Market virtues: hope

You can surely see a lot of vices in the economy, but can you see the virtues? Here’s our monthly reflection on how the virtues — this month: hope — can be lived out in business.

Market virtues: hope

By Joan Duggan and Zuzana Andreanska

From Living City April 2011

Even if it may seem strange, hope is a market virtue. Or at least it should be. Entrepreneurs begin a business or a new economic activity if they hope that tomorrow’s world will be better than it is today, that the 100% invested today can become 101% or 105% tomorrow.

Whoever gives life to a business, rather than functioning as a short-term speculator, is like a farmer who plants an oak tree. He knows that he is beginning something with the hope that its fruits will go even beyond his own person or lifetime.

This is why hope is linked to trust (faith, fides), because without faith in life and in the future, you don’t even begin a business. The virtue of hope also shows its true colors in moments of crisis, of long stalemates, of a variety of difficulties. Anyone who has given life to a business knows that the most important moments in its history are those in which they have hoped and trusted against all adversity.


Hope is an eminently social virtue. One hopes in people — in a colleague, in a supplier, in a competitor ... In fact, hope is never generic, given to unknown people or unpredictable events. Hope is an investment in a relationship, in many relationships. That is why hope, like all social virtues — fraternity, trust, reciprocity, brotherly love — is fragile and vulnerable, because it’s almost impossible to control someone else’s response. You can only “hope” in their reciprocity without any guarantee — and decide to give because that is how you live your life.  

— With Luigino Bruni

Questions for reflection:

Do I cultivate hope?
What do I hope for?
Do I help others to hope?
Am I a channel for hope?

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