1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Social Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Cooperative Enterprise Development as a Key Aspect in Rebuilding Solidarity-Driven Local Economies in the Aftermath of Thirty Years of Destructive Local Neoliberalism (Draft)



The collapse of the global neoliberal project that effectively began with the financial meltdown on Wall Street in 2008 has inevitably reopened discussion as to the feasibility of alternative, more sustainable economic models, including those that prioritize the cooperative enterprise over the investor-driven one. Today the signs around the world, especially in Latin America, are that cooperative enterprises have indeed begun to assume a pivotal strategic role in promoting the post-neoliberal societal model that has come to be known as the “solidarity economy” model. Using material collected in Ecuador and Colombia in 2012, the paper shows that local governments have begun to proactively adopt the “local developmental state” (LDS) approach in order to build such an economic model. The paper concludes that by building up the capacities associated with the LDS model, and in such a way that it specifically prioritizes cooperative enterprise development, local communities everywhere will best be able to build a functioning solidarity economy from the bottom up.

Milford Bateman is a freelance consultant on local economic development policy and, since 2005, Visiting Professor of Economics at Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, Croatia. He is the author of Why Doesn’t Microfinance Work? The Destructive Rise of Local Neoliberalism.