Making Other Economies Possible: Inequality, Consciousness-Raising and the Solidarity Economy in Chile
This study describes how economic policies in Latin America are informed by, and have affected, social norms regarding equality and solidarity. Through the rise and fall of institutions such as cooperatives and unions, and via social policy in education, health, and pensions, one can trace the ebb and flow of social solidarity as a justifiable socioeconomic policy aim in Latin America. As a result of the decrease in the legitimacy of social solidarity and equality that follows the implementation of neoliberalism, a new social movement in the region- the Solidarity Economy- has emerged to reestablish these values. However, it is largely borrowing from a tradition of associativism and other private-sector civil-society initiatives rather than vying directly for State power to institute its goals from within the polity. I provide a case study of the Santiago Solidarity Economy Network, in which I analyze their strategies of consciousness-raising and participation. The case study also explores generational and institutional differences within the Network that stem from varied political experiences of neoliberal policy. Finally, the case study details the obstacles to growth that this Network encounters, with a particular focus on those challenges that have emerged as a result of neoliberal policy and its’ effects on social norms of solidarity.