Solidarity Economics Projects
The Institute for Social Transformation at UC Santa Cruz, in partnership with the Equity Research Institute (ERI) at the University of Southern California, has been working on a theory, narrative, and policy platform of “Solidarity Economics.” Solidarity Economics is a new economic frame that is grounded in our instincts for connection and community while promoting a more robust, sustainable, and equitable economy. It recognizes that people are not just individuals, but also members of broader social groups and communities; that people are motivated not just by self-interest, but also by caring for others and a desire for belonging; and that we can and should build our economy not on an embrace of individuality and competition, but rather on a sense of the commons and our shared destiny. Our current economy is already deeply dependent on mutuality, but inequality and fragmentation undermine this mutuality—and thus our economic wellbeing.
The Institute for Social Transformation and the Equity Research Institute at USC have created a joint project called Solidarity Economics. This project draws on researchers, organizers, stakeholders, and policymakers to provide a vision for our economy; to identify opportunities, eliminate barriers, and promote new narratives to build a more inclusive economy. The book Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter by Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor provides a powerful blueprint for an equitable future. Learn more >>
With a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, the Institute for Social Transformation is conducting community-engaged research and community capacity-building work in the city of Salinas, located about 40 miles southeast of UC Santa Cruz. This includes partnering with the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative (SIEDI), a collective of nine community organizations, in an effort to shift the region’s economic landscape to reduce inequality and improve financial stability and quality of life for local families. Learn more >>
The Institute for Social Transformation, the Equity Research Institute (ERI) at USC, and PolicyLink, received a grant from the Sierra Health Foundation to help launch a Technical Assistance Resource Center for the Community Economic Mobilization Initiative (CEMI). Through this initiative, we will be developing trainings and tools for underserved and BIPOC-led community organizations to effectively engage in community economic development, policy advocacy, and power-building efforts aimed at leveraging public investments. Learn more >>
In collaboration with New Energy Nexus, the Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside, and the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the Institute for Social Transformation is conducting a detailed workforce analysis of employment opportunities and workforce development issues in the Lithium-Battery and Electric Vehicle supply chain. Rooted in the recovery of immense lithium reserves in the Salton Sea geothermal resource, the goal of this work is to contribute to building an inclusive innovation ecosystem for a fully integrated advanced battery and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing supply chain in Inland Southern California with public purpose and value at its core. Learn more >>
For more information on any of these projects, please contact Chris Benner, director of the Institute for Social Transformation firstname.lastname@example.org.