Nancy Neamtan


Social economy refers to a wide variety of enterprises and organizations that produce goods and services with the expressed goal of maximizing social, environmental or cultural impact. In many countries, it is emerging as an integrated system of social innovation, rooted in local and regional development and supported by new systems of governance based on partnerships with government, labour and the private sector. In this article, Nancy Neamtan discusses the emergence of the social economy in many countries in Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa, arguing that, rather than being considered a potential competitor with public or private enterprises, social economy should be considered an important part of an economic recovery strategy. In order for social economy to contribute to sustainable development, its existence should be formally recognized as an essential component of a pluralist economy and the manifestation of new relationships among the market, the public sector and civil society. In this respect, innovation in governance, adaptation of investment tools to the characteristics of the social economy and more research about the dynamics of the emerging experiences of social economy are considered key challenges for the future.


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social economy; solidarity economy

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