Status of Social Economy Development in Seoul: A Case Study of Seoul

Global Social Economy Forum

Author +
Yeon Ah Kim and Taein Jung (Karl Polanyi Institute Asia), Eunae Lee (Seoul Social Economy Center)

Year: 2016

The Korean social economy has grown at a remarkable pace over the last few years, attracting attention from around the world. The number of social economy enterprises, of which there were a mere 501 as of the end of 2010, has multiplied exponentially since the enactment of the Framework Act on Cooperatives (FAC) in 2012, reaching 11,421 (including 1,506 certified social enterprises, 8,551 cooperatives, and 1,364 community enterprises) as of the end of 2015. In other words, the social economy in Korea, measured in terms of the number of actors and enterprises involved, has multiplied by over 22 times in less than five years since the Korean government began to provide policy support. If we counted nonprofit corporations and organizations that strive to realize social values through economic activities, such as rehabilitation enterprises, rural community companies, and other enterprises catering to the employment of severely disabled persons, the scope of the social economy would grow even wider. Seoul alone is home to 23.2 percent of all Korean social economy enterprises (260 certified social enterprises, 2,267 cooperatives, and 119 community enterprises, total 2,646 enterprises), leading the development and progress of the social economy nationwide.

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This report summarizes and explains the findings of the Study on the Social Economy Policies of the 25 Self-Governing Boroughs of Seoul, which the Karl Polanyi Institute Asia (KPIA) implemented in the first half of 2016 upon request from the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF). The purpose of the study was to ascertain the current status of social economy policy practices of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the 25 self-governing boroughs making up the city, and to assess the environment and issues surrounding the social economy in each borough. The goal was to research and analyze how the social economy model conceived by the SMG has been implemented in each borough and to what extent the social economy of Seoul has progressed.

This report also summarizes some of the major social economy policy initiatives in Seoul as well as a section of the results of an opinion poll. It would be a daunting task to provide a comprehensive and detailed evaluation and analysis of the entire social economy of Seoul. This study nonetheless provides a helpful overview of the main concerns and issues characterizing the Seoul social economy and related policy measures. Before we proceed to a detailed analysis, we need first to understand the basic structure and system of the social economy policy in Korea.

Table of Contents

Infographics : Social Economy of Seoul

Social Economy of Seoul
Social Economy Policy in Korea
Local Social Economic Ecosystem Development Project (LSEEDP)
Infrastructure for the Social Economy in Seoul
Current Policy Issues Relating to the Seoul Social Economy
Outro: the Possibility of a “Seoul Model”

Seoul’s Social Economy Policy (2011-2015): Achievements and Challenges
Seoul’s social economy policy: achievements over the past five years
Fostering an ecosystem for greater self-sufficiency
Enhancing the autonomy and capabilities of the social economy
Developing platforms for solving local problems
Leading the creation of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF)
Improving the efficiency of fiscal support