A School for Civil Economy

For a New Season of Thought on Economy


May 19, 2013: a moment defined as historical by more than one person for the meaning of future Italian economy, but not only.   The SEC, or School of Civil Economy is born, ‘an idea held in embryonic state for a long time, but started concretely in September 2012, when some potential partners, also representing institutions, were invited by prof. Luigino Bruni to meet and reason together’ – explained the president of the CdA of the School, Silvia Vacca, an entrepreneur from Turin in the area of renewable energy, as well as mother of two children.



The project seeks to “promote the realization of a civil and civilizing market that will put the person, his needs, his aspirations and their flowering, at the centre of economic action, so as to establish a market in which agents interact for the mutual advantage and in the interest of the common good, in opposition to utilitarian logic and maximization of profit which have been affirming themselves on a global scale and which have brought us to these times of crisis.  


Among the foundation subjects mentioned here: Economy of Communion, Banca Popolare Etica, Acli, Cooperazione Trentina, Federcasse, and the University Institute Sophia which poses itself as a “…reservoir of the thought behind the constitution of the School,” as expressed by prof. Stefano Zamagni, among the first in Italy together with Luigino Bruni, to make re-emerge the forgotten value of that ‘civil economy’ enunciated back in the ‘700’s by Antonio Genovesi.   The year 2013 recalls the 300th anniversary of the birth of Genovesi, and it was he who put the necessity of civil virtue at the base of any economic activity, so as to orient it towards the common good more than to the search for individual satisfaction. The headquarters of the SEC will be the Lionello Bonfanti Industrial Park, a few kilometers from Sophia and the international little city of Loppiano, a sort of symbolic place for the theorization and the practice of the Economy of Communion, which welcomed the constitutive assembly of the new project on May 19.


A constant thread in the talks that followed one after the other throughout the day was the goal of the initiative, that is, the search for an innovative path that would bring to a rewriting of the parameters and the categories with which the economy is understood and practiced nowadays. “Civil economy does not oppose State and market, or market and civil society; it does not foresee different codes of action but, in line with the social Doctrine of the Church, it strives to unite them, theorizing that even in the smallest activity of a business there ought to be concepts such as reciprocity and respect of the person” – affirmed again Stefano Zamagni, president of the scientific committee for direction, which will be guiding the work of the SEC.  


The newly constituted School will turn to associations and businesses, to the different operators and local administrators interested, but also to scholastic institutions, offering courses which will be able to form administrators and teachers.  Forty some academicians have already adhered, among them; Renato Ruffini, Alessandra Smerilli, Pierluigi Porta, Leonardo Becchetti, Mauro Magatti, Stefano Bartolini, Vera Negri, Vittorio Pelligra e Nicolò Bellanca.  The courses will start this coming autumn, after the official launching of the SEC   planned for September 20th, in the environs of LoppianoLab, the annual gathering at Loppiano, at its fourth appointment this year.


Text: Mario Agostino

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