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Book of the Day: Emergence of an Economy of Communion

photo of Franco Iacomella

Franco Iacomella
8th March 2012


Book: New Financial Horizons: The Emergence of an Economy of Communion. Lorna Gold. New City Press, 2010.

New edition of the book celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Economy of Communion. The Economy of Communion, which started within the Focolare Movement in 1991, involves a worldwide network of solidarity among some 800 firms that together constitute a vibrant business community based upon the values of sharing, caring and justice. Drawing on the experiences of an international sample of business and community leaders, particularly from the United States and Brazil, Lorna Gold explains the historical and philosophical origins of this fascinating yet little known global community.

From the book’s introduction:

The end of the twentieth century was marked by the so-called “triumph of capitalism” and the failure of the socialism regimes in Eastern Europe. It was accompanied by a wave of optimism that the “evils” of communism could be overcome by the forces of the free market… just two decades on … the world appeared a very different place. A world of prosperity delivered by free market globalization seemed like a distant dream. All over the world, governments were forced to step in to shore up banks, the stalwarts of market capitalism. Massive inequalities in opportunity remain the norm. Environmental destruction threatens. A series of truly global crises challenges us to think carefully about the assumptions on which economy and society is based.

Margaret D’Anieri comments:

She goes on, in the introduction, to provide a thorough and equally readable account of the current interlinked situations of global inequality (Europeans and Americans spend over $1 billion a month on pet food, while over 850 million people experience chronic hunger), political instability, and environmental threats. She suggests that an economic Darwinism, in which the only the fittest survive, has become the prevailing doctrine; she quotes influential economist Milton Friedman as referring explicitly to the “economic elimination of the unfit”.

There are responses at the margins of this worldview such as the fair trade movement, the locavore movement and the 3/50 Project. Gold’s book introduces us to another: the “Economy of Communion” (EOC), based on a “culture of giving” and rooted in Trinitarian theology. The grounding of the EOC is that humans find ultimate fulfillment in communion with others and not in individual wealth maximization.

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