Civil Economy

Another Idea of the Market

Luigino Bruni, Stefano Zamagni

£60.00  |  $70.00
ISBN 9781911116011
£16.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781911116004
£16.99  |  $25.00
ISBN 9781911116028
176 pages   |  198 x 129mm   |  30 October 2016


"Every so often, one comes across a book which tells you things you already know with such lucidity and insight that it becomes a fresh window onto the subject. Bruni and Zamagni’s work brings a persuasive freshness in their careful location of their vision for a better economy within a long-established and predominantly Italian tradition dating back to Antonio Genovesi in the eighteenth century ... in 147 pages, they have brought together one of the most effective critiques of our current economic orthodoxies, and this effectiveness stems in large part from their refusal to resort to rhetorical exaggerations or zero-sum games between competing ideas. Their critique is the more devastating for being expressed with such generosity. Bruni and Zamagni have shown here that alternatives to current economic orthodoxy do not have to be conjured up out of thin air and that there has always been, in the Italian tradition they describe, a foundation on which a better and more human economic environment could be constructed ... Civil Economy is lucid and eminently readable – detailed enough to be convincing and short enough to be widely read." – Malcolm Brown, Studies in Christian Ethics


Global financial capitalism has eroded the moral economy on which all economic exchanges ultimately depend. The principles of reciprocity, responsibility and redistribution, which for centuries defined the market place, have been increasingly pushed aside by a growth model that places the pursuit of profit above all else.

Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni draw on a rich Italian tradition of civic humanism to advocate a more well-mannered type of economic market – a civil economy – one that places well-being, virtue and the common good alongside more familiar economic goals. They provide a succinct introduction to the civil economy approach and outline the thought and ideas of some of its pioneers and main representatives. The many different fields of application of the civil economy, from the determination of gross domestic product to the management of common goods, from welfare to the organization of production and consumption, are considered.

Unlike many post-growth or degrowth movements, rather than seek to replace the market, civil economy seeks to find solutions to social problems within the market, while maximizing human values and minimizing government intervention. It is a distinct and valuable approach, and one that offers individuals, corporations and governments a framework for a humane and socially accountable, yet productive and competitive, system of markets.


1. What is Civil Economy?

Part I: History
2. The Cornerstones: Antonio Genovesi and Giacinto Dragonetti
3. Good Wealth: John Ruskin
4. Rents: Achille Loria
5. The “Catholic” Spirit of Capitalism: Amintore Fanfani

Part II: Ideas
6. Why GDP is Not Enough
7. Common Goods
8. Towards Civil Welfare
9. Socially Responsible Companies and Consumers

Author Information

Luigino Bruni is Professor of Political Economy at LUMSA Universita, Rome. He is the author, most recently, of The Genesis and Ethos of the Market (2012) and Reciprocity, Altruism and Civil Society (2008) and co-editor (with Stefano Zamagni) of the Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise (2013) and (with P. Porta) the Handbook of Happiness and Economics (2005).

Stefano Zamagni is Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna, and Senior Adjunct Professor of International Economics and Vice Director of Italian Affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Bologna. His books include An Outline of the History of Economic Thought (with Ernesto Screpanti) (2005) and Markets, Money and Capital (co-edited with Roberto Scazzieri and Amartya Sen) (2009).

Purchase Options