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Institutional and Solidarity Economics: Compatible Paradigms

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)

Hosted By: Association for Evolutionary Economics & Association for Social Economics
  • Chair: Gary Dymski, University of Leeds

Restricting Suffrage, Contracting Rights: Variations on Polanyi's "Double Movement"

Ann Davis
Marist College


Polanyi (1944) analyzed a “double movement” of society against the market in the nineteenth century. In our populist moment of the twenty-first century, we may be witnessing a movement in the other direction, of defenders of the market against the welfare state. A key method of implementing such a strategy is the motive of protecting “electoral integrity,” which may be in fact a rationale for restricting suffrage, especially among African American voters in central cities. The narrative of the stolen election of 2020, promoted by former President Donald J. Trump, may be providing the cover for targeting specific populations to disenfranchise them. Whereas expansion of suffrage in the nineteenth century was a method of supporting the working class, an opposite movement of contraction of suffrage may empower efforts to dismantle the welfare state and whatever is remaining of progressive taxation. The prospective costs of climate change, inequality, and inadequate provision of public goods like health and education may have led the “elites” to eschew any rhetoric of solidarity (Latour 2017). There is an expanding literature documenting increasing polarization of political parties and expressing fears for the future of electoral democracy. While the ravages of neoliberalism might otherwise have been expected to propel a movement to defend society once again, the prospect at present may be to “double down” on defense of the market, to achieve a new form of authoritarian minority governance. According to Latour, a durable movement for the protection of society must build an alliance of labor with ecologists, to defend the earth, which forms the material foundation of Polanyi’s other fictional commodity, land.

An Institutionalist Interlocution with Bernard Maris for the Transformation of France's Occitanie

Natalia Bracarense
North Central College and Sciences Po-Toulouse


An admirer of John Maynard Keynes and an advocate of a historically grounded economic theory, the French economist, Bernard Maris, investigated the possible emergence of alternative monetary, productive, and distributive institutional arrangements for a more just economy. Based on a dialogue between institutional economics and Bernard Maris, the present paper aims at proposing general guidelines for the construction of plan of local development for the region of Occitanie—Maris’s native region, located in the Southwest of France—towards a more equitable and inclusive society on the regional, individual, and geo-economic levels. The study borrows Karl Polanyi’s (2944 [2001]) lens to envision a possible reduction of dependency in each one of those three level through the process of decommodification of money, labor, and land, respectively. Such a framework seems adequate to the understanding of a region of Occitanie due to the great diversity and a high level of socio-economic and geographic disparity among the thirteen departments that compose it (Insee 2018). In fact, planning regional and urban transformation in such a heterogeneous setting—especially in the current context of the sanitary crisis, climate change, and information technology revolution—requires the rebuttal of obsolete patterns of thought, to give place to a framework that allows for the analysis of specificities (being them departmental, territorial, and/or social).

Land, Remittances, and Transnational Households: Provisioning, Nature, and Neoliberal Fictitious Commodities

Kalpana Khanal
Nichols College
Zdravka Todorova
Wright State University


We continue our application and feminist extensions of Karl Polanyi’s concept of fictitious commodities in the context of neoliberal promotion of remittances as development flows, international labor migration, and the emergence of the institution of transnational households (Khanal and Todorova 2019; 2020). The paper connects the international fictitious labor commodity and financialized remittances to institutional changes regarding land usage, ownership, and debt. Our discussion of land refers to agriculture, nature, and real estate. We bring in cases from Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe to continue the story of the Great Transformation of neoliberal fictitious commodities of land, remittances, and chains of labor and care on a global scale, in relation to social provisioning, inequities, and environmental degradation. The paper exemplifies the connectedness of nature, finance, labor, commodity chains, care, social inequities, politics, and global creditors’ governance in provisioning for life within neoliberalism.

Identity, Community and Reciprocity: The Commons of Cacahuatepec, Guerrero

Karol Gil Vasquez
Nichols College and Boston University


The development agenda creates a vertical structure of communication among those who are considered ‘customers’ of modernization and those who dictate ‘best practices’ to achieve economic growth. The neoliberal crisis accelerates from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the post-COVID-19 reality, a period when social conflict and political instability ignites change, bringing along alternative paradigms of communication. With the purpose of replacing the verticality of a condescending discourse for more inclusive strategies, horizontal and democratic structures of communication are in need to approach entire communities that have been placed at the margins in the last decades, and as a result demand their experiences along their perceptions to be heard. This article presents the results of the first “Dialogo Igualitario” (Horizontal Dialogue) that took place among seven communities from Cacahuetepec, Guerrero with students and academics from the Autonomous University of Guerrero, and local leaders, an initiative sponsored by Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). The data collected through focus groups provides material to analyze elements of contemporary rural identity. That is, a construction of an identity that sets apart from the canons of development. With the purpose of rescuing Cacahuatepec’s cultural fabric, the analysis presents the cultural strengths of seven rural communities. The study sheds light on the social and cultural structure that can expand the room for developing a Social and Solidarity Economy (S.S.E), including an alternative monetary system, a type of economic system that aligns to the theoretical treads of institutional economics as it pertains to countries in the Global South.

The Re-embeddedness of the Economy by Minority Women in the Global South

Luciane Lucas dos Santos
University of Coimbra


This paper debates the way women from the Global South have re-embedded the everyday economy by fostering reciprocity and community redistribution in the lack of adequate welfare policies. Departing from a feminist reading of Polanyi’s work (Hillenkamp and Lucas dos Santos, 2019), I argue that inequalities should be more analyzed through intersectional lenses in order to better understand the connections between everyday material constraints and the intertwining of different social markers. Similarly, women’s contribution towards resilient communities needs further development in both Feminist Economics and Solidarity Economy studies.

I also debate the political dimension of this process of re-embeddedness, following some solidarity economy solutions framed by peripheral and minority women in Brazil in the face of constraints in care support, availability of resources, or food sovereignty. Through these women-led community arrangements, I argue that Feminist Economics, on one side, but also Social Economy and Voluntary Sector, on the other, should pay more attention to the economic value of other principles rather than market exchange when addressing either inequality or resilience in peripheral communities.

To support my argument, I draw on the Polanyian framework as well as on challenging perspectives on Feminist Economics (Brewer, Conrad & King, 2002; Rio, 2012; Constance-Huggins, 2011; Hillenkamp & Lucas dos Santos, 2019) and Postcolonial Thought (Zein-Elabdin, 2017; Brah & Phoenix, 2004). By questioning some universalized ideas on development and well-being, and having in mind a situated analysis, I argue that the political dimension of the domestic domain has been neglected by the mainstream Feminist Economics, despite its concern with the economic value of the (re)productive work.

Towards an Instrumental Money-Credit Form: Consequences, Challenges, Novelties and Possibilities

John Nicolarsen
University of Denver


The objective of this paper is to conceptualize and specify the essential properties of novel instrumental money-credit form designed to promote ecological, humanitarian, and technological harmony for a just transition away from our current mix of economic systems. After a brief discussion of theories of value, a critique of the current capitalist money-credit form, and consideration of alternative historical money-credit forms and their concomitant provisioning dispensations and dynamics, the paper moves to articulate a theory of money and money-credit form as a foundational animating feature for an analytically distinct a priori humanist and scientific-technological provisioning arrangement to redress humankind’s use and impact on the Earth system. Once advanced, the consequences of the instrumental money of account or “measuring rod” will be traced, including the possibilities for a noninvidious (intersectional) primitive accumulation; the decommodification of labor power (wage labor) and the possibilities for a new and distinct labor form (“labor efficacy”); and, a novel theory of profits for an alternately conceived and specified monetary production economy. A brief substantiation of the theory of money and money-credit form will be undertaken via a rhetorical (demonstrative) accounting system with qualitatively distinct accounting categories, properties and measurement indicators. In sum, the results look to sketch a just transitory adjustment path from the current ceremonial capitalist money-credit form and price-competition system to an instrumental price-coordination system denominated in a supranational ecological-economic money-credit form, one that bears a functional or consequential relationship with the scientific-technological efficiency of humankind’s shared provisioning capacities. The paper will close with a further discussion and critique of the likely consequences of the novel value, money, labor and accounting framework, largely from the perspectives of Institutional, Ecological, Feminist, and Solidarity Economics.
JEL Classifications
  • B5 - Current Heterodox Approaches
  • F0 - General