Social Business, Solidarity and Global Justice

Ikemoto, Yukio (1); Charoenphandhu, Narissara (2) (2016). 'Social Business, Solidarity and Global Justice' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

The globalization seems to change our world in two different directions. One is to connect people through ICT (information and communication technology) and global market. Another one is to disconnect people by the market. For example, we know less and less about how and by whom the products that we consume are made. Many people don’t care however the farmers in the remote area may be suffered from poverty. Even if globalization may have increased inequality between the rich and the poor and poverty in the world, they become less and less visible. In order to remove injustice such as poverty and inequality, we need to know more about the situation of people as Sen suggested in his The Idea of Justice. Capability approach is to change and broaden our informational basis from market to human being itself. But this is not enough if we want remove global injustice. We need to expand our informational base geographically. In other words, we are trying to solve the problems by connecting people who were separated from each other by the market mechanism, which is called solidarity in this paper.
This kind of activities can be found in various aspects of our life, taking very different forms, which may be categorized as Solidarity Economy in the sense that people are united to solve problems by connecting people. For Japanese people, the sentiment to help those who suffered from the earthquake and tsunami was culminated just after the East Japan Earthquake of March11, 2011, though the sentiment was decayed gradually. It seems our human nature that we help people who are suffering. This is true not only in a small community such as micro credit but also globally between the people in developed and developing countries. For example, micro credit of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is based on small groups to help each other to repay the debt, which is very different form the self-interested economic man in microeconomics.
Another example is organic farming which emphasizes face-to-face relationship between farmers and consumers. Consumers want to know more about the way how the products are grown, which cannot be known in the market, and farmers want consumers to know more about the situation of famers and environment. Therefore they need direct relationship.
Our solidarity can be expanded globally. The fair-trade is a way to connect people (consumers) in developed countries and people (farmers and workers) in developing countries. Without the label of fair-trade we have little information of the farmers, their poverty and environment. The label takes the role to connect people.
Based on these cases, we will discuss how connectedness enhances our sense of justice through sympathy in the sense of Adam Smith.
Keywords: Amartya Sen, The Theory of Justice, capability approach, solidarity economy, microcredit, organic farming, fair trade
Matsui Noriatsu and Ikemoto Yukio, eds. Solidarity Economy and Social Business: New Models for a New Society,  Springer, 2015.
Sen, A. 2009 The Idea of Justice. London: Penguin.

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