THE AGENDA OF SOCIAL ECONOMY IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The social economy as a necessary condition for local development is considered realistic by utilizing inactive stagnant resources,
The expansion of the social policy and with reduced transaction costs that the Municipalities benefit for their social services.
Institutional collaboration tools and uses of resources from different sources are crucial.
Energy communities, for example, as a model of cooperation in the local community are a typical example.
The Social Partnerships of TA with the Civil society.
The financial incentives of participatory democracy.
Synergies with municipal Development companies.
As the scope for public and private expansion has been exhausted, the social economy is a necessary condition for further local development.
The expansion of the social policy that could exist at a reduced cost for the Municipalities, the utilization of the inactive resources that stagnate, the strengthening of the Local Growth and employment, the complementarity in the institutions of solidarity.
Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities
In a European context, since the early 1990s, Local Government, together with civil society organizations, have been considered important actors and actors in the development policy of the developed countries of the European Union, which also specializes in similar European Financing programs. The same is true in the United States of America, Canada, Australia, etc. However, while at the level of the European Union, the European Commission has recognized the role that synergies between local authorities and civil society organizations can play in promoting appropriate cooperation policies, as in development policy, in Greece there is no unified policy planning for this area. , with the result that there is still an institutional deficit. The consequence of the situation is that while the European Community Fund (ECB) provides for the financing of programs in the non-profit sector of the Social Economy, in our country it is largely unknown where the planned funds will end up.
Where the synergies and collaborations between the Local Authorities and civil society organizations are supported and operate, and bear fruit. The opening to such collaborations is a new good practice and another for the country perception of the way of implementation of social programs, which the Local Government undertakes to implement.
There are many civil society organizations, which conclude agreements with Communities, Municipalities and Prefectures, as partners and mainly as implementing bodies of local social programs. Precisely because the work provided by civil society organizations, as a rule, is based on responding to the demand for real social services, interventions and problem solving, mainly local or regional, the local authorities are gradually beginning to realize the benefits offered to them. cooperation with civil society organizations.
On the other hand, Local Government is a privileged workplace for civil society organizations, as it has a lower degree of bureaucracy than the central government, as well as first-hand knowledge of local peculiarities and problems. Manages the local and organized society and provides direct control over the credibility of local civil society organizations
In addition, the ethics and legality of the collaborations is ensured by the fact that both the Local Authorities and the civil society organizations have as their statutory goal the general interest of the local and not only the society. Their cooperation produces added value in many areas of development, driven by voluntary contributions and the general participation of citizens in local events with multiplier benefits.
This cooperation is more necessary today, in order to create and maintain on a permanent basis practices of partnership and participation of civil society and the voluntary movement in the policies of the Local Authorities.
Thus, through mobility, unity and horizontal organization with the Local Government, conditions are created for dealing with social and environmental problems and strengthening the resilience of the local economy, in order to deal more effectively with the crisis.
In addition, as we described in the first chapter on the social economy, strengthening the third sector of the economy can build a new social capital with human universal values, providing a solution through the social economy to tackling poverty and social exclusion.
It is therefore necessary to involve as many active civil society organizations as possible in the networks and public consultation as the active citizens who represent them are the social capital that can make a decisive contribution to the recovery of the country.
These social networks are the basis for participatory democracy. In conclusion, there is a need to strengthen the operational operation of the offices of the Municipalities for social solidarity, environment, volunteering, etc., in order to contribute to effective local governance and the strengthening of the social economy and local employment. After all, cooperation is the key to creating jobs in the new era.
Expanding social policy at a reduced cost for Municipalities is a realistic way out. When the social solidarity income from the state is not sufficient.
The utilization of inactive resources that stagnate, is the material basis of fixed assets for the strengthening of social enterprises and cooperatives.
This policy in turn strengthens Local Growth and Employment.
This is how the need for aid in “solidarity institutions” arises. Charity has never been enough to eradicate the root cause of poverty. That is why the social economy is a necessary condition. In the environment of K.O. the economically inactive not only expect benefits but also find work and supplementary income.
Energy communities, which are essentially productive and consumer electricity cooperatives, show the way how a local community can benefit from savings.
For all these reasons the Social Economy will be the greatest social innovation of the century in the organization of productive and labor relations.
However, this message is rarely a priority for the elected. Usually the social economy is mentioned superficially because it sounds good to the ears while the established policy and the transfer of know-how are essentially lacking, so it is treated as a side effect with insignificant overall results.
Obviously, this deficit is also due to the level of awareness of civil society organizations to raise the issue in a coordinated manner from below. There are of course some good examples in Municipalities but they are not enough to change the general picture.
This lag is recorded compared to the average level of other European countries, but even there there is still a long way to go for a strong third sector. This memorandum aims to shed light on the possibilities why they remain unused but also to be used as a suggestion by local bodies to set the agenda.
We will not refer to the existing entanglements of competing interests that hinder it but to the policy shortcomings that are fixing the third sector of the economy in Greece.
Regarding the utilization of inactive resources in every region of the country, in every city and rural area there are unused resources (vacant lands, unused public and private buildings) and on the other hand great needs for social services and high unemployment among young people.
In other words, there are, to a large extent, inactive material and human resources that private entrepreneurship is not interested in developing, while, in fact, the public sector cannot use them. At the same time, there are ever-increasing needs for social solidarity to tackle unemployment and poverty, which cannot be met by State benefits alone. The growing taxation on which the welfare state relies has reached its highest levels, drowning many of the small businesses, resulting in the inability to meet the ever-increasing social needs for benefits. On the other hand, rising unemployment due to technological developments is a cause of economic and social exclusion creates a situation that can not be addressed in the long run by the welfare state alone. The 200 E solidarity income provided by the state moderates but does not solve the problem.
Stimulating supply and demand does not cause the corresponding demand from consumers. Lack of resources at the level of meeting basic needs of food, housing and social care is one of the main causes of the problem. As the state and the market can not meet all the needs, the role of the social economy arises with reduced operating costs.
Charity, whether expressed by the State or by individuals, has never been sufficient to eradicate the root cause of poverty. As the state cannot offer completely free goods and services more than it already offers, it is necessary for them to be produced at lower affordable prices.
And here lies the role of the social economy in producing affordable services for the poorest. How is this done? Using the assets of social ownership and organizing the users in such a way that there is a mediation cost of what we call commercial profit.
In this sense, the alternative policy of K.O is: to utilize inactive resources and to offer products and services through this process. Only in this way can the social income for the weak sections of the economy be increased.
And this objectively can only be done through the structures of social economy and social entrepreneurship as this form of entrepreneurship ensures reduced production costs and reduced transaction costs.
Finally, reduced costs are the foundation for sustainability in areas where private entrepreneurship and wage labor can not meet.
The Institute of Social Economy Studies “INMEKO” sent a letter to all municipalities for a comprehensive plan for the development of social economy at the local level. Given the response to a relevant proposal in more than ten Municipalities and in particular for training the program “Mentors” of Social Economy, the issue was raised by the Municipalities that, at the local level there is reluctance for social cooperatives and labor cooperatives.
The Unemployed prefer the unemployment card with the benefits and the “eight months” in the Municipalities, rather than getting involved in processes that really need to work and take responsibilities. Unfortunately, we were told that the programs of the Ministry of Labor finance unemployment and wages even from the NSRF and not productive labor.
Of course, we are aware of this trend and in the past we have criticized low wages in the guise of community service, but it is time to look more closely at work and social enterprises in which it is a necessary condition to involve social collectives.
Indeed, the average citizen would always like to be employed. Preferably in the permanent public. Second to a large private company that provides him with equal security.
He wants the confidence and carelessness that paid work provides in the face of the stress of self-employment. So even if a professional earns more than one employee, his children with more education even prefer paid work.
Many worship the state as if it were the god on earth. Still others insult the state because they expect everything from the state as this suits them against individual and collective responsibility.
Only highly confident people choose to be freelancers or people who want to use resources from their personal wealth.
Freelancers tend to be more than the scientific professions, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, than craftsmen and artisans.
Small businesses are also dwindling. Livestock farmers and growers are also largely abandoning their traditional work for a wage, thus widening the gap between production and services. At the same time, useful professions are limited to local production. New technologies of robotic computing and internet with automation disappear in two decades large pieces of paid work.
Thus we have reached an economy that is completely dependent on labor for industry and services and here begins a new historical phase with internal antinomies in the system.
The “vision” of the average person of unlimited paid work loved by employers and employees is no longer for everyone. Many will have to become self-employed like their grandparents in order to make a living. Not necessarily breeders and growers but providing welfare products and services to an aging population.
The new conditions in the workplace therefore make the need for alternative employment relationships and to tackle poverty imperative.
The unemployed can not easily create sustainable social enterprises on their own, but they can participate in social enterprises and cooperatives supported by local collectives and the Local Government.
The doctrine of wage labor emerged from the post-industrial revolution, the centralization of production, the automation, the verticalization of the large trade and distribution networks needed by armies of workers.
These conditions were created by technologies that relied on energy from fossil fuels. Without this interaction of technologies and energy sources, mass production and the culmination of wage labor would be impossible.
That is why the internal rift is inevitable and the new exemplary model of the social economy is needed for a sustainable future.
And specifically: the expansion of the social policy that could exist at a reduced cost for the Municipalities, the utilization of the inactive resources that stagnate, the strengthening of the Local Development and employment, the complementarity in the institutions of solidarity. Then there is the lack of recording and overall planning.
This means that in very few cases the social economy is a priority for the elected members of the T.A. We will not refer to the existing entanglements of competing interests that hinder it but to the policy shortcomings that are fixing the third sector of the economy in Greece. Because what is primarily lacking is the structured policy and the transfer of know-how on this issue at a time when in practice it is seen as a sideline, with insignificant overall results.
Obviously, this deficit is due in large part to the level of awareness of civil society organizations to raise the issue in a coordinated manner from below. However, it is recorded as a lag compared to the average level of other European countries. This memorandum aims to shed light on the possibilities of why they remain untapped.
On the utilization of inactive resources. In every region of the country, in every city and rural area there are unused resources (scholastic lands, unused buildings in public and private) and on the other hand great needs for social services and high unemployment among young people.
In other words, there are, to a large extent, inactive material and human resources that private entrepreneurship is not interested in developing, while, in fact, the public sector cannot use them. At the same time, there are ever-increasing needs for social solidarity to tackle unemployment and poverty, which cannot be met by State benefits alone. In other words, the development of the social economy will contribute to the relief of the state.
Given that, the increasing taxation on which the welfare state relies has reached the highest levels that drown small businesses resulting in the inability to meet the growing social needs. On the other hand, rising unemployment due to technological developments is a cause of economic and social exclusion creates a situation that can not be addressed in the long run by the welfare state alone.
In this phenomenon neither the neoclassical nor the Keynesian rules in economics work adequately as we would like. The view that increasing supply is causing the corresponding demand from consumers is not always verified. Lack of resources at the level of meeting basic needs of food, housing and social care is one of the main causes of the problem. The problem arises when the state and the market can not meet all the needs and this gap is filled by the role of the social economy with the weapon of reduced operating costs for social enterprises that integrate social capital.
In this sense, the alternative policy is: to utilize inactive resources and to offer through this process products and services that are missing at the local level. Only in this way can the social income for the weak sections of the economy be increased. And this objectively can only be done through the structures of social economy and social entrepreneurship as this form of entrepreneurship ensures reduced production costs and reduced transaction costs. Finally, reduced costs are the foundation for sustainability in areas where private entrepreneurship and wage labor can not meet.
The reduced cost in this case is presumably derived from the reduction of the cost of mediation between producer and consumer. The key is that in social entrepreneurship the consumer becomes in essence at the same time a producer through his participation in cooperatives and collective organizations. This advantage is achieved by excluding profit for third parties resulting in “profit” for consumers which is the reduction of the cost of basic living goods. In addition, in the social economy, volunteering and social networks contribute to the accumulation of social capital and to what we call social marketing, which also reduces the cost of transactions in favor of consumers.
At the same time, reduced costs ensure the viability of small cooperatives which in turn can mobilize inactive material and human resources. That is, where the public and private sectors can not mobilize (school lands, unused public buildings and municipalities, infrastructure, forests and ecosystems.
Taking into account these above comparative advantages and the complementarity of the local economy, the political practice of the social economy is a way out for the Local Government.
But what is recorded in the collective experience is the lack of relevant tradition in the organizational culture of cooperation. Many elected officials avoid the project because they do not know the process. This is despite the fact that this policy is mentioned as a possibility by the Regions for the local authorities, although for this purpose special financial resources are available from the EU. It is well known that the financial resources coming from the EU and the European Social Fund (ESF) for the development of K.OIK. transferred by way of derogation to other sectors.
In many cases they baptize as social economy, actions of some municipal enterprises which is a completely different thing.
In this way, however, the mobilization of resources by the bodies of the social economy and the bodies of the civil society is not achieved, with which the TA can only function as an ally. The request to K.O. is not to become a TA entrepreneur but can formulate a policy at the local level which will have an impact on the “active demand” of labor and the “total supply” of products and services with a comparative advantage the reduced transaction costs. In this way we will have a leverage of the social economy from the Local Government to start the processes at local level.
For those who may have objections and believe that the Social Economy operates competitively for the market we should point out:
The public and private sectors are not necessarily competitive with the Social Economy. Social enterprises can operate in a complementary way, since they move in an area where there is no profit margin anyway. Therefore there is no investment interest in exploiting for-profit companies. As a matter of fact, neither the private nor the public sector has an objective problem with the Social Economy when it is active by exploiting inactive resources. Especially when it helps to tackle unemployment and social exclusion by offering the opportunity to the weak social strata instead of just waiting for state benefits to contribute in their own way to tackling unemployment and poverty.
Complementarity, moreover, through the rational approach to the utilization of inactive resources by social enterprises, it is certain that this would benefit both the public and the private sector given the expansion of employment and consumption. Precisely because complementarity will have positive effects on the expansion of the tax base and the level of mass consumption
The policy of benefits to people who have the ability to work is not the right social solution. The right policy is generally accepted to create new jobs. Therefore, the desired goal should always be in relation to the appropriate incentives to enhance employment. And this is what social enterprises can achieve.
Grants from the Ministry of Labor and the NSRF can be given to cover part of the labor costs for employees in social enterprises certified for their social impact.
This should be the request to the government from the point of view of the Local Government but also from the organizations of the Civil Society.
For these reasons, it is necessary to record the inactive resources and needs in each Municipality, in order to function as a diagnostic tool of the Municipal Councils of Municipalities and other local bodies for the utilization of the comparative advantages of the area.
The aim is to improve the image of the area, by highlighting available resources that are of interest in order to increase the additional income and to stop the internal migration of the inhabitants to the big urban centers.
This recording and planning is also recommended for the coordination and mobilization of human resources, offering the opportunity to stimulate the interest of active youth and local communities as a whole, for the introduction of new original elements in local cultural events resulting in strengthen social ties and social networks
Among other things, we must point out that the development of the green economy and energy communities is a modern progressive challenge that requires the voluntary participatory process of citizens in eco-protection and eco-development (, recycling at source, ecosystem management).