n-31EoC Newsletter

Cover31_ridEconomy of Communion - a new culture
n.31 - may 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

An inclined plane

An inclined plane

By Alberto Ferrucci
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010 

Alberto_FerrucciMany are touched by the fact that EoC businesses allocate profits for those in need and also for the spreading of a new humanism; others object because they say that this practice is not new. Another person, reading the EoC report about profits was astonished because if the shared profits are divided by the number of businesses, the average result of each one’s contribution is meager.

And yet, the cultural impact of the commitment, passion and witness of the EoC entrepreneurs, businesses and scholars on today's society cannot be denied. It is this impact that led Benedict XVI to mention the economy of communion in his encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. Evidently, the simple sum of shared profits does not completely describe the development of the project and just how precious this way towards fraternal economy is for humanity.

In fact, in 1991, Chiara Lubich's proposal to share profits was not launched in a generic way to all people but to those people who already shared the culture of giving. These were people who were trying to become saints where life's circumstances and their work had brought them. They were already practicing agape: loving first with hope, without expecting the other to love in return.

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The Economy of Giving

The Economy of Giving

By Chiara Lubich
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._04_Chiara_Lubich"Unlike the consumer economy 
based on a culture of having, 
the Economy of Communion 
is the economy of giving.  

This could seem difficult,
arduous, heroic.  
But it is not, because the human person, 
made in the image of God who is love, 
finds fulfillment 
precisely in loving, in giving.  

This need to love lies in the deepest core
of our being, whether we are believers 
or not.

And in this affirmation, 
supported by our experience, 
is where lies the hope of the universal spread
of the economy of communion."

Rocca di papa, November 10, 1991

Buddhism and the EoC in dialogue

Buddhism and the EoC in dialogue

By Benedetto Gui
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._05_Benedetto_Gui_"We're in danger of longing for the past,” Teresa Ganzon whispered to me. She is also one of the guest speakers invited to give voice to the Economy of Communion at the 4th Buddhist-Christian Symposium, held in February near Chang Mai, in northern Thailand.

After a first day of rich dialogue centered on the current collapse in values, the second day, dedicated to the topic of contemporary humanity’s suffering, brought a vein of pessimism that started to seep into the hall about the future. An American speaker, from a Protestant church, was able to reverse the situation. He invited everyone to look ahead, "The past is behind us. Now, together, we need to understand how to face the new problems that have arisen." It was the turning point. Nissho Takeuchi, a spiritual leader who is followed by many Japanese business managers, took the microphone to thank him. "You are right," Mr. Takeuchi said. "Our role as carriers of spiritual values is not to defend our religion from new cultural tendencies, attempting to knock down the others. We need to attentively analyze our responsibilities and collaborate together, to help humanity, which will continue to go ahead."

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The entrepreneur and poverty

The entrepreneur and poverty

Luigino Bruni
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

100525_bruni2"Blessed are the poor" is one of the phrases of the Gospel that is addressed to everyone, as are all phrases of the Gospel. There is beatitude, blessedness, in poverty. But what type of blessedness, and why?

It's clear that not all conditions of life which we call poverty, either yesterday or today, are blessed or happy. In fact, the poverty of exclusion, of both present and future radical insecurity, the absence of rights and of freedom, are certainly not happy states. So then, what kind of poverty is or can become a beatitude?

I believe that there is a condition, mostly spiritual, that impedes us from feeling secure and self-sufficient without having to depend on anyone and anything. When we no longer feel fragile and in need of help, when a bank account and secure job give us (or promise us) self-sufficiency and independence from others, then we are no longer those poor that the Gospel calls "blessed".

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Love the other´s business as your own

Love the other´s business as your own

By Andréa Cruz
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._08_UnibenUNIBEN Fomento Mercantil Ltda is an invoice factoring business that began in 1998 to provide financial services specifically to EoC businesses. Located in the Spartaco Business Park (Cotia, Brazil), Uniben has three employees and regularly serves 15 businesses.
"This type of service," says Maria Conceição Francischinelli, director of Uniben, "gives us the chance to share the difficulties of the individual businesses. Our experience is based on the proposal to love the other's business as our own."
This premise, which can appear be to almost unrelated to a business that provides financial services, can be considered the essence of the EoC project and its identity. The EoC is a project that arises from love and makes love become, little by little, an economic category.

A new understanding of profits
According to the rationality of communion, profits, although an important goal, are not the ultimate scope of entrepreneurial activity. Rather, they are a means for establishing communion. In this way, what matters most is not the maximization of financial profits but their optimization. For Uniben, the fact that an EoC business can continue to work thanks to its services is considered a profit.

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The EoC in Eastern Europe

The EoC in Eastern Europe

By Maja Calfová
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._10_Maja_Calfova_2
Listening to a piece of music, one can understand the beauty of the music, which depends not only on the melody played by the various instruments, but also by the pauses that they take. The pauses are not "heard", but they temper the melody. Without these pauses, the music would not have its color and feel. The tempo of a pause is important. It is a silent passage. 
In the same way, the countries in Eastern Europe are in concert with the worldwide EoC. In their history, there is a passage.

The beginnings
In 1991, when the EoC was born, the countries of Eastern Europe were just re-emerging from a political regime where freedom did not exist. Josef Veselý1 from the Czech Republic writes, "But the basis for the idea of the EoC existed. Chiara gave us a very important orientation in the world of economy that began to develop. There was a thirst for information, for experiences. We studied the Encyclical, Centesimus Annus, and it was like seeing the EoC in a mirror."

The new governments made reforms in all areas of civil life. Structures were modified, new institutions were born. Everything was done with the same people as there were "yesterday". These same people who did not know how the market functions but were tasked with creating the rules to govern it.

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Communion in the business

John Mundell from the United States, Teresa Ganzon from the Philippines, and Armando Tortelli from Brazil tell how they live "communion" in their businesses.

Communion in the business

By Monia Unali
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

John Mundell of Indianapolis runs a consulting firm in the field of environmental reclamation. How do you live communion in your business?
"My" experience is really the fruit of the collective commitment of North American EoC entrepreneurs trying to figure of how to articulate this communion where we are, within the business but also with many groups outside of it, with those in need, with youth, with our suppliers and customers, but also with the local community, in the geographic area around the business. N31_Pag._12_John_Mundel_camicia_gialla_
When I was a business of one person, fifteen years ago, communion was easy, because I was alone. But as we added collaborators and employees each year, the style of how we lived communion adapted. At the beginning, when the company was small, that communion was one-on-one. It was loving the person God puts next to me in the present moment.
As the business and the number of employees grew, it became more difficult to have that daily, personal interaction with each employee, and it then became important to create a structure that would encourage and stimulate communion especially when we began to hire people who did not know anything about the inspiration of the EoC project and who had very different backgrounds and ethnic and religious characteristics. What were the values of our business? It was important to live to make them clear.

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Proximity and development

Proximity and development

By Andréa Cruz
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._08_Andra_CruzFrom January 30 to February 6, 2010, 125 people from across Brazil met in Belém, located along the mouth of the Amazon River, at the Formation Seminar on Cooperation Projects for Development, promoted by the International Commission of the Economy of Communion (EoC). Participants included experts from Action for a United World (AMU), Action for New Families (AFN) and Youth for a United World (YFUW). The program included topics on globalization, the logic of the market, cooperation for development, the encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate”, the concept of poverty, and the profiles and roles of the associations promoting the seminar. There were also workshops on cooperation for development, including talks on the paradigms of communion, those who are involved in it and the methods for its application. 
It was an important event that is part of a wider context of experiences lived in the field of solidarity since the beginning of the Focolare Movement. In fact, since the beginning of the first Focolare community in Trent, in the 1940s, one of the first imperatives was resolving the social problems of the city, exhausted by the war.

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From Polo Lionello

From Polo Lionello

By Aurelia Nembrini and Nada Maffoni
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

Sunday, April 18, while visiting the small town of Loppiano, 350 visitors from all the Italian zones went to the Polo to know more about the Economy of Communion project. "Communion and Fraternity in Work" was the title of the day. In four different areas of the building, guests were able to get to know the working experience there through the accounts of some entrepreneurs and employees, concrete facts.

On April 26, on the 500th anniversary of Adriano Olivetti´s death, a conference was held, titled, "The Idea of Community in Business Behavior". The meeting was proposed by the Vita 100426_Olivetti_01Eudaimonica Associations and it´s president, Alberto Peretti, scholar of Olivettian thought. Olivetti was an illuminated entrepreneur, and his key concepts were illustrated during the meeting. Prof. Peretti highlighted how the businesses at the Polo, depending on the Economy of Communion, are leading the economy of the future - one that is capable of founding itself on the idea of life worth being lived, where work is not just a chance for economic growth but also a motor of a more worthy world.
There is need to introduce new energy onto the market,which is possible by grafting in the logic of gift, of gratuitousness. "Doing business means be moved by what one does," said Peretti to the audience at the meeting. "In small, with our businesses, we can change the world."
Authenticity is asked of both the entrepreneur and his business idea, in which spiritual strength must also have a place.
The economist Luigino Bruni highlighted the attitude of making a community on which to base the Economy of Communion, as well as the importance that should be given to a few values held fundamental by the business: love for beauty, vocation to be an entrepreneur, the capacity to formulate a business plan where the search of happiness plays a very important role, and feeling part of a greater community that can change one´s own city.

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Ten Years of Tergon

Years that have been anything but comfortable, but yes, happy, in this "multicultural" business

Ten Years of Tergon

By Giuseppe Argiolas
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N30_Giuseppe_ArgiolasWaldemar Silfest, previously a bank director, and Georg Endler, with experience in the office furniture business, are among the founders of the business that began around 2000, initially with 200,000 Swiss francs from about 100 shareholders, residents of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Eqypt and Romania.
The formula chosen was that of a financial institution, Tergon Spa, which would place the necessary capital at the disposal of the operative company, Tergon Srl, to carry out the production of high-standard ergonomic chairs.
Right away, founders decided that the business would adhere to the Economy of Communion project. Georg Endler remembered, "In Tergon Srl´s statutes, we decided that profits would not only serve for business development and earnings for Tergon Spa shareholders but also to help those in need and to support the School of formation at Montet."

Montet is the international small town of the Focolare Movement located in Switzerland, begun with the special purpose of forming youth and the less young to a culture of communion. The business is located in Montet to offer a paid job to the youth that stay there for around a year.

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The EoC in Singapore

The EoC in Singapore

By J. Nicolas Iturralde Vasco
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._20_Lawrence_Chong_-_Gim_Lee_-_Jeffrey_Chiu_-_Rawi_AhmedThe small country of Singapore could be defined as the Switzerland of Asia. In spite of the crisis in the last few years, noticeable in the hundreds of small and large boats stopped in their paths in the harbor, waiting for maritime traffic to resume, the city continues to grow with always more modern and bold buildings, and with tourism facilities that adjust to the tumultuous economic development of surrounding cities.

The Economy of Communion has also arrived here, with Gelato Sole, a business specialized in ice cream and begun by an Italian EoC entrepreneur, Luigi Nodari, and his children. In Italy, the Nodaris run their business, the Baia Azzurra Hotel and an ice cream shop, on the edge of Garda Lake.

Another business is Focus Pte Ltd, which is four years in running in the import-export business. Now, it is orienting itself as a Business of Equity and Solidarity to help the areas of Indonesia that were hit by the tsunami. It commercializes very beautiful batik hand paintings, produced in the village of Yogyakarta, by the "Hasta Kancana" cooperative, which begun thanks to a project developed by Action for a United World.

Finally, there is also Consulus (www.consulusgroup.com), a business specialized in business strategy with clients in the USA, China, India and Australia, and offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

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Twelve New EoC Theses

Twelve New EoC Theses

By Antonella Ferrucci
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

n28_pag._11_antonella_ferrucciThere are 12 new graduate theses that we want to present in this issue. Among them, 5 are undergraduate degrees, 1 is an old-order four-year degree, 5 are specializations and 1 is a doctorate thesis. The areas of study are various as always, including even sociology and languages among the predominantly economic and business-economy related fields. In particular, a few of the theses concentrated on analyses of bookkeeping in EoC businesses, with the daring intention of reading between the lines of the profit and loss accounts. A few theses concentrated on the importance of relationships in the EoC experience, on the humanization of economy and on the realization of the person who accomplishes real experiences of humanizing business activity. And finally, there are some interesting analyses - done through questionnaires given to the businesses - of the coherence between Mission and Governance in EoC businesses, a study of EoC businesses in times of crisis and the analysis of a nexus between theoretical suppositions of Civil Economy and practical realization of EoC businesses.

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What's New on www.edc-online.org

The EoC website continues to grow and acts always more as a "business card" for the Economy of Communion in the world

What's New on www.edc-online.org

By Antonella Ferrucci
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._24_Antonella_FerrucciThe number of visits (more than 115,000 in one year) and the requests on how to adhere to the project have risen. Many people write to the site to share their thanks for rediscovering hope in a better world. This is why the site intends to always be "worthy" of the project that it wants to present, giving space and voice to all its facets. Translations continue with teamwork in order to keep the site up-to-date and translated, and the relationships with the various zones are truly beginning to work as they send news about events and local initiatives and reports on how these went.

In the last few months, two new categories have been created in the publications menu, which are becoming some of the most visited pages of the site - those with video and podcast postings. Among the submenus in the video menu, one can find "Convention Presentations" and the very recent "Portraits of Entrepreneurs", where it is possible to listen to the experience of being EoC entrepreneurs directly through the voices of the protagonists.

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Trust and Dialogue


In Dealing with Communion in Business, how to go against "management-itis"

Trust and Dialogue

By Anouk Grevin
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._25_Anoulk_GrevinI'm doing a doctorate in Management at the University of Nantes and am part of an interdisciplinary research team that studies the impact of the multiplication of new managing instruments on the suffering or well-being of workers. We carry out research with a "action-research" qualitative approach, that is, consulting, requested by the directors of the businesses studied.

We carry out interviews with all employees, of every type and level. Initially, we observe their work, and then after having analyzed the gathered data, we present a picture of the situation to a group of managers and selected employees to look for suitable solutions together. Right now, my job is to study organizations in the health sector: clinics, treatment centers, etc.
What emerged from the first two organizations that we studied was the cry of workers highlighting how there is no longer any communication. Everyone underlined the lack of listening. Employees tell us that managers are so busy that they no longer see the work they carry out, the problems they meet.
And yet, leaders do everything to communicate, to develop participative management, with many meetings and group work. But in the end, there is no dialogue. An abundance of information has taken the place of communication, of relationship.

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The Many Characteristics of the Market

The Many Characteristics of the Market

By Giampietro Parolin
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._26_Lethos_del_mercatoLuigino Bruno has been researching the nature of human relationships for some time. He did this as economist, looking at the different forms of reciprocity that touch on economic happenings. He amplified the gaze of the social scientist onto the relationship between economy and happiness. He launched himself forward in that dark but also luminous territory of fully involving relationships that touch on all sectors of life, trampled on by wounds and blessings.

The reader that has not followed the intellectual journey of our author through some of his more notable texts - The Economy of Happiness and the Others (2004), Reciprocity (2006), The Wound of the Other (2007), to name a few -  will find a sort of compendium of his production in this selection.
Starting from the title, one can intuit that "ethos" and "ethics" share the same Greek root, but while "ethos" means "basic moral attitude of people", "ethics" instead means the theory regarding moral attitudes. Therefore, speaking of market ethos means employing oneself in the characteristics of the market, its temperament.

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Utopia in Action

Utopia in Action

By Alberto Ferrucci
From "Economy of Communion - a new culture" N.31 - May 2010

N31_Pag._27_Lutopia_in_azioneIn the early 90s, I was coordinator of international relations for the Economy of Communion project. Hundreds of businesses in the world had immediately adhered to it and the Polo Spartaco near Sao Paulo was already beginning to take form as the first grouping of businesses that participate in the project.

I then received a letter from François Neveux, a French entrepreneur who, with his typically direct style, expressed his desire to gratuitously make the technology and patents he had developed over the years available to the Economy of Communion project.
He had already sold these to various European and Middle Eastern businesses that had made them the foundation of their success, but he said that if an entrepreneur wanted to start a new business in the Polo Spartaco, he could have them for free.

He had turned to me because it seemed that the Brazilian entrepreneurs did not know how to appreciate his offer, and I invited him to join me at a congress of Brazilian EoC entrepreneurs that would shortly take place so that he could present his technology and their industrial possibilities to them.

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This short video was shot in occasion of the EoC presentation in the February 2012 UN Conference on Poverty Eradication.

 

Video - EoC in 5 words

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Presentation by Luigino Bruni to the Faculty of the Ateneo De Manila University. Manila, Philippines, September 23, 2011

Guidelines for conducting an EoC business

Binari_rid_modThe Economy of Communion proposes the following "Guidelines for conducting a business", to productive organizations who adhere to its message and its culture, written in the light of the life and thought of thousands of entrepreneurs and workers....

The economy of giving

Chiara_Lubich_1Chiara Lubich

«Unlike the consumerist economy, based on a culture of having, the economy of communion is the economy of giving.... 

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