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The definition of "solidarity economy" is widely contested. For some, it refers to a set of strategies aimed at the abolition of capitalism and the oppressive social relations that it supports and encourages; for others, it names strategies for "humanizing" the capitalist economy—seeking to supplement capitalist globalization with community-based "social safety nets".

The solidarity economy can be seen a) as part of the "third sector" in which economic activity is aimed at expressing practical solidarity with disadvantaged groups of people, which contrasts with the private sector, where economic activity is aimed at generating profits, and the public sector, where economic activity is directed at public policy objectives, or b) as a struggle seeking to build an economy and culture of solidarity beyond capitalism in the present.

The still evolving term "solidarity economy" is an English translation of a concept represented by the French "économie solidaire" and similar terms in several other languages. As such it is sometimes translated by other expressions such as "solidarity-based economy".

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Social and solidarity economy

The solidarity economy is often considered part of the social economy, forming what might be termed the "social and solidarity economy" (from the French "économie sociale et solidaire"). The concepts are still under development and the difference between the two terms is gradually being clarified. An organisation seeing itself as part of the solidarity economy generally goes beyond achieving purely social aims: it aims to put right an injustice by expressing solidarity. For example, a local sports club has a social aim and so can be considered part of the social economy, but would not normally be considered part of the solidarity economy except in special circumstances (e.g. a township sports club in South Africa in the days of apartheid).

Examples of solidarity economy organisations

References

External links

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