Civil Economy

Efficiency, Equity, Public Happiness

by Luigino Bruni (Author) Stefano Zamagni (Author)
©2007 Monographs 284 Pages
Series: Frontiers of Business Ethics, Volume 2


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.


ISBN (Softcover)
Italien Humanismus Wohlfahrtsstaat Ideengeschichte Großbritannien Reciprocity Redistribution Civil order Wirtschaftsethik Exchange of equivalents Globalization
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 284 pp.

Biographical notes

Luigino Bruni (Author) Stefano Zamagni (Author)

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.


Title: Civil Economy