Local exchange trading systems: a grounded practice of solidarity during the crisis. The example of Greece
Catherine Lamprakopoulou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
Paper short abstract:
Financial crisis in Greece has led to the emergence of practices of solidarity, based on the exchange of commodities and services through social networks. Such activities related to economics amongst the community, seems to play an important role in creating a prosperous and inclusive society.
Paper long abstract:
The present paper attempts to highlight the development of local exchange networks and the use of local credits as important practices of encouraging solidary social behavior among individuals, especially in times of crisis. Referring to examples of countries, such as United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, Austria, USA, Argentina and Australia, where alternative social credits have been or are still being used, the fieldwork focuses on exchange networks that emerged in Greece as an antidote to financial crisis. Drawing from the still evolving term "social/ solidarity economy", which demonstrates the moral dimension of using solutions to achieve not-for-profit aims in smaller or bigger communities, the paper analyses: a) the reasons that led to the rise of exchange practices in Greece during the crisis b) the different forms and rules of offering exchangeable commodities and services through networks that developed the last years in Greece and c) the differences of local exchange trading systems from the practices of welfare state and philanthropy. Based on the research of J.K Graham Gibson and Ethan Miller, and influenced by Silvio Gesell and Gustav Landauer' s monetary and economical philosophy, the presentation delineates the basic characteristics of the practices of solidarity economies. The analysis stresses on: a) the emerging importance of communities, as the main core of satisfying the needs that have been inadequately fulfilled by the private or public sectors b) voluntarism and sharing as the suggested social behavior for overcoming or soothing the impacts of crisis and c) the political correlations of social economy practices.
Enlightenment's third pillar: solidarity and solidarity economies