Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Grounds for the Development of Social Economy in Romania

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Grounds for the Development of Social Economy in Romania

Article excerpt

Abstract: This paper sets out as an explanatory approach, supported with theories and statistical data, for the development of the social economy sector in Romania.

Following a brief review of the literature, which informs the theoretical basis of this paper, We presented a series of economic and social data, expressing the needs of several social groups, potential actors in the social enterprise arena. The study has dealt with the issue of social economy by analysing two daily papers and a professional journal, as well as by interviewing 14 experts who work in the social field, in state institutions and NGOs. After analysing the articles published in the two papers and the journal, it can be stated that there is, in the context presented, a certain interest in the issue of social economy. The articles on this subject referred to different approaches in the field of social economy, the main idea being, particularly in the journal, that social economy represents a potential for creating jobs and for the social integration of the disadvantaged.

As far as the results obtained after analysing the interviews are concerned, social economy is seen by experts as an opportunity to integrate disadvantaged groups into the labour market, to reduce social marginalization and to improve local communities' quality of life. The conclusions of the paper point to the need, but also to the possibility of developing social economy in Romania, the need to stimulate and sustain it, especially in regards to social entrepreneurship.

Key-words: social economics; social entrepreneurship; development; social enterprise.

1. Introduction. About social work. Analysis of definitions

The social economy, also called solidary economy (Eme and Laville, 2006, p. 302), entreprises promotrices (Münkner, 2010), "the third sector" (Defourny, 2004, p. 1) or social and solidary economy (Canfin, 2008), functioned, even though maybe not as aspect of conceptualization, but definitely and actually, in the traditional societies too. It started to take shape as specific form of organisation only in early 19th century, when the first regulations on the mutual assistance societies appeared and when the social economy enterprises participated consistently in the universal exhibitions.

The specificity of the social economy, as it name reveals, is to insist on deeper integration of the economic and social under different aspects. So, the syntagma "social economy" is pleonastic, because economy can only be social due to the economic agents, producers, consumers, of the community where it operates, etc. Otherwise, there are many common aspects between the social enterprises and the rest of enterprises: both are open systems in relation with the environment, they have a purpose which they pursuit in their activity, they produce goods or services by combining the production factors, they operate according to specific rules (Schwarz et al., 1996, p. 27).

Then why did this problem imposed rather strongly in front of the public opinion, of the politicians, institutions and to the community of researchers during the last two decades of the past century and at the beginning of this century? The specialists consider that the most important reason comes from the fact that the economy moved away from its humanist purposes and sought profit, almost exclusively. We might also add the excessive use of mathematics and the attempt to transform the economic science from a social science into an exact science, as well as the focus on people as mere workforce reflected in the wages (whose size is inversely proportional with the size of the profit), to the detriment of the aspects pertaining to the social solidarity and responsibility of the companies. All these determined the need for economic alternatives, or the need for a "économie plurielle" (Aznar et al., 1997) which to compensate the mentioned deficiencies.

For any objective researcher, it is obvious that any enterprise also has a social dimension, which doesn't exclude, however, the attempt to substantiate the option for the enterprise in which the focus is just on this dimension, and only secondarily on the economic dimension. …

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