2019-08-11

The Importance of the Social Economy

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The importance of the social economy in many community projects is often overlooked however, in this community radio project in La Boca is a prime example of how social objectives are achieved through community work and cooperation.

“What our radio station does is provide a microphone for people to speak about new ideas and frustrations within a system designed to maintain current levels of inequality”

This is a quote from one of the people who currently works at this Radio station, for them the radio station provides a platform for discourse, where people come to reflect, discuss, debate and communicate social and economic issues found in their local communities. These people are not heard by the mainstream media therefore community radio stations such as this play a major role in ensuring everyone has a voice, and that those voices are heard.

Although the date of creation of the social economy in Argentina is debateable, for the people at the Radio station it all began in the late 1990’s when the cultural, social and economic revolution began. The early 1990’s was ‘plagued’ with neo-liberal reform wherein trade liberalization, deregulation, and privatization swept across the country. The social economy was essentially born out of dominant and repressive political practices of neoliberalism. The working class of Argentina was forced to fight against neoliberal reform and to fight for the basic needs of their communities. Revolutionary groups and organisations consisting primarily of farmers and students were created out of pure necessity for employment opportunities.

An example provided by the director of the radio station is of "trash men, or recyclers" who were neglected by the formal employment system and therefore collaborated to collect cardboard and plastic materials from wealthier neighbourhoods before selling them on. Fundamentally, the formal sector failed to provide jobs for the entire population hence people came together to form these groups and the social economy was born. 

The radio station is not only involved in the fight against the press itself but it is also concerned with the greater fight of promoting the growth of ‘sensible’ ideas and preserving the future of the entire populations voice.

“Throughout history, all around the world, those in power control the thought processes and decisions of those they control, it is us who are here to promote an essential "safe space" for new emerging ideas and plans of action, instead of being manipulated by the powerful in order to fit their needs”.

From this quote it is clear that the radio station is completely politically driven, for very good reasons. They are fighting to transform a system shaped around privilege and inequality therefore it is impossible to work without political affiliation or influence.

“We fight against the clouded judgement which promotes and supports the rich while killing the poor”.

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VOLUNTARIO GLOBAL

Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
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