Social and Solidarity Economy in a Neoliberal Context: Transformative or Palliative?

Issues: Volume 5, Issue 1
Authors: Paola Raffaelli

The Case of an Argentinean Worker Cooperative

Neoliberalisation process was imposed worldwide and it made many grassroots responses emerge, which many can be conceptualised as part of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Within this field, worker co-operatives appear as an option to mainly safeguard employment and earn a living. Several cases have been documented about worker co-operatives as a way to develop impoverished areas or vulnerable populations. However, co-operatives in many cases appear as a second best employment option during turmoil, rather than as an alternative to mainstream economy, which ultimately is the cause of poverty and vulnerability. This paper seeks to widen social economic literature and explores the tension inherent in the concept of SSE, namely whether it should be seen as an alternative to capitalism or a means of ameliorating its worst effects. Although this tension has been minimised in the literature, by introducing the case of an Argentine workers’ cooperative, this research illustrates how these two antagonistic discourses coexist within the organisation.

Keywords: SOCIAL AND SOLIDARITY ECONOMY; WORKER COOPERATIVES; WORKER-RECUPERATED ENTERPRISES; LABOUR MOVEMENTS; ARGENTINA
JEL classification: B5; J01; J50; J54; J58; Z13
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5947/jeod.2016.003
About authors: Paola Raffaelli    Download .PDF