The Economy of Francesco

young people, a pact, the future

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young people, a pact, the future

international events

September 22-24 2022, - Assisi

September 22-24 2022, Assisi

"The Economy of Francesco"

young people, a pact, the future

Breaking news:

published today the letter with which Pope Francis summons young economists and entrepreneurs to Assisi to propose a pact for a new economy. Economy of Communion participates in the organizing committee of the event together with the Diocese and the Municipality of Assisi and the Seraphic Institute.

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Chile, Carolina Betancur: This is how I teach the economics of altruism

#EoF: the stories - Chilean economist Carolina Betancur: “The common good as a side effect of profit”

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published in Avvenire on 18/09/2021

We are urged by Pope Francis’ call: to find a way to be the leaven of change, to transform the economy so that it is more just, inclusive and sustainable. We can't do much on the individual level, but when we unite, no community is too small, no place in the world too remote to contribute to a new paradigm.” Carolina Betancur, 39, from Chile, is part of the vast movement called The Economy of Francesco (EoF), created two years ago by the Pope to encourage young economists and entrepreneurs to work as a team for the common good. She is an economist and has just returned to Conceptión, on the far southern hemisphere, from Gubbio, where she took part in the first 'International Summer School' for 35 teachers and doctoral students from all over the world, organised by the EoF with LUMSA University. “It was an enormously enriching experience for me,” she assures on the eve of the global event on 2 October, which she will attend via streaming.

Holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Engineering and a Master's in Business Administration, she teaches Economics and Finance at the University of Conceptión, racking up six-month contracts. Before that, she was in charge of the water system for the optimisation of water resources in the rural area of Portezuelo, where water, as in the rest of Chile, is a private good, administered by the local community without public support. “Currently,” she explains, “I'm in the EoF group on Labour and Gender Equality, and I'm finishing my thesis in economics on access to the labour market for women of high academic qualifications. Moreover, of course, I also take care of our three children, aged 18 to 6 years”, she adds. With her husband Carlos Pares, a doctor in macroeconomics, Carolina is in the front line of a small community of teachers, theologians, philosophers and community activists in Chile's ‘southern capital’, who share the same reflection on values as inspired by Bergoglio. “Our key,” she says, “is the loving hope of which Pope Francis speaks: each of us can be an agent of change, even when it does not seem possible. Knowing that, even if you do not see the results, you will have contributed to making the ground fertile and welcoming for new models”. They aim to promote transformative social, academic, community and work intervention projects. “Behind and above the macroeconomic figures there is humanity, there are people, families with needs," the lecturer notes. It is up to us to convey the social relevance of economic choices and of the fact that each individual can contribute to the affirmation of the logic of integral and non-exclusive development.” But how can we translate the will into practice, transform the economy into a tool that is up to the new times, from the places we act in? “The answer is complex, but I see at least three possibilities,” says Betancur. First of all, as teachers and educators, also in courses of finance, along with the theory we can teach financial ethics, the humanism of civil economy as set forth by professor Luigino Bruni to the young people in their twenties who will be making decisions and seeing the enormous consequences that those will have on people’s lives.

Second, through social business: “Those who do business could gain awareness that acting for the common good is not pure altruism but can be the ‘collateral effect’ of the exchanges that bring profit and do good to collectiveness.” Finally, through good example. “If we, the ones who do research to study an ecologically and humanely sustainable economy are able to spread these ideas not only in the scientific community but bring them closer to people, we will be able to change the paradigm of the ‘economy of self-interest’ to that ‘of the common good’ which is inclusive and not exclusive, agent of multiplication and not division, adding up and not subtracting.” This is also the point of her thesis she is working on, about the discrimination of access to work for women in the academic world in Chile which was also the source of one of her contributions to “The Economy of Francesco”, with its point of departure being her own experience of having uncertain, temporary teaching positions. “I am no exception,” she notes. “As opposed to the countries where women have no access to education starting from childhood, in Chile, in primary, secondary and university education the indicators confirm that the differences between men and women are close to zero now. However, the higher the obtained academic level is, the more vulnerable and precarious the situation for women becomes. It is a very harsh reality, especially in the business world, where female CEOs are extremely rare, notwithstanding the incentives to employ women in managers’ positions.”


In the photo: Carolina with a group of participants at the EoF Summer School in Gubbio.

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