Published: Sunday, 19 March 2017 08:00
Written by Antonella Ferrucci
An observatory that looks at poverty and development through the "lenses" of "reciprocity". An interview with Luca Crivelli, scientific coordinator and Licia Paglione, operations manager of OPLA.
Until recently, the Economy of Communion (EoC) has been mainly known as an initiative for companies to share their wealth to promote the advancement of people living in poverty. However, the EoC has a broader goal: to change the heart of the capitalist economic system, starting from one of its contradictions: the growth of wealth alongside the increase in poverty and inequality. As expressed in a slogan, the goal is to "do away with poverty", that particular form of poverty "suffered", through the appreciation and promotion of another form of it, poverty "chosen" by people, primarily entrepreneurs, who decide to share the wealth they produce with others who are more in need.
Luca Crivelli, is it from this attention to the phenomenon of poverty that the decision of creating the Leo Andringa Obsevatory of Poverty (OPLA) derives?
Yes, OPLA was born from the need to "monitor" the EoC's results in the fight against poverty, and not only from a material, but also from a relational point of view, and in terms of the capacity that the profits transformed into aid against poverty have in producing valuable relationships, "relational goods" for those who receive them. OPLA - the Observatory of Poverty, is an international research centre, named after Leo Andringa, one of the protagonists of the EoC passed away recently, because of the attention he paid to the subject of poverty throughout his life.
Why is it important for the actions taken against poverty to pay attention to "relational goods", too?
In recent years the concept of poverty has been seen in a more and more complex way, also related to the quality of the relationships lived. The EoC has this attention in its DNA, being born of a cultural vision that aims to create more fraternal social relations on a global level. From this vision OPLA aims to work to highlight the dynamics of using the profits of the EoC companies for projects fighting poverty, for the presence of the elements necessary to create high-quality relationships, or the presence of "reciprocity" and the ability to give also in those who receive - indispensable elements to create "relational goods" or social relationships that can be called "brotherly".
Licia Paglione, what will be the activities of the Observatory?
OPLA will develop research and popular science activities to learn about and improve the results of actions to combat poverty supported and promoted within the EoC, and to deepen the cultural, managerial and organizational aspects it has matured in the 25 years of its existence. Concretely, in this first period OPLA will work to define an information system to monitor the results of actions to combat poverty implemented internationally. It will then carry out research projects aimed at analysing specific subjects, such as: relational effects of aids, aid strategies inspired by the enhancement of reciprocity, the definition of a "development of communion". Finally it will disseminate the results of its work, organising meetings and study days, in dialogue with the international scientific community, especially with scholars who are attentive to the relational component.
L'Edc lancia l'Osservatorio sulla povertà by Chiara Andreola