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David Bollier – Patrick Conaty: Democratic Money and Capital for the Commons
August 8, 2016

One of the more complicated, mostly unresolved issues facing most commons is how to assure the independence of commons when the dominant systems of finance, banking and money are so hostile to commoning. How can commoners meet their needs without replicating (perhaps in only modestly less harmful ways) the structural problems of the dominant money system?

Fortunately, there are a number of fascinating, creative initiatives around the world that can help illuminate answers to this question – from co-operative finance and crowdequity schemes to alternative currencies and the blockchain ledger used in Bitcoin, to reclaiming public control over money-creation to enable “quantitative easing for people” (and not just banks).

Download the report from Socioeco.org [pdf]

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INAISE 2016: International networks convergence, opportunities, challenges
From left to right: Gérald Larose, Claire Brodin, Milleder Villegas, Chantal-Line Carpentier, Alain Arnaud, Yvon Poirier and Laurence Kwark

The International Association of Investors in the social economy (INAISE) held its annual conference in Montreal, May 11-13 May. About 180 participants were present. This association includes various types of institutions of social and solidarity finance on an international level, ranging from cooperative financial institutions such as the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins, Banca Etica in Italy, ethical banks like Triodos Bank in the Netherlands and Community Sector Banking in Australia. Several microfinance institutions, Oikocredit or the African Network MAIN, are also members. The complete list, with members in every continent, is found on the website. Historically, relations between INAISE and RIPESS exist since at least 2004.

> See the link to the Program & Presentations

The conference this year focused on the theme Contributions, promises and challenges. Among other things, the plenary sessions were carried on the following topics:

  •         Financial tools for the empowerment and solidarity and responsible economic development;
  •         Cooperatives and their role in the social economy and local development;
  •         Family farming and value chains;

Thereafter, the participants exchanged in workshops on social economy and women entrepreneurshipsocial economy and sustainable development as well as savings and credit unions.

The penultimate session focused on the Foundations and support for the social economy. Usually foundations make grants according to their mandates. These grants come from revenues on investments and interest. What is new is that foundations give themselves responsible investment policies and even dedicate a portion of their funds for patient capital funds for SSE enterprises. One of the obstacles to this practice in laws and regulations that prevent or restrict the development of such a practice.

RIPESS was invited to participate in the roundtable International networks: convergence, opportunities, challenges. Six organizations in the social economy and ESS spoke:

  •         Milder Villegas – President INAISE
  •         Gérald Larose – Vice President – Mont Blanc Meetings (MBM)
  •         Alain Arnaud – President CIRIEC International
  •         Laurence Kwark – Secretary General – GSEF (Global Social Economy Forum)
  •         Yvon Poirier – RIPESS
  •         Claire Brodin – Savings Without Borders (France)

The panel was moderated by Chantal Line Carpentier of the New York Office of UNCTAD – United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. She was known by most of the organizations since she spoke at the meeting of the International Leading Group on SSE on 28 September in New York. After a presentation of each organization, explaining who they are and what they fonts, each expressed his vision of collaboration. All expressed their willingness to collaborate to advance alternatives that represents the SSE.

On behalf of RIPESS, I expressed our desire to continue collaborations we have already, even though they may be variable, with other organizations. This is particularly the case with INAISE, the MBM and GESF that are SSE organizations. We have no relationship with CIRIEC International, nor with Savings Without Borders, which are more in research, but we were willing to have.

After insisting, on behalf of RIPESS, it was important to build the movement at every level, local, regional, national and international, to put forward an alternative development model to capitalism and state economies, a clarification become necessary. Indeed, the next speaker, Alain Arnaud from CIRIEC intervened to say that from his point of view, the SSE advocates a plural economy, that it aims to take it’s a place next to the private sector and the public economy. Before I had the opportunity to make a clarification, Gérald Larose from MBM expressed a position quite similar to that of RIPESS. He replied to Alain Arnaud, that we could indeed have a plurality in the form of business, but that as a system, we could not talk about plural economic system. For him, we must indeed speak of an alternative model to capitalism as a system.

We must be grateful to INAISE for organizing this spirit of cooperation, that we must continue….

Note written by Yvon Poirier, member of RIPESS Board

INAISE: International conference on Social Solidarity Finance (11-13 May)

The INAISE International Conference on Social and Solidarity Finance takes place in Montreal, Quebec from May 11th to 13th 2016. This year the main subject is “Social and solidarity finance: Contributions, promises and challenges”. We expect you in great number! On the program: plenary sessions, working groups and field visits. For INAISE’s members, it will also be the occasion to participate to the Annual General Meeting.

See more at: http://inaise.org/#sthash.uaRbjmLG.dpuf

Faro (Portugal): 2nd Forum on Solidarity and Ethical Finance
February 2, 2016

After the success of the 1st national Forum on Solidarity and Ethical Finance, this year the event will take place in Faro (Portugal) from the 19th to 21st of February 2016.

“More than theoretical exhibitions on the subject of ethical and solidarity-based finance, we intend to create spaces for dialogue, sharing, analyzing in depth, because we are sure that we will all have a key role in the creation and development of ethical financial instruments in Portugal“.

Press release (in Portuguese)

All information here.

The Invisible Player: Social and Solidarity Finance for Financing for Development
October 7, 2015

unrisdThis contribution is published as part of the Think Piece Series The Road To Addis and Beyond, launched to coincide with the third and final drafting session of the outcome document of this summer’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development. In this Series, global experts discuss a range of topics complementary to the UNRISD research project on the Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization on how to fund social development and raise provocative or alternative perspectives that can generate further ideas and debates.  See the original post for more information.

The debates at the 2015 International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa focused on macro gaps in development funding, and on the private sector as a provider of solutions. But this approach overlooked two fundamental players: social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social and solidarity finance (SSF). This think piece suggests that involving users in the management of financial resources and targeting funds towards sustainable activities leads the way to more sustainable finance conducive to socially sustainable development.

by Marie-Adélaïde Matheï, Research Analyst at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva.
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