Published: Tuesday, 16 March 2010 10:43
Written by Gabriella Berloffa
Presentation given at a convention organized by the University of Trent, "Chiara Lubich: from Trent to the World"
Efficiency, competitiveness and solidarity in the Economy of Communion
Presentation by Gabriella Berloffa, Economics Department, University of Studies
Trent, 25 February 2010
As described by Luigino Bruni, "The Economy of Communion arose from an original intuition which Chiara Lubich had during her stay in a small town of the Focolare, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the end of May 1991. Flying over Sao Paulo, Chiara was struck by the extreme misery and the many favelas that surrounded the city like a "crown of thorns". The strength of her reaction was probably due to the enormous contrast between those huts (where even various people of her community lived) and the many luxurious skyscrapers... An intuition emerged from that experience: extend the dynamic of communion from individuals - that were already practicing it - to businesses, inviting entrepreneurs and shareholders to put their profits in common... In the very first days the idea was already better focused: business profits should be placed in communion according to three precise goals: a) to finance the business itself; b) to spread the so-called "culture of giving"; c) for the poor in contact with the Focolare community" (Bruni, 2004, p.20).
If the economy of communion limited itself to a free decision about the use of business profits, it would not represent in itself that "radical" alternative to the prevailing economic vision, an idea also underlined by a few authors (see Bruni, 2004; Zamagni, 2004).
See full document (in Italian)
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Published: Friday, 05 February 2010 08:41
Written by Benedetto Gui
As part of the day dedicated to the financial crisis during the 4th Buddhist-Christian Symposium
Financial Crisis and Wealth Disparity: the Role of a Renewed Economic Culture
Presentation by Benedetto Gui
Chiang Mai (Thailand), February 4, 2010
“People want meaning in their lives – the kind of meaning that comes only from knowing that you are doing your part to make our world a better place. … [This] is an aspect of human nature that is totally ignored in the existing business world.” (Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World without Poverty, p. 162).
“It must be remembered that the market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction..” (Encyclical letter Caritas in Veritate, §36)
The recent financial and economic crisis has caused widespread pains around the world. The prevailing attitude in the present phase of the crisis is one of impatient hope that the recovery will come soon, so we can go back to the previous state of affairs.
However, we must reflect on what has happened. The spark of the crisis has been the burst of the speculative bubble of American house prices. If we go deeper, we find that behind the scene of the crisis there are structural causes, such as the systematic excess of consumption of US households and inadequate financial regulations. However, if we go deeper still, a crucial question resurfaces, one that is more pressing than ever: is there anything systematically wrong in the economic system we live in that we must fix?
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