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Living Citylink.gif, the magazine for a united world.

The monthly magazine of the Focolare Movement, established in 1967, offers a view of the world from the viewpoint of unity, featuring articles on spirituality, family life, dialogue, youth, the environment, art, science and cultural life.

Articles published in Living City on the Economy of Communion in Freedom, its businesses and the culture of giving follow:

Bruni visit to U.S.

Cultivating virtues and relationships: the key to happiness: Economist Luigino Bruni of the Economy of Communion in Freedom visits the U.S.

By Elizabeth Garlow

Elizabeth_Garlow_ridfrom Living City, December 2012

This past fall Dr. Luigino Bruni arrived in New York from Italy to launch his new book The Wound and the Blessing: Economics, Relationships and Happiness. On October 17-18, a mix of students, faculty and community enthusiasts assembled at Marist College and Fordham University to hear Bruni present important tenets of his book, namely the concept of “relational goods.” He proposed that relationships and community bonds are tangible economic “goods” that can be measured much like the production of goods and services, arguing that shared life experiences are of incredible importance for our happiness. 

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Who is my employee?

Business owners in Indiana work to love their employees as themselves

By Julie Mundell

from Living City, October 2012

Julie_MundellOur business is too small for a full-time office cleaner, so for the past few years my husband and I have used the services of an outside company for this work. Jennifer had been providing this assistance for about two years. We were happy with her work and with her rapport with our employees. We often exchanged family stories, including the ups and downs of being working moms. She and her family lived with her dad to share expenses, but she was saving to move out on her own. She was hard-working and cheerful at work, even when she unexpectedly became pregnant with her third child. She worked into her eighth month in order to maximize her leave-time with the new baby.

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Toward an EoC future

We spoke to Luigino Bruni, director of the Economy of Communion’s international commission, to get his sense of what’s next for the project’s development and growth

By Amy Uelmen

from Living City, October 2012

Amy UelmenRegardless of shifting generational trends, 21 is still a magic age, when we generally say someone is no longer a child. The Economy of Communion in Freedom (EoC) celebrates its 21st birthday against an economic and cultural backdrop sorely in need of adult-size perspectives and solutions.

This Focolare project illustrates the potential of a system of economic development based upon relationships of reciprocal giving and receiving. It embodies the conviction that human persons, as founder Chiara Lubich describes them, “find fulfillment precisely in loving, in giving.” 

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The Wound and the Blessing

Economics, relationships and happiness

By Emilie Christy

from Living City, October 2012

Wound_blessingI was intrigued by the title of economist Luigino Bruni’s latest book translated into English, The Wound and the Blessing. He quickly shows a strong link between the lack of human relationships in the current market economy and the lack of happiness both for individuals and the life of the community. He ponders the reality of fear in the Western world — a fear of opening up to others, of being wounded in meeting others — creating anonymous interactions that are easy to step away from or perhaps even abuse. 

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Fashion designer business

Fashion designer’s business plan put to the test

Betsy Garcete, CEO and founder of a fashion company specializing in women’s cocktail dresses, tells how putting relationships before profit helped build her business

By Erica Zolinas

from Living City, October 2012

Betsy_Garcete_ridAlthough Betsy Garcete, 25, found happiness after founding Zophia, a fashion company specializing in custom-made cocktail dresses, difficult financial times and internal business quarrels tested her newly formed business plan and threatened her company’s future.

The ideas behind Garcete’s business plan, based on values taken from the Economy of Communion, consist of being happy with your choices while doing good for others and focusing on face-to-face communication to better understand others.

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A world of work

Work and the economy — that rocky ground where anxiety, frustration, struggles and unemployment are common — takes in everyone. With Chiara Lubich, let’s examine the dignity of work and some ideas on establishing positive relationships in the workplace

By Chiara Lubich

Chiara Lubich 3 rid sxfrom Living City, October 2012

There is need to reaffirm the primacy of the human being over capital, property and structures, to create an ethical meaning of work that is mindful of the fact that “through work, people … achieve fulfillment as human beings,” as John Paul II said in Laborem Exercens.

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An appreciated internship

From the Czech Republic to the U.S. for the Economy of Communion

By Jakub Jurásek

from Living City, January 2012

Logo_InternshipIt was a Monday evening in August at Christian Park, Indianapolis, Indiana. As usual on Mondays after work, some of us from Mundell and Associates, Inc, an environmental consulting firm, met to play tennis. Normally, it was just us interns, but that day we had invited some of the company’s employees to join us, and we had a lot of fun. There were four of us: Francisco, an intern from Argentina, who lived with me during those months; Andy, an American, who was new to the company; Matt, also American, a scientist and environmental specialist; and me, an intern from the Czech Republic.

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Nature and relationships

Righting our relationship with nature

Nature and human development can coexist if love guides creativity and interaction. Then, are we ready and willing to change our lifestyle?

By Emilie Christy and Susan Kopp

from Living City April 2012

A 2011 gallup poll in the U.S. revealed that people’s concern for environmental issues has reached an all-time low — the widest margin in nearly 30 years. Everything has dramatically moved toward a pro-economy position, with 54% of Americans giving priority to economic growth over the 36% who continue to hold environmental protection as paramount. Contrast this with a similar poll done in 2000, where 67% were concerned with the environment and only 28% considered the economy a priority.

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The North American Association of the Economy of Communion supports Genfest 2012 in Budapest.

from Living City April 2012

Logo_Genfest_2012Its aim:  to inspire thousands of young people across the world to become builders of a bright future 
animated by a culture of giving.  www.genfest.org

Join our annual Economy of Communion Convention:

“Celebrating Twenty Years, Envisioning Pathways Forward.”

August 10-12, 2012 at Mariapolis Luminosa in Hyde Park, NY.

To learn more or to express interest in attending contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Poverty solutions

Young people of the Economy of Communion take recommendations to the United Nations

By Elizabeth Garlow

from Living City April 2012


120203_new_york_onu01_ridTimely conversations on social development and the global economic crisis buzzed in the halls of the United Nations headquarters in New York from February 1–10 for the 50th session of the U.N.’s Commission for Social Development. The commission advises the U.N. on matters of social policy and is responsible for identifying ways to put people at the center of development.

This year’s session paid special attention to challenges faced by young people today. Youth unemployment taints the quality of life and social progress in both developing and developed countries.

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An economic system based on relationships

The Economy of Communion’s beginnings, principles and impact in America

By Thomas Masters and Amy Uelmen

from Living City, November 2011

The Focolare’s project for an Economy of Communion in Freedom (EoC) embodies the conviction that human persons, as founder Chiara Lubich describes them, “find fulfillment precisely in loving, in giving.” The EoC illustrates the potential of a system of economic development based upon relationships of reciprocal giving and receiving.

How the EoC began

As the Focolare spread throughout the world, people strived to meet the material needs of everyone in the community. Such needs, however, often outstripped resources. During a visit to Brazil in 1991, Chiara was moved by the circumstances of the people, including Focolare members, living in the shantytowns that surround Sao Paulo. Reflecting with the community on how to respond to these needs, the idea of launching a new economic model emerged. EoC businesses would generate jobs and commit to a three-part division of their profits: direct aid to people in need, educational projects to help foster a “culture of giving” and the continued growth and development of the business.

There are now 797 such businesses, most of them small and medium-sized; a few have more than 100 employees.

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Building bridges and crossing them

The first Economy of Communion Assembly in Brazil

By Elizabeth Garlow

from Living City, November 2011

Little did I know when I dove into the Economy of Communion project as an undergraduate student that I would become a part of an incredible network of students, academics, development workers and everyday individuals who look to base their economic and work lives on a “culture of giving,” rather than the dominant “culture of having” that often prevails in today’s society.

In fact, the witness of the EoC on how to harness the power of innovation and entrepreneurial activity to affect positive social change is ultimately what led me to work in my current field of microfinance, and to continue exploring avenues of entrepreneurship aimed at creating new structures to address widespread societal problems.

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Companies with a wider vision

According to the 2009-2010 EoC report, 797 businesses around the globe now follow Economy of Communion guidelines and principles. See online the list of some of those operating in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia and the Dominican Republic.

from Living City, November 2011

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Five Cs for the EoC

The view from LoppianoLab, a forum at one of the Economy of Communion business parks in Italy

By Maddalena Maltese

from Living City, November 2011

LoppianoLab is a multi-event forum where people share experiences about how the spirituality of the Focolare can contribute to the endeavors of the lay world. The Focolare spirituality is based on unity and is grounded in embracing separation and disunity with love. The second LoppianoLab conference, held September 16–18, covered the areas of business and the economy, with special attention given to the Economy of Communion, education, culture, medicine and the media.

With the background of the economic and political crisis that is affecting the world, the tremendously energetic LoppianoLab 2011 drew more people every day, imbuing people’s exchange of ideas with a powerful sense of hopefulness.

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Inverting the usual dynamic

from Living City, November 2011

In Chiara Lubich’s spirituality of unity, love of neighbor is not only a consequence of loving God, but the indispensable path to loving God. Love for God inevitably leads to love of neighbor, and loving one’s neighbor in turn leads to union with God.

In 1946 she wrote: “Jesus our model taught us two things alone, which are one: to be children of only one Father, and to be brothers and sisters to each other.”

She elaborated on this connection in a meditation from 1949: “Our inner life is fed by our outer life. The more I enter into the soul of my brother or sister, the more I enter into God within me. The more I enter into God within me, the more I enter into my brother or sister. God-myself-my brother or sister: it is all one world, all one kingdom.”

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Joining economy with communion

By Vera Araujo, sociologist

from Living City, November 2011

I have always thought that the Economy of Communion requires a new anthropological vision, with consequent concrete ramifications. In other words, we can ask ourselves, “What type of person is capable of wedding economy and communion together?”

Maybe, and even without saying maybe, this is an era that intensely awaits the emergence of a new type of man and woman, capable and able to embrace all the dimensions of life: from the spiritual to the material, the economic to the political, the social to the civil spheres, the relational to the communional dimension.

These are suitable times for homo agapicus to inhabit our planet: a person who knows how to love and finds in love the seed, the light, the strength and the truth of everything and of each thing — who will be able to bring all works and diversities into communion.

 

My personal, shared philosophy

Being part of the Economy of Communion at 90

By Mary Langton

from Living City, November 2011

It seems to me that a philosophy evolves over a long time, possibly a lifetime. For myself, I was born into a materially poor family in the 1920s — although surrounded by love of the “richest” kind. I think it was then that the golden thread in the tapestry of my life began.

This was a Christian family, true to a body of truths that Christianity embraced. My earliest memories are the sounds of my mother praying in the quiet of the night. Coupled with this was the feeling of being favored by a father who worked hard to support a family of nine. I was their seventh child.

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Specialized in relationships

Studying EoC management practices worldwide

By John Gallagher and Jeanne Buckeye

from Living City, November 2011

Three years ago, we began working with a small group of Economy of Communion companies in the U.S. and Canada to explore how these companies actually conducted their day-to-day business.

Our interest was fueled by a recognition that the EoC was important, not only because it was “a new style of economic action,” but also because it involved the formation of companies and their management practice.

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Teaching on the EoC

By Linda B. Specht, Trinity University

from Living City, November 2011

I have taught a university course on the EoC for three years. The experience in Brazil reaffirmed in my mind the importance of the EoC model and experience, and it has been a transformational event for me, personally. Upon my return, I had a congenial and fruitful conversation about the EoC with our university president. I also have been engaged in a process of curricular reform in my academic department and have put forth the EoC model as one that should be introduced to all of our business students. That initiative is still under deliberation, but I feel that what I experienced in Brazil has opened the door to a new part of my personal journey with the EoC. It has given me the “fire” to bring the EoC into new areas of dialogue within the university community and with other civic and professional groups in my city. In fact, I have been asked to speak to three different professional groups since my return, and they have been groups that I would not have necessarily viewed as interested in or receptive to the message of the EoC.

Market virtues: hope

You can surely see a lot of vices in the economy, but can you see the virtues? Here’s our monthly reflection on how the virtues — this month: hope — can be lived out in business.

Market virtues: hope

By Joan Duggan and Zuzana Andreanska

From Living City April 2011

Even if it may seem strange, hope is a market virtue. Or at least it should be. Entrepreneurs begin a business or a new economic activity if they hope that tomorrow’s world will be better than it is today, that the 100% invested today can become 101% or 105% tomorrow.

Whoever gives life to a business, rather than functioning as a short-term speculator, is like a farmer who plants an oak tree. He knows that he is beginning something with the hope that its fruits will go even beyond his own person or lifetime.

This is why hope is linked to trust (faith, fides), because without faith in life and in the future, you don’t even begin a business. The virtue of hope also shows its true colors in moments of crisis, of long stalemates, of a variety of difficulties. Anyone who has given life to a business knows that the most important moments in its history are those in which they have hoped and trusted against all adversity.

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The Wound and the Blessing

Wound blessingLuigino Bruni

Economics, Relationships, and Happiness

New City Press, 2012

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United Nations Video

This short video was shot in occasion of the EoC presentation in the February 2012 UN Conference on Poverty Eradication.

 

Video - EoC in 5 words

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Presentation by Luigino Bruni to the Faculty of the Ateneo De Manila University. Manila, Philippines, September 23, 2011

Guidelines for conducting an EoC business

Binari_rid_modThe Economy of Communion proposes the following "Guidelines for conducting a business", to productive organizations who adhere to its message and its culture, written in the light of the life and thought of thousands of entrepreneurs and workers....

The Genesis and Ethos of the Market

The Genesis and Ethos of the market ridLuigino Bruni

Palgrave Macmillan, September 2012

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The economy of giving

Chiara_Lubich_1Chiara Lubich

«Unlike the consumerist economy, based on a culture of having, the economy of communion is the economy of giving.... 

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