Although popular economy involves huge segments of populations, governments that promote inclusive country projects often underestimate it. They face the popular economy with limited initiatives without considering their size and complexity. The decision to mobilize the entire popular economy is of strategic importance, as the ordering machine of the functioning of the country, so that equity, dignity and productive power prevail.
Handouts do not serve popular economy and, nevertheless, it is what prevails. Neoliberal governments hypocritically make speeches but make few actions since they are only interested electorally in those who survive in the popular economy. They channel meager support for organizations related to their interests by manipulating public opinion. They support leaders who betray their constituents and profit from covert misdeeds with the complicity of certain media and sectors of the judiciary.
There are other popular governments committed to the popular economy, but, with few exceptions, they do not solve the structural situation of that population universe but only lessen serious problems with emergency responses. They do not know that behind poverty and shortages of all kinds nests a tremendous potential artfully blocked. Or, maybe they visualize it, but they do not know how to act.
This ignorance is part of the ideological bias of believing that first comes the growth of the already established economic system so that beneficial effects can spill off to the rest of society. In this way, dominant players are capitalizing on higher results without any guarantee that the concentration can be reversed. Because dominant forces maintain their compulsion to maximize profits by accumulating what they produce and a good part of what the rest of the weaker actors generate.
In this “expulsive growth,” the spillover-effect does not occur but instead inequality and social punishment are aggravated. Societies where powerful minorities live in opulence, evade taxes and, flee ill-gotten surpluses are consecrated, while popular and middle sectors in retreat survive in tremendous difficulties.
Substantive solutions and magnitude
These heartbreaking processes are not solved by small-time measures as the challenge is enormous. It is necessary to firmly support the popular economy for reasons of equity and also to add it to the social forces aimed at dismantling the mechanisms that sustain the process of concentration of wealth and decision-making power.
The mobilization of the entire popular economy reconfigures the national productive apparatus. Oligopolistic spaces find limits to their appropriating power with the presence, on the one hand, of new productive chains that dispute their market strips and, on the other, propped up with the mediation of the State, the popular economy could improve the conditions of insertion in existing chains for some of its segments. It is critical because the purpose of mobilizing the popular economy is to ensure its development and not to add it as a caboose of the dominators. It is worth making this explicit.
With powerful support instruments and the contribution of investment and credit, the popular economy can emerge productively from the subjugation to which it is subjected. As it does not constitute a homogeneous space, different segments will find different solutions
a. One segment of the popular economy may be inserted into existing value chains dominated by leading firms that concentrate the greatest results at the expense of the other participants in the chain. Hence, this modality of exit must be faced with the active mediation of the State to level the tremendous differences in power between leading companies and the rest. Something similar, or better, to the role played by grassroots States within collective bargaining of wages and working conditions.
b. Another segment of the popular economy may be inserted into new value chains of popular base. They would emerge combining the initiative of representative organizations of workers of the popular economy with the backup of an effective support system. This support system would act as a developer of new production chains. It would help, among other aspects, to identify promising opportunities, establish productive enterprises of the new chains, and accompany them until their consolidation, finance seed capital, and facilitate commercial credits.
Thus, for example, if it were the food production chain, the production, collection, transformation and marketing phases would be taken into account. Public or mixed trusts or investment funds would finance the initial or consolidation investment, and would fund financial institutions that provide operating credits. Production close to population centers would be promoted and, as far as possible, in addition to serving the domestic market, export and import substitution units would be explored.
c. A third segment of the popular economy can choose individual solutions that take advantage of small market niches. This segment will get the technical and financial assistance necessary to operate effectively and establish itself as supportive members of the popular economy.
From oppressed to builders of new horizons
The potential that nests in the popular economy is enormous. To the productive contribution we can add their influence to give way to a fairer and safer society. Including the popular economy in the full functioning of the country will help reverse the prevailing social fragmentation, which is certainly not easy and yet essential to address.
A key factor of the mobilizing process refers to recovering confidence and self-esteem in decision-making, to reinforce one’s own power to better relate to other social forces and to be able to sustain the necessary transformations. This includes prioritizing solidarity relationships that help develop collaborative social relationships, as opposed to everyone being “saved” only at the expense of others. The support required by the popular economy is an investment made by a society in search of a good life for all. It is not an expense since the contribution of resources is recovered with higher levels of activity and greater tax collection and social security contributions.
Dominators resist the full mobilization of the popular economy because when activated, progress is made towards the democratization of power, an essential sustenance to liberate democracies captured by powerful minorities. That is why they do not tolerate the popular economy taking off enlightened, powerful, organized.
Popular economy thus becomes the protagonist of building the new, in the front line and not cornered in despair. In this political search, it is necessary to have a State with the capacity to manage the complexity of interests that coexist in a country, making social welfare and environmental care prevail as a social ordering factor instead of profit.
In short, no more of the same! The required mobilization uses new paths and helmspersons to build the promising, away from mediocrity or stagnation. In moving towards a referential utopia respectful of Mother Earth and good living, care must be taken not to fall into new fundamentalisms. If you explore spaces that are less traveled, it will be inevitable to make mistakes due to the complexity of all social dynamics. On the other hand, although solidarity surrender open to recognizing vicissitudes will prevail, there will also be intrigues and pettiness that can cause unwanted deviations. That is why an inclusive country project is valued not only for its principles and declarations but also and especially for its determination to rectify what goes wrong to preserve the course so hard achieved.
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