What is a Solidarity Economy?

The solidarity economy aims to meet the needs of those who are excluded from the money economy of big chains and transnational corporations. It includes networks of small producers; worker-owned and worker managed cooperatives; food coops; fair trade; local currencies; and barter as well as movements to defend and recuperate the Commons such as movements against the extraction of vital natural resources. At an international level ALBA (Bolivarian Alternatives for the Americas) is barter between countries such as Cuba and Venezuela. At the local level, it includes CSA (community supported agriculture); farmers’ markets; regional fairs of small producers; any participants in a local currency such as Ithaca Hours in Ithaca, NY, USA or the Mexquite in Dolores Hidalgo, GTO, Mexico. The Center for Global Justice supports such local efforts and thinks that the solidarity economy can grow to fulfill the needs of many billions of people around the world who are excluded from the formal economy. Production should and can be organized for distribution according to need rather than according to “effective demand,” i.e. money, and production should and can be for ecological sustainability and for need rather than profit.