Chapter 9: Moral economy and human economy
Open access

The concept of moral economy was introduced by the historian E.P. Thompson as "a consistent traditional view of social norms and obligations, of the proper economic functions of several parties within the community". And James C. Scott recaptures the moral economy for "peasant conceptions of social justice, of rights and obligations, of reciprocity". It has been used in different social and human sciences and, as other authors like Didier Fassin mention, this approach of economics, different from the mainstream, is relevant for the past but also for the present. One of its forms today is a human economy characterized by the fact that it is made and remade by people in their daily lives taking into account the institutional complexity and based on a more holistic conception of the world and society. So the social and solidarity economy (SSE) can be considered as a kind of human economy emphasizing the values and roles of democratic solidarity-based practices as well as long term links between human and non-human beings. Mainstream economics seems inappropriate for the ecological and social challenges of the 21st century. That is why the moral economy acquires a current pertinence which is empirically supported by the existence of SSE, understood as a human economy that offers both protection and emancipation.

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