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Civil Economy

Bruni, Luigino / Zamagni, Stefano

Civil Economy

Efficiency, Equity, Public Happiness

Series: Frontiers of Business Ethics - Volume 2

Year of Publication: 2007

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 282 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03910-896-1 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.410 kg, 0.904 lbs

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Discipline

Book synopsis

This volume has a double purpose. First of all, it follows an Italian tradition of thought that began in the 15th and 16th centuries as Civic Humanism and continued up until the golden period of Italian Enlightenment as represented by the Schools of Milan and Naples. Its main contribution to the history of economic thought is its conception of the market as a place centered on the principle of reciprocity and civil virtues. This book explains why the civil approach to economics disappeared from cultural debates, scientific enquiries and the public arena at the end of the 18th century, only to surface again in more recent times.
Secondly, the book draws attention to a new reading of the whole of economic reality. Indeed, the civil economy in one sense is mainly a cultural perspective from which it is possible to interpret the entire economic discourse. If a theory is considered as substantially a point of view on reality, then this cultural perspective can also set the basis for a diverse economic theory.
Where does the key element of such diversity lie? It lies in the attempt to integrate within the economic system the three basic principles of any social order: the principle of exchange of equivalents, the principle of redistribution and the principle of reciprocity. Though this book draws on the history of economic ideas, it focuses on the present day from an ancient perspective in order to find convincing answers to the new questions arising in the era of globalization.

Contents

Contents: An overall view – The roots of civil economy – Civic humanism: The blossoming of the Middle Ages and the unfulfilled dawn of modernity – The science of «good social living»: Italian enlightenment and civil economy – The English tradition: From the humanist Adam Smith to Robinson Crusoe economics – From the eclipse of civil economy to its rebirth – About the identity of the subjects of civil economy – Employment, welfare society, civil economy – Happiness and civil life.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Authors: Luigino Bruni is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Milano-Bicocca. His primary fields of interest and publication are the history of thought, ethics, reciprocity and philosophy of economics. He has recently published Civil Happiness (2006) and edited, together with P. Porta, Economics and Happiness (2005).
Stefano Zamagni is Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna and is also Visiting Professor at the University of Bocconi (Milan) and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University (Bologna Center). Professor Zamagni is the author of several books, including Microeconomic Theory (1987); History of Economic Thought (1995 and 2005); Living in the Global Society (1997); Economics: A European Text (2002); Multiculturalism and Identity (2002); Relational Complexity and Economic Behaviour (2002); Civil Economy (2004); A Civil Economic Theory of Cooperative Firm (2005). He has also published some 55 articles in both Italian and international journals.

Series

Frontiers of Business Ethics. Vol. 2
Edited by Laszlo Zsolnai