Linard_2001_OR43_Economy of Communion System Factors in Rise of New Entrepreneurship

August 4, 2017 | Author: Keith Linard | Category: Socialism, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Politics (General), Science
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Economy of Communion Systemic factors in the rise of a new entrepreneurship Keith T Linard Director, Centre for Business Dynamics & Knowledge Management University of New South Wales (Australian Defence Force Academy) CANBERRA ACT 2601 AUSTRALIA Tel: -61-2-6268-8347 Fax: -61-2-6268-8337 E-mail : (remove hashes to email)

ABSTRACT: The "Economy of Communion" is an experience of social economy fostered by the Focolare Movement, an ecumenical and inter-religious organisation that originated within the Catholic Church in the 1940’s and is present in about 180 countries. The Economy of Communion is a global project involving over 750 businesses in a network of solidarity. Businesses operating according to this paradigm seek to respond concretely to social inequality, through partnership with the marginalized, whilst remaining commercially viable in the market economy. They thereby seek to present a realistic social model to the commercial world. This paper identifies systemic factors which underlie the rapid development and spread of this third way between capitalism and socialism. The study is part of a wider review of the systemic underpinnings of such social movements, seeking to understand why some succeed and impact the structures of society whilst others flower briefly then stagnate or die. Keywords: Business ethics; new economy; economy of communion; Focolare; business dynamics.

Towards a Systems Theory of the Development of Ideas The Economy of Communion is a business paradigm that has been described as a living ‘third way’ between Marxism and Capitalism grounded in a profound respect for the individual dignity of the human person. Sprung from the spirituality and social praxis of the Focolare Movement, the Economy of Communion “… is not a realisation of a theoretical economic model drawn up by economists, but it is rather generated by the practice of new man's behaviour and by the necessity to face today's (social) problems … it can be considered as an attempt to overcome the dilemma between free market and centrally planned organisations.” (Ressl, 1995) Table 1 illustrates not only the spread of the implementation of this paradigm, but more significantly, the spread of the ideas that underlie it.


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Table 1: Rapidity of the spread and implementation of the Economy of Communion Domains of Influence

By 1990

By 2000

Businesses subscribing to this concept



Countries with EoC businesses / centres / studies



Reported academic theses and dissertations (completed & in progress)



National & International conferences



Prestigious awards etc. by Universities, Governments, international organisations (E.g., UNESCO Peace Prize, Honorary Doctorates, addresses to UNO, Council of Europe.)



Source: Volumes 1 to 13 of Economia di Communione. Diverse references.

When a social ‘experiment’, less than a decade old, is adopted by hundreds of companies, is publicly praised by national Presidents (Italy, Brazil), is given the floor in international Assemblies (Council of Europe, UNO) and is the basis for granting of several Honorary Doctorates (La Salle University, Mexico, 1996 - Philosophy; University of Lublin, 1996 - Social Sciences; National University of Buenos Aires, 1998 - 13 Faculties!; Catholic University of Milan, 1999 - Economics), the rapidity of the diffusion of the idea cries out for systemic analysis. Three approaches to addressing this question are applied:  Memetics (Dawkins, 1976; Lynch, 1998).  Knowledge selection (Heylighen, 1997, 1999)  Social economic systems theory (Pluta, 1988) Some key systemic ideas from these three approaches are summarised below and, in the light of these, systemic factors associated with the successful spread of the idea and the practice of the Economy of Communion are identified. A preliminary model of its key systemic relationships is presented.

Memetics – the power of an idea Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, coined this concept in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ (Dawkins, 1976). In Dawkins thesis, “memes” are cognitive or behavioral patterns that tend to make copies of themselves by transmittal from one individual to another, and are therefore “replicators” analogous to genes. As examples, he suggests “tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches”. Dawkins proposed the following three characteristics for any successful replicators (Dawkins, 1982); Lynch (1998) has proposed a mathematics for modelling these.  copying-fidelity: the more faithful the copy, the more will remain of the initial pattern after several rounds of copying.  fecundity: the faster the rate of copying, the more the replicator will spread.


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longevity: the longer any instance of the replicating pattern survives, the more copies can be made of it and hence the more successful it becomes.

Knowledge selection Heylighen (1997, 1999) proposes criteria for understanding the propagation of ideas. He is influenced by memetics, but also draws on general systems theory, especially cybernetics. Heylighen posits four stages in the development and spread of ideas: assimilation, in which the idea is first enunciated, understood and accepted; retention, in which the idea is ‘strongly encoded’, e.g., due to its importance or repetition; expression, in the sense of communication to others; and transmission, relating to the number and diversity of modes by which expression takes place. He classifies these criteria according to objective, subjective and inter-subjective factors. (Table 2) Table 2: Criteria for successful knowledge diffusion Selectors





Stages Assimilation


novelty simplicity coherence

authority publicity formality



invariance controllability

coherence individual utility

Conformity collective utility

self-reinforcement intolerance







Source: Amalgam of Heylighen (1997, 1999)

Social economics systems theory Pluta (1988) undertook early work into systemic factors associated with the development of ‘grass roots movements’ such as the Mondragon movement in the Basque province of Spain and the Antigonish movement of Atlantic Canada. Whilst this focused on microlevel socio-economic developments (community or district level), high-level similarities with the Economy of Communion phenomenon render Pluta’s systems model a useful basis of comparison. Table 3 summarises the systemic factors that Pluta saw as crucial to the success of such movements.


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Table 3: System factors in the success of Grass-Roots movements Preconditions

Economic Sub-System

Social Sub-System

suitable environment (problem crying out for a solution)

structures to mobilize human and non-human resources

intellectual, emotional and moral process of formulating ideology

charismatic leader

institutional network adapted to direct or coordinate the economic and non-economic activities

social process of building networks of relationships

ideological underpinnings continuously re-evaluated in the light of changing circumstances

development of institutions to preserve and propagate the ideology

Source: Adapted from Pluta (1988)

Between Capitalism & Socialism - Diverse Stirrings The 19th and early 20th century were a melting pot of ideas and experimentation in the search for more just and equitable economic structures. Many of these, such as the Fabian Society and the Distributivists, stayed in the realm of ideas, contributing to the development of political society, some more and some less successfully. Some, such as the Co-operative Movement, the Quaker businesses and the Friendly Societies established businesses based around their ideal. Many have been successful at national or international scales. But in their success they have generally merged with the prevailing business ethos to the extent that their outward face to the world is indistinguishable from that of their competitors. Others, if they still exist, remain at a local scale and do not present a credible witness of a ‘Third Way’ between the ideal of Socialism and the success of Capitalism. Only a precious few, such as The Body Shop, have continued to maintain and indeed build on their idealism as they move from local, to national and international scale.

A ‘Third Way’ For more than a century, the term Third Way has been used by individuals, movements, and parties on the right and the left of the ideological spectrum. In the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII called for a Third Way between socialism and capitalism that would put a more human face on the free market. In the 1930’s, the classical liberal economist, Wilhelm Roepke, saw the Third Way as the free society that lay between socialism and historical liberalism. Half a century later, Meidner (1980) suggested that Sweden’s welfare state constituted this third way between American capitalism and Soviet communism. In the early 1990’s, the Third Way became a popular mantra for politicians, especially those on the left, who saw that their ideologies held reduced appeal in the world that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.


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Thus, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has frequently referred to his search for a Third Way, even writing a booklet on the subject (Blair, 1998). Former US President Clinton went so far as to declare in his 1998 State of the Union address: "My fellow Americans, we have found a Third Way”. Schroeder in Germany, Prodi in Italy and Government leaders from the Russian Federation to Brazil have proclaimed as their own this new vision of the last decade of the 20th century. Business leaders also captured this mood for change. For example, at the 1994 International Systems Thinking Conference in San Francisco attended by some 1200 government and business executives from around the world, Peter Senge, author of the popular management text ‘The Fifth Discipline –the art and practice of the Learning Organisation’, received an ovation for this comment: "The world must move from the individualistic trading economy (capitalism) and the economy of coercion (communism) to an economy of cooperation. In such an economy, the individual does what he or she must to keep the community going, while the community does what it can to keep the individual going. In this economy, stewardship will be the new model for leadership.” Religious leaders, also, had not forgotten their century old search for a Third Way. Thus, the 7th World Assembly of the World Council of Churches, 1991, in its final statements, included a call for the Churches to develop “a Third Way of economics between the centralist Marxist economy and the individualistic capitalist economy … to develop an economy based on the (Christian) Scripture”. In 1994, the 6th World Assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace included in its final report a call to the religions of the world to work together to find a new approach to economy, between the Marxist and capitalistic economies, “an economy of communion based on mutual love and respect for the dignity of the human person … ” In the midst of this mess of history, platitudes and polemics, the praxis of the Focolare Movement provides a striking contrast with its ‘Economy of Communion’. This is not an economic theory in search of supporters, but rather practitioners living an ideal and creating an economic theory. It is not a localized phenomenon, as is evident from Table 1. It is part of a global praxis … a living ‘Third Way’.

Economy of Communion ‘In Freedom’1 The genesis of the Economy of Communion ‘In Freedom’ lies with the foundress of the ecumenical and inter-religious based organisation, the Focolare Movement. The Focolare is an entity within the Catholic Church, formally approved in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. It's ‘internal’ membership comprises some 150,000 - 200,00 people who have extensive formation in and made a deep commitment to its spirituality. These


The following material on the Focolare movement and the Economy of Communion is drawn from diverse sources, including: Araujo, 1997; Ferrucci, 2000a, 200b; Gallagher, 1997; Lubich, 1999, 2001; Pochet, 1985; Ressl, 1995; Wilkinson, 2000; Economia di Communione, Volumes 1 to 13. Material from the Focolare Websites, detailed in the references, was used where corroborated by published material. Specific references, generally, have only been given for quotes and tables.


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include some 50,000 who belong to other Christian denominations and to other Faiths. A further 4 to 5 million live its spirituality with varying degrees of commitment. It is present in over 180 countries. The Focolare would appear to be unique within any Christian Church in that its statutes provide for adherents not only from within the Catholic Church, but also from other Christian Churches, from other Religions and even from ‘people of good will with no religious belief’. It has, for example, a committed following within the Muslim American Society and Japanese Buddhist Rissho-Kosai-Kai. The spirituality of the Focolare fosters a profound belief in the unity of the human family, regardless of differences of race, nationality or religious belief. It emphasises the ethic that its adherents should live a ‘communion of goods’, as a free and personal choice, in the manner ascribed to first century Christians (Acts 2:44-45), so that none in their community are in need. The Focolare accepts the right to private property. At the same time it recognises that, just as it would be outrageous for the parents of a family to eat fully whilst their children starve, it is equally outrageous in our social family that there should be some with plenty whilst others starve. Accordingly, since its origins in war ravaged Italy in 1943, the Focolare has sought to inculcate a ‘culture of giving’ amongst all its members from the children to the eldest. The committed core, about 5,000 people, live this totally - a kind of ‘Christian communism’ - putting all wealth in common, keeping only what is essential for healthy living and giving the rest for communal distribution. Other internal members, with greater or lesser radicalism live this ‘communion of goods’ by giving of their surplus to those in need. (Pochet, 1985; Gallagher, 1997)

Genesis of the Economy of Communion When the foundress and president of the Focolare, Chiara Lubich, visited Brazil in 1991, she faced the reality that the 200,000 Focolare members there included so many poor that the traditional communion of goods, notwithstanding the heroic idealism of members, was insufficient. Some remained homeless, others were unable to send their children to school, or buy them clothes. The sick could not afford medical treatment. “This led to the idea of increasing the amount of money put into communion by setting up business enterprises that would be entrusted to competent people capable of making them work efficiently and profitably.” (Lubich, 2000) As a practical response to the evident poverty, Lubich launched a worldwide initiative focussing on building an Economy of Communion - a program aimed at establishing employment projects, based on the spirituality of the Focolare in particular, and on Catholic social justice principles in general. In enterprises operating under this framework, the profits (after just remuneration) would be distributed three ways: “A part of these profits would serve to bring ahead the business; a part to help those in need, thus making it possible for them to live with a little more dignity until they could find a job, or offering them a job in these very businesses. Finally, a part of the profits would be used to develop structures for the formation of men and women who desire to base their lives on the “culture of giving,” “new men and women”, because without new people, it is not possible to build a new society.” (Lubich, 2000)


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This may sound utopian. However, within ten years the results are expressed in bricks and mortar in the Araceli, Brazil, where Lubich first issued her challenge. A 50-hectare industrial estate has been developed with the infrastructure required by modern manufacturing or service industries. It is managed by a joint stock company, ESPRI, which has more than 3,000 shareholders), many of whom are numbered among the poor. By 1999, the industrial estate housed eight businesses run according to the philosophy of the economy of communion, with a number of other ventures in the planning phase. (Ferrucci, 2001a)

Diffusion of the Economy of Communion The development of this ‘utopian’ ideal is summarised in Table 2, spreading rapidly from Brazil in 1991 to Focolare communities around the world. By the year 2000, over 750 firms were or were transformed according to the Economy of Communion philosophy. In 1997, profits distributed from Economy of Communion businesses contributed to helping “more than 10,000 families” in need (Ferrucci, 2001b) and to assisting in the development of training and education structures in all continents. Data on job creation is not available but, anecdotally, runs into thousands. Table 2: Growth in Economy of Communion (EoC) businesses 1993-2000 YEAR

Total EoC Businesses

Latin America

Western Europe

Eastern Europe

North & Central America

Asia & Oceania








































Sources: Ressl, 1995; Ferrucci, 2001a, 2001b; Economy of Communion web site:

Based on analyses from the 1995, approximately 35% of the firms were producing goods and 65% operating in the service sector. Among the latter 20% were in the business consulting field, broadly defined, with 10% each operating in the areas of education, heath and engineering / architecture. Most were small to medium businesses with annual turnover less than 20 million dollars. At the upper end of the scale was an


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Italian cooperative, originally employing three artisans, which had been transformed in five years into a business employing 260 people. (Ressl, 1995)

Guiding Principles of the Economy of Communion The economy of communion is based on entrepreneurs freely acting according to the Focolare Movement’s communitarian principles. Entrepreneurs who want to participate remain owners of their firms and keep the right to opt out of this ‘new economy’. They freely put in common a share of their profit that, in conformity with the Focolare Movement's spirit, is then used for the following three objectives. One part of the profit is used for capital reinvestment. This serves to help this social ideal penetrate the firm's activities and internal functioning. In addition, it aids job creation, which the Economy of Communion sees as a fundamental solution to social inequality. The second part of the profit sharing is distributed to people who do not have the means to meet their minimum needs (food, clothing, housing etc.) and who have no possibility to raise the necessary funds. Everything that such a person receives is an untied gift and corresponds to his or her true needs that are freely put in common by this person. The aid aims to re-establish the material autonomy of the person in need. This focus is not one of charity, but of mutuality based on the ethic that one does not have a right to wealth whilst others starve. This communication between the poor, who receive the one-third of the Economy of Communion business, and the businesses themselves, must grow. The poor must not become something abstract … the poor are an integral part of every Economy of Communion business because they are the main beneficiaries. (We must seek to) create amongst these people and ourselves an attitude of reciprocity, of true partnership. (Araujo, 1977) The third part of the profit focuses on the long-term improvement of society, on the elimination of the institutional roots of social injustice. The funds are mainly used for the development of training centres and educational programs that introduce a wider audience to this social ideal and give them the personal and technical skills to transform their own lives in this way. They also assist in maintaining support relationships for Economy of Communion businesses around the world. The Economy of Communion, however, is not simply about the use of profits. It demands a radical transformation in all business relationships, between the owners of capital and employees, between managers and staff and between staff and clients. This is evident from the Vision Statement, Annex A, prepared at a Congress of entrepreneurs involved in the Economy of Communion in 1997.

A utopian ideal … brought to life in a Brazilian steel foundry This holistic nature of the Economy of Communion is exemplified in testimony given to Pope John-Paul II in 1997 by Rudi Leibholz and his brother, Henrique, joint owners of a local steel foundry with 75 employees. They were among the first Brazilians to embrace this ideal of the Economy of Communion.


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In addition to allocating part of the profits to the poor, they appreciated that this concept also demanded a radical change in relationships with their employees and customers. They initiated a range of employee benefits including a pension fund and medical plan, a company social worker and profit sharing – dramatic changes in Brazil. Rudi, with his wife and the social worker, undertook a program of home visits, creating new relationships with the employees and their families. In the process, they understood for the first time the depths of poverty of many of their employees. Because of subsequent initiatives, over 70% of their employees now own their own homes.

Supporting structures – the Focolare Movement Each enterprise operating within the Economy of Communion does so freely, independent of any control by the Focolare Movement. However, the spirituality of the Focolare underpins its fundamental ideology. The Focolare structures promote the ideal, provide the spiritual and ethical formation that underpins it, and provide encouragement and moral support for the entrepreneurs and foster solidarity among the businesses. A feature of the Focolare Movement itself is the decentralisation of responsibility and initiative within its powerful unifying spirituality. It is organised into some 70 ‘zones’ covering over 180 nations. In a matrix type framework, there are also 20+ branches, organised at international and zonal levels, which focus on different social or religious spheres. The New Humanity Movement is a branch whose charter is to foster the Focolare ethic especially within the various economic sectors (education, health, the arts, etc). It is organised on an international level, with a full-time secretariat, and with local secretariats in every zone. It runs conferences and education programs and provides ‘moral support’ for entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) who are involved in the Economy of Communion. It has also established a number of specialist bureaux, including the International Bureau on Economy and Work. The latter is an accredited United Nations NGO that acts as a coordinating think-tank for the Economy of Communion. It includes experts from the areas of economics and management, including university academics, senior government bureaucrats and senior private sector executive.

Developing a theoretical framework The Economy of Communion is built from the lived experience of the Focolare. However, a vibrant intellectual ferment has accompanied the growth in businesses, with some 65 graduate, Masters and PhD theses (including at least two from the UK) written since 1993 on diverse dimensions of the Economy of Communion, covering its anthropology, sociology, economics, philosophy, psychology and theology. Many of these theses and dissertations are published on the Internet (http://tesi.ecodicom/.com). There are also annual international conferences, under the auspices of the International Bureau on Economy and Work. The 1997 conference developed the interim Vision Statement for businesses subscribing to Economy of Communion principles at Annex A. The most recent conference, held in June 2001 in Genoa in anticipation of the G-8 Summit, presented the Economy of Communion to 1,000 delegates.


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Systemic Factors Associated with Development and Spread of the Economy of Communion Drawing on the factors suggested by Dawkins, Heylighen and Pluta, the following are seen to be the key systemic factors that underlie the successful and rapid spread of the idea of the Economy of Communion. These factors are divided between the Focolare base, which gave birth to and sustains the Economy of Communion, and the Economy of Communion businesses themselves. Space does not permit a comparative analysis of these factors with the models proposed in the works cited above.

The Focolare Movement Base The Focolare Movement provides a critical philosophical and organizational support framework for the Economy of Communion businesses.

Philosophical / Ideological  

A profound belief in the unity of the human family, regardless of differences of race, nationality or religious belief; and Preparedness to ‘give ones life for one’s fellow human being’, expressed in a ‘culture of giving’.

Praxis   

55 years of living, at a local scale, a personal ‘communion of goods’; 55 years of activity in local, regional and international, social justice projects; and 55 years experience in experiential based formation and training.

Moral Authority 

A charismatic leader, Chiara Lubich, the foundress and president of the Focolare, who initiated and continues to give priority to the Economy of Communion;  Endorsement within the Catholic Church by Pope John-Paul II and by local Bishops, by leaders within other Christian Churches and other Religions;  Endorsement by academia in diverse cultures through the award of Honorary Doctorates to Ms Lubich specifically for her work for the Economy of Communion; and  Endorsement in the political sphere by parties of the left and the right in the European Community and in Latin America.


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Organisation Structure    

A strongly connected (by personal relationships and communication), but highly decentralised cellular structure, present in virtually every nation; A strongly coupled matrix of coordinating bodies based around the Branches and the Zones, animated by a shared spirituality, personal relationships and communication; The New Humanity Movement, with a full-time international secretariat, and zonal secretariats, promoting the Economy of Communion; and The International Bureau on Economy and Labour acting as a specialist ‘think tank’.

Infrastructure  

  

Education / formation framework, at international and national levels with a pedagogy strongly based on experiential / praxis approach; Global and national communications networks (for example, every month there is a global telephone conference call, linking all Zones, which includes an inspirational meditation followed by, typically, 40 minutes of news of Focolare – including Economy of Communion – activities around the world); Publishing houses providing videos, books, journals and newsletters in many languages; Comprehensive and professional Websites in diverse languages; and Centres of formation and training in many nations.

Membership Coverage    

A committed core membership of 150,000 – 200,000; Reasonably regular contact, face-to-face or by the various communications media, with 4 to 5 million adherents or sympathizers; through close links with the Muslim American Society and the Japanese RisshoKosai-Kai (Buddhist) Movement, exposure of the Economy of Communion ideal to a much wider audience estimated in excess of 8 million; and A strong penetration of the Focolare ethic among young adults, coupled with the idealism of the Economy of Communion, has tapped an enthusiastic youth response evident in the profusion of academic research.

The Economy of Communion Companies The entrepreneurs, employees and beneficiaries of the distribution of profits are linked, not only through their involvement in the Focolare itself, but also through their own experiences in giving life to this new social ethic. These experiences are widely shared through ad hoc conferences, seminars, journals, newsletters and so forth. Significant systemic factors supporting this, additional to the foregoing, include:  Diversity of totally independent businesses, allowing for experimentation in modes of management, organisation and activity;  Forums and diverse communications channels for sharing ideas between stakeholders in the diverse businesses;


   

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Idealism, supported by explicit appropriation of capital to organisation development, promoting the development of a shared vision of the business amongst entrepreneurs, management and staff; Idealism, supported by explicit appropriation of capital for expansion and job creation, promoting entrepreneurial risk-taking to broaden horizons; Ethic which promotes quality staff management and quality client service; and Impetus to develop relationships and to cooperate with other businesses, including competitors;

Summary and Conclusions The rapid spread of the praxis of the Economy of Communion prompted this study. Why do some ideas, such as this, “take off” whilst other, arguably equally valid and important, languish. Were there particular systemic factors that created the framework for success. Figure 1 summarises the relationships between the Economy of Communion businesses and the Focolare supporting structures that initiated and continue to nurture them, and the relationships and among the businesses themselves. The praxis of the businesses in turn gives witness to the values of the Focolare and challenges its adherents to emulate this altruistic love in their environments..

Figure 1: Systemic interrelationships supporting Economy of Communion businesses


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The systemic factors identified are consistent with those suggested by Dawkins, Heylighen in their respective models as preconditions for the rapid spread of new ideas. They also are consistent with the complex set of preconditions that Pluta suggests must be met for any genuine grass root movement to emerge and succeed. ________________________________________________________________

References Araujo, V. 1997. The new type of business person, of employee, of business community and the poor. In Proc. Congress of International Bureau of Economy & Work. Rome, 18 March. Blair T. 1998. The Third Way, New Politics for the New Century. Fabian Society: London. Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press: New York. Dawkins, R. 1982. The Extended Phenotype. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Company. Ferrucci, A. 2001a. Facing the Challenges of the Future. In Proc. Congress of International Bureau of Economy & Work: Economy of Communion - Challenges and Prospectives. Rome. 5-8 April. Ferrucci, A. 2001b. Ten years of the Economy of Communion. In Proc. Congress of International Bureau of Economy & Work: Economy of Communion - Challenges and Prospectives. Rome. 5-8 April. Gallagher, J. 1997. A Woman’s Work: Chiara Lubich. Font: London. Lubich, C. 1999. The Economy of Communion Experience: a proposal for economic activity from the spirituality of unity. Address to Council of Europe. Strasbourg, 31 May. Lynch, A. 1998. Units, Events and Dynamics in Memetic Evolution. Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission 2. Heylighen F. 1997. Objective, subjective and intersubjective selectors of knowledge, Evolution and Cognition 3:1: 63-67. Heylighen F. 1999. What makes a meme successful? Selection criteria for cultural evolution. In Proc. 15th Int. Congress on Cybernetics Association International de Cybernetique. Namur


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MacLeod, G. 1997. From Mondragon to America: Experiments in Community Economic Development. University College of Cape Breton Press: Nova Scotia. Meidner, R. 1980. Our Concept of the Third Way. Some Remarks on the Socio-political Tenets of the Swedish Labour Movement. Economic and Industrial Democracy 1. Pluta, L. 1988. Grass Roots Development – Systems Approach. In Proc. 5th World Congress of Social Economics. York, UK. Aug 2-4. Pochet, M. Stars & Tears – A conversation with Chiara Lubich. New City Press: London. Ressl, M. 1995. Economy of Communion - Foundations of an Economic Doctrine Based on a New Concept of Man. Thesis for Degree of Master Economics and Business Administration. Vienna University, Austria. Schumacher, C. 1998. God in Work. Lion Publishing: Oxford. Wilkinson, M. 2000. A Spirituality of Work –A Study of the relationship in a Christian between the spiritual life and business. Dissertation for Degree of Master of Arts. Open University, UK. Economia di Communione – una cultura nuova. Volumes 1 to 13. Four-monthly Journal. Citta Nuova Editrice: Rome. Economy of Communion (International) Website. 2001. [30 Nov 2001] Economy of Communion (Australia-Oceania Zone) Website. 2001. [30 Nov 2001] Economy of Communion (Academic Theses) Website. 2001. http://tesi.ecodicom/.com [30 Nov 2001] _______________________________________________________________


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ANNEX A Guidelines for Economy of Communion Businesses2 1. Economy and Work. The business is managed well so that profits will grow and be distributed to persons in need beginning with those involved in the “Culture of Giving” for whom the initiative exists, to help spread this Culture of Giving, and for expanding the enterprise. The human person, not capital, is at the center of the business. For the business leaders, the primary reward is the satisfaction gained from transforming the business into a close-knit community. They create new jobs that sustain the members and their families while contributing to people in need and society as a whole. They adopt programs to aid employees in times of need. The company attempts to make the best use of each employee’s talents and to create a climate conducive to personal creativity, risk-taking, and fulfillment. All members of the organization become stakeholders and work together to define and realize the goals of the enterprise. The business leaders make investment decisions prudently considering all the typical business criteria and also inspired by a deep personal desire to help persons in need and to create jobs.

2. The relationship with Customers, Suppliers, the Public and Others External to the Company. The enterprise works together with suppliers to provide useful and quality products and services at fair prices. The members of the enterprise work to establish and strengthen good and sincere relations with customers, suppliers, and the community. They engage in fair play with competitors and maintain mutual respect when negotiating with suppliers and customers.

3. Ethics. The enterprise complies with the law and has ethical dealings with various institutions such as tax-authorities, regulatory agencies, labor unions, etc. The work of the enterprise provides a means for the inner growth of its members.


International Bureau of Economy and Work of New Humanity, 21 March 1997


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4. Health and the Value of Life. Attention is given to the health and well being of every member of the business making provisions for people with special needs. Excessive hours and days of work are avoided so people will not become overly strained; adequate vacation is provided. The business produces safe and environmentally friendly products and services. Throughout the lifecycle of the product or service, the enterprise promotes conservation of energy and resources. Working conditions suitable to the type of business are provided, such as, adequate ventilation, lighting, acceptable noise levels. They follow appropriate safety practices and respect the capabilities of every worker. The work environment is joyful and friendly; mutual respect, trust, and consideration prevail.

5. Harmony in the Working Environment. The enterprise applies management systems and organizational structures that foster teamwork and personal development. Members keep the surroundings of the business as clean and pleasant as possible, so that everyone (employers, employees, suppliers, and customers) feels "at home" and may embrace and spread the same style.

6. Training and Education. Recognizing that the human person is at the center of the enterprise, the business leaders create opportunities for continuous learning and updating to enable the individual to achieve personal and corporate objectives.

7. Communications. The enterprise creates a climate which fosters open and honest communications with opportunities for the exchange of thoughts and ideas between employees and managers. It employs modern means of communication and information technology. Businesses adhering to these principles remain linked at a local and international level to celebrate successes and to learn from failures.

The Management The business leaders create a vision, objectives, and plans for the enterprise together with all members and carry out their plans using modern, people oriented management techniques. Within the enterprise, the members maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and support for each other. They freely share their talents, ideas, and know-how for the professional growth of their colleagues and the progress of the business. They meet regularly to review the quality of the relationships among them. The business leaders and members of the enterprise resolve difficult business situations


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together. The process of resolving these difficulties often has positive effects on the members of the enterprise leading to greater creativity, productivity, innovation, and maturity.

Biography Keith Linard is Senior Lecturer in Project Systems at the University of New South Wales and Director of the UNSW Centre for Business Dynamics and Knowledge Management. Before joining academia he spent 12 years at senior executive level in the Australian Public Service as Director Environmental Economics, Chief Finance Officer (Management Improvement) and Assistant Secretary (Employment & Government). During the 1980’s he was intimately involved in the Australian Labor Government’s reform of the Public Service.

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