Communal Economics

The luxury of lateral thinking. Reconstructing the role of business is a Civil undertaking.

What is Communal Economics? It’s an inclusive, participative and sustainable development model that derives from the tradition of economic thinking that developed in Italy during the Seventeen-hundreds but whose roots in fact go all the way back to 15th Century Humanism. This set of principles and values has once again come decidedly to the fore thanks to the economic crisis and is the topic of daily debates and behaviours. Communal Economics is once again placing the common good, and the individual, at the centre of the economic life of businesses, in contrast with the libertarian-type ideals of dominance.

Believing in a Communal Economics model means being prepared to choose virtuous behaviours that are in the communal interest as well as our own: the environmental, social, economic and relationship benefits have repercussions on the reputation of the business, on its ability to mobilise its abilities and drive and on its profitability and economic solidity.

Our aim is to bring together the major exponents of this change of perspective and assist them by putting forward original, concrete proposals.

The Communal Economy never pits the State against the markets or the markets against civil society. Furthermore, it theorises that even normal day-to-day business operations should leave some room for concepts such as reciprocity, respect for the individual and pleasantness.Stefano Zamagni


L'impresa e il suo ruolo nell'economia civile

According to Communal Economics, business is not just an economic machine that, in accordance with the dictates of the markets, is obliged to simply maximise private profits, but is instead a true communal organism that plays a primary role in the community itself and has certain economic, cultural and social responsibilities toward that community.

Communal Economics seeks to maintain a good balance and adopt a new way of doing business that changes our view of work from being little more than a means to an end, namely making a profit, to being an end in itself. This is the best way to ensure full development of the individual and that his/her material, survival, social and relationship needs are met, while ensuring the business has harmonious growth and protection against whatever crises may arise.

Communal Economics is like a practice and theory workshop. It’s an open, inclusive process in which there is room for anyone seeking something more profound and is able to ask difficult questions of the system and find an adequate response to those questions.


Reciprocità, comunità, cultura d'impresa: le parole chiave dell'Economia civile

Communal Economics seeks the common good. Its major role player is Homo reciprocans, as opposed to the Homo oeconomicus of capitalist theories.

Within this context, communal business generates spin-offs for society.

The key words of Communal Economics are as follows:

  • Reciprocity. This is one of the foundations of the conceptual world of Communal Economics. Every action is taken within the context of a relationship between individuals, not in the expectation of getting something in return, but because it is what is expected. This exchange is the basis of pluralism and enables society to ensure a future for itself.
  • Community. In Communal Economics business is a party that rediscovers its rightful role within a community and asserts itself as the major role-player in the progress and development of the community itself. In other words, business becomes a source of good that is not merely material, but also cultural and social.
  • The Common good. In Communal Economics terms, this is the objective of society as a whole. It has nothing to do with the simple sum of the respective levels of wellbeing achieved by individuals (total assets in a capitalist economy), but rather the sum of the living conditions of the entire society that favours the wellbeing and human progress of all its citizens. Hence the reason why the Olivetti “factory of goods” attempted instead to become a “factory for good”.
  • Business culture. The purposes and objectives of Communal Economics cannot be achieved except by profound analysis of, and reflection on what it really means to do business. The businesses themselves and the people who give their lives and guide the businesses need to become aware of their actual role. A different kind of business culture that acts as a business conscience and an awareness of social, civil, economic and cultural responsibility.