Low Touch Economy and Social Economy in Rural Heritage Rich Communities Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

  • Anamaria Bucaciuc Faculty of Economics and Public Administration, “Stefan cel Mare” University, Suceava, Romania
  • Gabriela Prelicean Faculty of Economics and Public Administration, “Stefan cel Mare” University, Suceava, Romania
  • Carmen Chașovschi Faculty of Economics and Public Administration, “Stefan cel Mare” University, Suceava, Romania
Keywords: Rural heritage, social economy, low touch economy, COVID-19 crisis


While rural communities have always struggled with factors like marginalisation, low entrepreneurial development, high unemployment, low education and poor health services, the COVID-19 crisis brings extra pressure by reducing close-contact interactions and by introducing travel and hygiene restrictions.  Cultural heritage has represented for many rural communities a competitive advantage in their economic development, either already exploited or seen as an opportunity. The problem of this process in the new COVID-19 context is represented by a demand and supply shock, caused by the stop of direct labour, high decrease of acquisitions and cease of travel. In these new economic and social circumstances, it is important to explore the way the COVID19 crisis impacts rural heritage rich communities and which are possible further actions in order to ensure a return to dynamic social and economic interactions. The present paper will bring into focus the concepts of Low Touch Economy and Social Economy as a support in dealing with these new economic and social conditions and will prospect possible intertwining between the two. Presented as a literature review and an exploration, the paper brings into focus the brand new concept of Low Touch Economy presented by Board of Innovation, a business design and innovation strategy firm located in Netherlands. 


[1] International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook, January 2020, Tentative Stabilization, Sluggish Recovery? World Econ Outlook. 2020;1–10.
[2] Bucaciuc A, Prelipcean G. Social entrepreneurship models for cherishing the rural architectural heritage. Architektur und Tourismus im Bauhausjahr 2019 – Weimar | Dessau | Berlin Conference P roceedings; 2019.
[3] World Health Organiziation. WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard [Internet]. 2020. Available from: https://covid19.who.int/
[4] Cucinotta D, Vanelli M. WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Acta Biomed. 2020; 91(1):157–60.
[5] Official Journal of the European Union. Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘The contribution of Europe’s rural areas to the 2018 Year of Cultural Heritage ensuring sustainability and urban/rural cohesion’ [Internet]. Brussels; 2018. Available from: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52018IE1641&rid=10
[6] OECD. Innovation and modernising the rural economy from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2012.
[7] Romanian American Foundation. RAF - Economie Rurala [Internet]. Available from: https://www.rafonline.org/strategic/economie-rurala/?cn-reloaded=1
[8] Bejan G, Budeș M, Iacob A. Distanțarea socială la țară. Cum respectă carantina totală oamenii din câteva sate din Giurgiu și Teleorman. HotNews.ro [Internet]; 2020; Available from: https://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-coronavirus-23766039-coronavirus-romania-cum-respecta-carantina-totala-oamenii-din-mediul-rural.htm
[9] FAO. COVID-19 and rural poverty: Supporting and protecting the rural poor in times of pandemic [Internet]. 2020. Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/ca8824en/CA8824EN.pdf
[10] Khan T. How covid-19 is impacting the rural market. The Financial Express [Internet]; 2020; Available from: https://www.financialexpress.com/brandwagon/how-covid-19-is-impacting-the-rural-market/1940102/
[11] Mendell M. Three pillars of the social economy. In: Amin A, editor. The social economy. II. London and New York: Zed Books; 2009. p. 176–207.
[12] Vlasceanu M. Economie sociala si antreprenoriat. O analiza a sectorului nonprofit. Polirom; 2010.
[13] Fantasia A. Unlocking the potential of the social economy is one way to ensure a COVID-19 recovery. Euronews [Internet]. 2020; Available from: https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/13/unlocking-the-potential-of-the-social-economy-is-one-way-to-ensure-covid-19-recovery-view
[14] Boart of Innovation. Welcome to the Low Touch Economy - Board of Innovation [Internet]; 2020. Available from: https://www.boardofinnovation.com/low-touch-economy/
[15] Chaşovschi C, Bordeianu O, Clipa D. Entrepreneurial Culture in Transition Economies. The case of Romania and Republic of Moldova. Procedia Econ Financ. 2014; 15(14):1507–14.
How to Cite
Bucaciuc, A., Prelicean, G., & Chașovschi, C. (2020). Low Touch Economy and Social Economy in Rural Heritage Rich Communities Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis. LUMEN Proceedings, 13, 398-409. https://doi.org/10.18662/lumproc/ncoe4.0.2020/36
Heritage and Regional Development. New Challenges and Opportunities