Experiences of Social Economy in Poland, Ideas and Practices

Octobre 2008
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ICA  Research Conference, The Role of Co-operatives in Sustaining Development and Fostering Social Responsibility, Riva del Garda, Trento, Italy, 16-18 October 2008

Social economy has had a long tradition on the Polish territory, concerning the developing of co- operative movement in the second half of XIX centuries. Co – operative movement had created in this time whole system of social economy serving the national interests of Polish society under German empire. It was a thought about common economy, leading to support of Polish property in countryside and towns and the national life through establishing of libraries, reading – rooms, theatre’s assembles, chorus, orchestras. These patterns were multiplied on the other part of country, under Austria – Hungary and Russia occupation before 1918. These experiences were rich in the independent state the II Republic of Poland (1918 – 1939). During the II world’s war legal acting co – ops were the important part of The Polish Underground Country. Next, during over 40 years of the state of real socialism, co operative sector acted in the planned economy as a sector of so called “social economy”, strongly dependent from state authority without spirit authentic co – operative movement.