The co-operative movement has paid tribute to Paul Singer, economist and Brazil’s former Secretary of State for the Solidarity Economy, who passed away on 16 April in Sao Paulo, aged 86.
“With him, we lost a Brazilian who really had an important impact at the international level in the world of co-operativism and solidarity economy,” wrote the Alliance’s Director General Bruno Roelants in a letter to Brazilan members. “I will continue to think of him as an intellectual authority but also as a close interlocutor who always welcomed me with openness.”
In 2013, Dr Singer was a keynote speaker at the International Cooperative Alliance Conference in South Africa, and also at a joint ILO-UNRISD conference in Geneva, on the social and solidarity economy.
In 2012, he took part in a global conference on worker co-operatives organised by CICOPA, the Alliance's sectorial organisation for co-operatives in industry and services. It was held in Marseille, with 1,200 participants, for the International Year of Cooperatives.
Dr Singer laid the groundwork for the solidarity economy in Brazil, with ideas based on self-management, and was responsible for a development programme based on strengthening the internal market through the distribution of income.
In 2013, he explained that the solidarity economy has to do with a production, marketing and finance organisation that "privileges worker co-operation, self-management, and sustainability, considering the human being in its entirety as an active actor and an end in itself.”
Born in Austria in 1932, Paul Singer fled the Nazi persecution and arrived in Brazil in 1940, where he graduated in economics and later received his doctorate in sociology.
Photo credit: Agência Brasil and RIPESS