Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise
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Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.
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Chapter 11: Economy of communion

Lorna Gold


The Economy of Communion (EOC) is a Christian socio-economic movement advocating and practising equality and redistribution. The term was first coined by Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, during a trip to visit members of the Movement in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in May 1991. It provides private business owners with a practical way to use their resources to help people in need and support the development of a value-based economic culture. Since it started in 1991, around 750 businesses from around the world have become involved in the project, voluntarily sharing their profits in three parts: one for those in need, one for the promotion of a ‘culture of giving’ and a third for re-investment in the business. The majority of the businesses involved are small and medium sized enterprises in the services sector. The majority of the businesses are located in Europe and South America. Others are dispersed across the world. As well as involving individual businesses, the project has also resulted in the creation of nine business parks across the world where the dominant economic ethic is based around the values and principles of communion. Although strictly speaking the EOC refers to the specific project linked to the Focolare, as the project has grown and the theoretical basis has been deepened, it has become recognised as a potential business model, aspects of which could be replicated by other communities.

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