beg to disagree.

Their nearly 60-year-old enterprise — named Mondragon for the Basque town in northern Spain that gave it birth — has nearly 75,000 employees working in everything from heavy industry and retail to banking and education. A big-league business, in other words, by any metric.

Yet Mondragon doesn’t shell out millions to any of its top executives. No executive at Mondragon makes anything close to even a single million.

How could that be? Mondragon just happens to operate as a cooperative and may be, many analysts believe, the world’s most significant worker-owned business.

Josu Ugarte, the president of Mondragon International, spent a chunk of last month touring the United States, as part of the co-op’s ongoing outreach to people and groups looking for alternatives to corporate business as usual. What alternative for corporate compensation does Mondragon offer? Too Much editor Sam Pizzigati caught up with Ugarte in Washington, D.C. and explored that question with him.

How long have you been with Mondragon?

I’ve worked at Mondragon for 27 years ago, and I’ve been the president of Mondragon International, our global operation, for seven years.

How are manager-worker pay differentials determined within the various Mondragon cooperative enterprises?

We have limits in all our co-ops. No manager within any co-op can make more than six times the salary of any worker in the co-op. We have another limit between co-ops, with the maximum difference between one co-op’s compensation and another’s at 38 percent.

Continue reading Interview: Mondragon Corporation: A Manufacturer of Equality

On Alternative Ways of Living Sustainably: Lessons From Solidarity & Social Economy in Madrid

A sneak peek of the Solidarity Economy Fair in Madrid, June 14th 2015

By Gaia Paradisio
Huffington Post

June 16, 2015 – The majority of times we think we are not free to think of the world as a unity of people all working towards human development, evolution and res-publica, which- as the Greeks taught us- means contributing to the development of the society’s state of the art.

I think the Greeks (along with the Romans) became the pioneers and the propellers of the management of “res publica”. Democracy for them meant taking care of the people and of the res-of the things- that the citizens created for the good and the progress of society’s hustle and bustle. Just think of horses and carriages, and of metro and cars. Two alternative and revolutionary ways, for the times, to facilitate transport and to allow people to freely move around the city and to get business and trade done, providing food and shelter to family and kids.

In modern times, I perceive and I see on a day to day basis that if we stand by the ideals of social justice, solidarity economy, participatory economics, the work of cooperatives, human dignity and equal rights between genders and at work, independent and free press, sustainable consumption, eco-markets and green economy, ethical banks, fair trade and food security and sovereignty, social inclusion and cultural diversity, sustainable development, ecological sustainability, corporate social responsibility in businesses, micro finance and micro-credit, we are not taking the res-management into consideration, but we only think of nature, utopia and social well-fare where people are at the center of the discourse.

Recently I visited the third edition of the Social and Solidarity Economy Fair, which took place at Matadero, an open, free and eco-cultural center in Madrid offering a wide variety of cultural events – including bike rentals and an impressive film library- aimed at raising awareness and stimulating debates around society’s problems and potentials solutions, powered by participatory mechanisms, constant dialogue, ideas and group brainstorming, critical thinking and new and better ways of imagining the future, and therefore of creating it.

Social Market is a system of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services that works by adopting ethical, just, democratic, ecological and solidarity principles, consisting of businesses and cooperatives, as well as groups of consumers, striving to pursue an economic activity that does not damage the environment and works for salary equality, gender policy and whose objective is to satisfy a good amount of the society’s needs within the community network, disconnecting the solidarity economy from the capitalist one. By re-adjusting the modern version of the economy, understood now as a vicious cycle of money and goods accumulation, we can manage to retrieve the first meaning of the economy to its real role of provider of the material ground to sustainably contribute to the personal, social and environmental development of the human being. (Continued)

Continue reading On Alternative Ways of Living Sustainably: Lessons From Solidarity & Social Economy in Madrid

Tunisia’s Habib Essid and His Government Is Developing Strategy to Organize Social and Solidarity Economy


Tunis Afrique Presse, May 19, 2015

Gammarth — Prime Minister Habib Essid said the government is currently developing a comprehensive national strategy to organise, structure, regulate and define the areas of intervention, funding and managing the sector of social and solidarity economy.

Speaking Tuesday in Gammarth at the opening of a tripartite national conference on “Social and Solidarity Economy: Catalyst for Development and Employment,” Essid spoke of the launch of a comprehensive training programme and upgrading human resources operating in this sector based on joint investment initiatives through a participatory approach developed by associations, private health insurance companies and co-operatives.

The PM said the social and solidarity economy promotes the establishment of a local and regional development. It also values local resources so as to ensure a sustainable development, protect the environment and facilitate the socio-economic integration of poor communities, he added.

Essid said the government has started preparing for the stage of significant reforms and defining a new development model based on added-value sectors and activities. This model gives priority to new sectors such as the social and solidarity economy as a third sector which has been annexed to the public and private sectors, he said.

The PM commended the efforts of the private sector in boosting growth and increasing job opportunities, expressing will to consolidate this sector and its role in launching development projects, thanks to the provisions to be included in the new investment code that will be submitted to the cabinet meeting soon.

BUILDING ALTERNATIVES FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET: News and reports from the grassroots on worker and community coops, land trusts, participatory bufgeting and other explorations in mutual aid


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