The Future of Social Services - Approaches to a Sustainable Social Economy

AuthorRaluca Mihalcioiu
PositionSenior Lecturer, PhD, Spiru Haret University, Romania
Performance and Risks in the European Economy
The Future of Social Services - Approaches
to a Sustainable Social Economy
Raluca M. Mihalcioiu
Abstract: Soc ial facilities a nd services are today more and more organized as modern service companies.
They are increasingly working with market mechanisms rules. The evaluation of performance and efficiency
controls the redistribution of funds to social security systems. The Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus
was awarded for giving microcredits t hat helped citizens of his country, to find a wa y out of poverty.
Sustainability is a key topic to the world ec onomy debate. Companies should not pursue the goal of profit
maximization, but they should solve the social problems of the world through their economic actions.
Currently 20 percent of the p eople in the world possess 83 percent of wealth, about 1.73 billion people l ive
below the poverty limit. In this review I present the concept of „ Social Economy“, underlying the way how to
optimize t he actions of social services providers to the needs of the citizens. The analysis starts fr om the
question of how national governments can regulate a nd subsidise s ervices in the public good and how the
civil society participate in decision making process on this issue.
Key-words: public economy; social services; sustainability; market; public good
JEL Classification: P31; J11; H5; M14
1. Introduction
The social sector is one of the largest economic activity. Usually, in the public discussions it is
perceived only as scandalous or as selfless-volunteer. Experts in politics, administration, science and
economy are concentrate on the issue of social services providers, how can they adjust their activity
according to people needs and how is this to achieve, how is to overcome the problems created by the
financial and economic crises.
This paper argues the difficulty to find a clear and conclusive definition for the concept of "social
economy". Different perspectives on some key i ssues and challenges in social economy are discussed,
with respect to the most important one: the shortage of skilled workers.
Important steps where made at the EU level, with regard to social economy organizations. In the
European Commission Communication "Creating a favourable climate for social enterprises, key
stakeholders in the social economy and innovation" (COM-2011-682 final) social enterprises are
identified with social economy. This represents an important issue in promoting support and
sustainability in the social economy sector.
2. The Concept
f "Social Economy"
The "social economy" is a branch of economics and deals with services for the benefit of the whole
society (individuals and collective). The focus is put on human services (social issues).
The term "social economy" goes back to the 19 century in Europe ( France), and it was present in
political, social and economic debates. It was the work of social reformers of that time who saw in the
Senior Lecturer, PhD, Spiru Haret University, Romania, Address: 13 Ion Ghica St., Bucharest, Sector 3, Romania, tel:
+4021455.10.00, Corresponding author:

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