Global financial capitalism has eroded the moral economy on which all economic exchanges ultimately depend.
The principles of reciprocity, responsibility and redistribution, which for centuries defined the market place, have been increasingly pushed aside by a growth model that places the pursuit of profit above all else. Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni draw on a rich Italian tradition of civic humanism to advocate a more well-mannered type of economic market a civil economy one that places well-being, virtue and the common good alongside more familiar economic goals.
They provide a succinct introduction to the civil economy approach and outline the thought and ideas of some of its pioneers and main representatives.
The many different fields of application of the civil economy, from the determination of gross domestic product to the management of common goods, from welfare to the organization of production and consumption, are considered. Unlike many post-growth or degrowth movements, rather than seek to replace the market, civil economy seeks to find solutions to social problems within the market, while maximizing human values and minimizing government intervention.
It is a distinct and valuable approach, and one that offers individuals, corporations and governments a framework for a humane and socially accountable, yet productive and competitive, system of markets.