The Issue

Our world of work is changing, and the interest in bringing our working environments and the associated organisations into a genuinely compassionate, friendly, value-free and emotional closeness is the breeding ground for achieving social, cultural and economic goals. This social economy differs from the formal economy (for-profit) through these new values that create a sense of connection. This puts profit maximisation in the background (non-profit). This increased interest in the common good in such oriented companies or initiatives leads to the dominance of social, empathic value systems while at the same time pursuing economic interests. The organisation we are striving for links models with socio-economic and socio-ecological, community-based approaches. The people who are active here are authentic and interested in integrating these deeply human values of our living and working together in a globalised, digitalised world. They inspire and encourage each other to share their pluralistic values and thus to develop their individual and collective potentials. In doing so, diverse intelligences, competences, values, interests, passions and emotional needs are taken up and a cooperative, subsidiary and self-organising network is created.

Members at very different locations, with different offers are connected in the umbrella organisation and through the attitudes mentioned above they gain the confidence to develop a new socio-economic structure based on emphatic cooperation. The members meet regularly for social exchange of ideas and are enthusiastic about new knowledge and share the open source idea.

There are ... clear signs of a paradigm shift towards alternative forms of economic activity and a general increase in society's interest in sustainable, social and/or environmental products. (Ehrlich/Lang 2012).

The idea

  • Establishment of an organisational form that allows new "economic approaches" to be networked internationally / across organisations;
  • decoupling an internal economy from an external economy (similar to corporate groups)
    • External appearance as a purchasing and sales cooperative with internal production and service capacities;
    • Establishment of an internal clearing system, if possible non-monetary (platform economy);
    • Development of internal social and solidarity-based "security concepts" (loss of earnings, health) in addition or as an alternative to statutory programmes and under the premise self-help, self-sufficiency and self-responsibility;
  • possibility of Europe-wide networking in the 1st planning step
  • Integration of block chain based tools e.g. with its own community "currency" ;
  • Implementation of solidarity-based "Share and Care" models.

If we do not develop and build up our own economic structures based on solidarity, there will be little scope for at least partially escaping the existing economic constraints. This means, among other things, that the (temporal) scope for evolutionary development and solidarity will diminish.
For us, the goal of the solidarity-based economy must be the utopia of a society in which every person has the right and the opportunity to have access in a humane way to all that he or she needs physically, mentally and spiritually to be able to lead a good life in self-chosen social contexts. Many of these new ideas include the safeguarding of services of general interest, which apparently no longer appear to exist from outside due to changed economic conditions. However, approaches that change the system only emerge where there is a conscious attempt to create a growing and merging "inner space" that is not related to goods and values, i.e. a space of experience and relationships carefully separated from the general market.

Many actors in the new solidarity-based economy emphasise the importance of solidarity-based economies for cultural change, i.e. different ways of dealing with others, different modes of collective production or a different awareness of material resources. On various levels, solidarity-based economy projects are both experimental and model projects. This has the potential to form an important basis for the enforcement of regulations and rights.
However, the possibilities of each person and each project/group are limited. Everywhere there are also weaknesses, unconsidered and compromises due to the limited economic possibilities or simply because the actors are overstrained to take into account all the other aspects besides material livelihood security.
It is important to combine these approaches and to create social places where interested people can find their way into self-organisation without "ideological entry cards" or scene barriers.

Changing conditions in the economic, technical, social and political spheres lead to the need to cooperate and yet remain legally independent. It is necessary to use economic economies of scale and synergies, to share risks and costs, to develop joint solutions to problems and open standards, and to take a balanced view of social and economic aspects.
The cooperative idea is currently experiencing a renaissance in Europe. This is astonishing, because for a long time the registered cooperative was regarded as an economic phase-out model. Co-determination and social responsibility in shaping economic processes are now becoming increasingly important!
Cooperatives that are founded against the background of specific needs and that go beyond the support of their members are also becoming increasingly important. They provide services that are of particular public interest, which is why they are also called community-based cooperatives.

Cooperative as a model?

„Cooperatives are quite complicated subjects of commercial law. They are specific enterprises, voluntary associations of persons or groups of persons who together strive for a higher efficiency of their economic activity. The cooperative is based on personal membership and self-administration. It does not require a special amount of capital to be established. Taking into account the minimum number of members required by law - seven in Germany, which is very high by international standards - there is no number of members dependent on the breakdown of the share capital. The statutes of the cooperative can be freely designed in accordance with the law on cooperatives. Voting rights are linked to membership, joint business operations are prescribed by law. Profit maximisation is excluded. Profits generated must be used directly for the actual purpose of the support. The cooperative must be a member of an association with auditing rights. The statutory audit serves to protect cooperative members and creditors.“ (Nollau 2004: 6)

An S.C.E., the European Cooperative Society - because we are talking about large-scale exchanges - can be set up by at least five legal or natural persons who are resident or have their registered office in two different Member States of the EEA. It requires a minimum initial capital of 30,000 euros. Investing members are admitted, shares are transferable or marketable. We want to establish an S.C.E. as a buying and selling cooperative / staff cooperative, which allows members to exchange information internally on a "platform economy with internal "resource-oriented calculation" and provides administrative services and social insurance benefits for members. Everything else can be developed by the founding members within our self-organising concept.
As an IfL study(1) showed, cooperatives are strongly represented as an ideal organisational and formal legal form in the field of social economy, and currently, even if the legal form of the registered cooperative partly has an image which rather connects it to established, 'long-established' manifestations of social economy. But at the latest with the amendment of the Cooperatives Act (GenG) in 2006, which simplified the establishment of smaller cooperatives, social and cultural cooperatives, the legal form e.G. has become interesting again.

  • Co-operatives prove to be particularly efficient in times of crisis, especially in view of their contribution to economic and financial stability, maintenance and creation of jobs;
  • Cooperative SMEs (2) are growing in the service and manufacturing sectors and offer "local" alternatives to global enterprises;
  • Many co-operatives give people the opportunity to become active as entrepreneurs and regain dignity in their work: they provide access to business organisation, credit, product and market information, technology and training in management skills and business development.

We are looking forward to more co-creators, to people who support us and spread this wonderful idea further! We would be delighted to have you with us! We thank you for your interest!

(1) Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig
(2) small and medium-sized enterprises