Social Economy as a Sector


Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital

by John Restakis (published in 2010 by New Society Publishers)

Restakis & book

This book, partially based on BALTA supported research, explores how co-operative models for economic and social development can create a more equitable, just and humane future. With over 800 million members in 85 countries and a long history of linking economics to social values, the co-operative movement is the most powerful grassroots movement in the world. Its future as an alternative to corporate capitalism is explored through a wide range of real-world examples.

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The Resilience Imperative, Co-operative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

by Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty (published in 2012 by New Society Publishers; French translation, Impératif Transition: Construire une économie solidaire published in 2015 by les Éditions Écosociété; Korean translation published in 2015 by Tabi Publishing)

RI English version

This book is based upon research and reflection supported by BALTA during its initial research program from 2006-2012. It explored many of the themes that became central to BALTA’s work in its Scaling Innovation for Sustainability Project. With our communities confronted by major sustainability challenges, many linked to the impact of climate change, it argues for replacing the paradigm of limitless economic growth with a more decentralized, co-operative, steady-state economy.  It examines case studies of success in energy sufficiency, local food systems, low-cost community based financing, affordable housing and land reform.

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Order the book in French.

RI French version

Order the book in Korean.

Several parts of the book have been adapted into a series of online articles.  See:

Scaling Up: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability

edited by Dr. Mike Gismondi, Dr. Mary Beckie, Dr. Sean Connelly, Dr. Sean Markey and Dr. Mark Roseland (published in 2016 by Athabasca University Press)


The book examines the potential of the social economy to transform the systems that make our current ways of life unsustainable.All of the editors and many of the contributors were involved for many years in BALTA’s research programs and BALTA’s research infuses the book. As the case studies included in the book illustrate, organizations that are capable of harnessing the power of a social economy generally demonstrate a commitment to three outcomes: greater social justice, financial self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability. Within the matrix of these three allied principles lie new strategic directions for the politics of sustainability.

Order the book.  The book can also be downloaded for free in pdf form.