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Caritas in veritate and Chiara Lubich: Human Development from the vantage point of Unity

by Amelia J.Uelmen

Caritas in veritate and Chiara Lubich: Human Development from the vantage point of Unity
published on Theological Studies, volume 71, pages 29-45 (03-2010)

Amy_UelmenWithin the vibrant life of the Catholic Church today, many currents of spirituality and specific projects can shed light on the encyclical’s themes and provide examples of what its principles might look like in practice. This note focuses on how Chiara Lubich’s spirituality of unity might offer a helpful way for people to understand how to live these principles in their everyday lives. It also discusses how the “Economy of Communion” and other concrete projects and practices of Focolare, the movement Lubich founded, foster economic justice and human development.

At a certain point in his marvelous and still timely essay on love,Josef Pieper struggled with whether the idea of universal love might make any practical difference in the world.
He wrote: On the one hand, universal human love cannot accomplish anything practical in the world; man’s historical predicaments cannot be solved by love. But on the other hand . . . universal love is not simply an unrealistic fantasy.

Caritas in veritate and Chiara Lubich: Human Development from the vantage point of Unity

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Impresa Sociale on Edc: Introduction

Bruni, Luigino and Luca Crivelli

Introduction to the Issue of Impresa Sociale on Economy of Communion

Published in Impresa Sociale - n. 3-2009

1. One of the strongest and clearest messages that come from these times of crisis is the economic and ethical insuffiencency of a capitalism founded on its own interests and on "sad passions". The market economy, in order to be able to continue to bring fruit to civilization, needs a supplement of humanity, of an anthropological and moral refoundation that makes it evolve into something else - an economic system more tailor-made to the person – without having to renounce the values and conquests that the market has brought and brings to the areas of individual liberty and equality.

This issue is dedicated to the experience of the Economy of Communion (EoC), which readers will have the chance to know better under various aspects. The EoC is a project of social entrepreneurship involving around 750 businesses, but which is also a more articulate and universal proposal of supportive and relational economic behavior. The inspirational moment of the concrete project took place in Brazil, in May of 1991, while Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement, was visiting the movement´s community of Sao Paulo. However, its roots dig much deeper: into the history of the early times of the Focolare in Trent, during World War II; in the Franciscan charism from which Chiara drew her first inspirations (and her own new name as a tertiary: her baptismal name was Silvia); and in the Trentino cooperative tradition, in which Chiara grew up and was formed.

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Impresa Sociale on the EoC: Editorial

Fazzi, Luca

Editorial of the issue of Impresa Sociale on the Economy of Communion
Published in Impresa Sociale - N. 3-2009

Today, the concept of social entreprise is the subject of wide and articulate scientific and political discussion. Different from its American meaning, in European tradition "social enterprise" refers to a specific type of enterprise characterized by the pursuit of social objectives and by normative bonds to the distribution of profits.

Looking closely, this concept of social enerprise is not exhaustive of the series of initiatives and business projects that, although not conditioned by legislative limits to profit distribution, voluntarily decide to destine a part of their profits to social activities.

Among the various social enterprise initiatives not bound by law to use their profits for social ends, there is also the Economy of Communion project.

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Religious Values and Corporate Decision Making: The Economy of Communion

Luigino Bruni & Amelia J.Uelmen

Religious Values and Corporate Decision Making: The Economy of Communion Project
published on Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, volume 11, pages 645-680 (2006)


Recently some of the legal, economic and management literature has begun to explore the numerous complex questions and concerns that arise with the prospect of integrating religious perspectives, values and frameworks into business life. From the economic and legal perspectives, does integration of religious perspectives threaten the integrity of current business structure? From a religious perspective, might integration of religious beliefs and communities lead to theis being manipulated for commercial purposes, thus threatening their autenticity and integrity?

Religious Values and Corporate Decision Making: The Economy of Communion Project


The ‘Economy of Communion’: Inspirations and Achievements

Luigino Bruni, Stefano Zamagni

The ‘Economy of Communion’: Inspirations and Achievements
published on Finance & Common Good - n.20 - Autumn 2004

Economics, nowadays, is facing a remarkable challenge: the processes of globalisation can offer new opportunities to many who are still excluded from material well-being but, at the same time, there is the real risk of transforming the world into a large supermarket in which the only form of human relationship is the economic one, where everything becomes a commodity.
Our market economy has two possible ways forward: to build a ‘global village’ where, as in every village, principles are at work (redistribution, gift and exchange), or, instead, to transform the world into a ‘global supermarket’ where there is no room for genuine and non-instrumental relationships.

In this context, the main challenge of the Economy of Communion - both at a theoretical and a practical level - is to show that it is possible to find a place for love within the economic domain. In fact, the key to understanding the Economy of Communion project is precisely the category of love, understood as a feeling of brotherhood and good will toward other people, as a deep concern for the other as a person, and not as a sentimental or psychological feeling.
In this sense, love is more than pure empathy or fellow-feeling, terms that have been more often used by economists than love - including Adam Smith - to capture the sense of one person’s opening up to others.

We will begin with a brief mention of the relationship between economics and love, in order to move on to the description of the Economy of Communion project.
In conclusion, we will describe some of the implications that result from taking the concept of love seriously in economic matters and, consequently, we hope to show the radical criticism that the Economy of Communion experience represents in relation to the usual way of understanding economics.

The ‘Economy of Communion’: Inspirations and Achievements

What the Economic Crisis Teaches Us

Bruni, Luigino

What the Economic Crisis Teaches Us
in Nuova Umanità n.182, vol.XXXI, 2009/02
Translation by N. Michael Brennen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., revised August 2009

Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than on a mathematical expectation … [our activities] can only be taken as a result of 'animal spirits'....”
(J. M. Keynes. General Theory, 1936)

They had gone almost half way when the Fox, halting suddenly, said to the puppet:
"Would you like to double your money?"
"In what way?"
"Would you like to make out of your five miserable sovereigns, a hundred, a thousand, two thousand?"
"I should think so! but in what way?"
"The way is easy enough.  Instead of returning home you must go with us."
"And where do you wish to take me?"
"To the land of the Owls.
(Collodi, Carlo.  The Adventures of Pinocchio. ch. XII)

The desire to possess money and to accumulate wealth is a strong passion in human beings, analogous to the sexual drive and to the desire for fame or power. For this reason civilizations have always thought that such passions require education and social institutions to regulate them, and, just perhaps, to transform and reorient these deep passions into some sort of common good.


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Chiara´s Economy of Communion

Bruni, Luigino
Chiara´s Economy of Communion 
When a charism changes even the economy
in Nuova Umanità n.177, vol.XXX, 2008/3link.gif

“Without recognition, without intersubjectivity, without society, there is no humanity. And without love?”  (T. Todorov)


I received the gift of working with Chiara Lubich for 10 years, to attempt to add the scientific dimension to the Economy of Communion (EOC). This brief paper is above all an act of recognition, of Chiara, of her EOC, and of the opportunity that she gave me to get to know and study this project up close.

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EoC Report 2016

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EoC PanAsian Congress 2016

The Dawn of Midnight

Logo Geremia Crop 150The series of comments by Luigino Bruni on Jeremiah's book comes out every Sunday on Avvenire

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The Wound and the Blessing

Wound blessingLuigino Bruni

Economics, Relationships, and Happiness

New City Press, 2012


United Nations Video

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 Genesis and Ethos of the Market

The Genesis and Ethos of the market ridLuigino Bruni

Palgrave Macmillan, September 2012


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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