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Rendering the Social Solidarity Economy: Exploring the Case for a Paradigm Shift in the Visibility of Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises in Business Education and Policy-Making

Ridley-Duff, R and Bull, Mike (2016) Rendering the Social Solidarity Economy: Exploring the Case for a Paradigm Shift in the Visibility of Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises in Business Education and Policy-Making. International Summit of Cooperatives.

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Abstract

Theories of business are still dominated by a choice between social responsibility (altruistic communitarianism) and private business (neo-liberalism). From the start of the 1990s, this hegemony has been disrupted by research on voluntary action and social enterprise (SE). By philosophically grounding the logics of three approaches to social enterprise, this paper explores evidence of a paradigm shift. The conclusion is drawn that there is no longer a defensible justification for rendering the social solidarity economy (SSE) as a marginal choice between altruistic communitarianism and neo-liberalism. There is now a broad-based economy of unions, societies, associations (CTAs), co-operatives, mutual financial institutions, employee owned businesses (CMEs) and socially responsible businesses (SRBs) supporting more than half the world’s population. Business education needs to be reframed as a new choice between social liberalism and pragmatic communitarianism informed by ‘new co-operativism’ that draws extensively on theories of co-operation and mutual aid in member-controlled enterprises.

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