The Union of the Czech Producer Co-operatives, 2008.
Global economy based on the neo-liberalism contributes to the exclusion of certain groups of people who simply are not able to cope with the pace of the development, the requirements of the labour (and other) market(s) or the prevailing expectations and values in the society and its mainstream culture. These people are left behind the majority and become gradually socially excluded – marginalized. Social economy (SE) is a highly innovative approach in the way it is able to respond to the current social and economic challenges. It has many different faces in each country where it exists depending on the social and economic priorities and the disadvantaged groups in the area. The negative externalities caused by globalisation, the downfall of traditional welfare state, decreasing importance and traditional functions of families, ageing of most European societies, unemployment in the former industrial zones, increasing gap between the rich and poor, and the diminishing number of the ‘middle class’ – all of these problems are to a bigger or lesser extent present in all current European states.