Profiling Tepehua – September 2023

INVESTOPEDIA 2022 explained the meaning of social capitalism as follows: Social Capitalism allows a group of people to work together effectively to achieve a common purpose, it allows an organization such as a cooperative or non-profit to function together as a whole through trust and shared identity.

In 2016 Victor Manuel Isadro Luna wrote: The failure of capitalism in the vast majority of the third world became apparent through 1960/70 because countries with high growth rate experienced an increase of inequality and poverty.

The ideology of Social Capitalism is not new to México as it was the country’s ideology from 1920 to 1982, largely under the direction of then-President José Guillermo Abel López Portillo y Pacheco, and the condition of México today is perfect to move towards those ideals again.

The idea of Social Capitalism has worked thus far for the Tepehua Community Center when Covid was turning our world upside down in 2022. Out of necessity a reverse osmosis distribution center was installed to get potable water to those under the poverty line. To make this work effectively it was turned over to the people to run themselves, those who participate in and own the cooperative. After all expenses the profit is shared.

The same applies to the laundry business. The clothes are collected in the Tepehua Treasures bazaar and all the labor done at the center where industrial machines were installed, again, after expenses, all profits are shared by the participants. Everyone benefits as these little cooperatives become sustainable.

As a nonprofit, the Tepehua Treasures Bazaar is not quite the same. Treasures is run totally on voluntarism and donations.  After overhead, all profit goes to the Tepehua Center to cover the cost of free medical consultation, dentistry, maternal health care, education, etc., except for a little compensation given to the local women workers. The contents of the store relies totally on the donations of the public, who are the actual providers to the center itself. Your trash becomes our treasure and it provides the money to sustain the center, allowing all the services to the people with very little charge. Without the participation of the public, Tepehua Community Center would no longer be self-sustaining. The beneficiaries themselves take care of the maintenance of the center.

Social Capitalism allows two ideals to work together for the benefit of all, two ideals embracing and supporting each other. Socialism on its own rejects capitalism as does communism. Socialism and communism have similar ideals but are not entirely the same. Capitalism is needed for the socioeconomics that is the foundation of any country. History has proven that no given ideal works well on its own, it needs the support of another to make an even balance, an “even playing field.”

So it all boils down to the participation of the society as a whole, we the people, working together, turning a little trash into treasure and making a whole village sustainable. Who would have thought?

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Moonyeen King
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