Without giving, economics are dismal and make people unhappy

Stefano Zamagni

Without giving, economics are dismal and make people unhappy

may sat 26, 2012 - 5.30 p.m.
piazza dello Spirito Santo
 admission euro 3.00

Why has the notion of gift been expunged from the economic discourse starting in the late 18th century? Its disappearance has been accompanied from the elimination of certain other terms, such as ‘fraternity,’ awkwardly confused with ‘brotherhood’ and ‘reciprocity’ and replaced by ‘solidarity.’ What consequences has this move produced in our market societies in the past two centuries? And why have economists insisted in the last two decades on the principle of gift as of a new interpretive category? Stefano Zamagni explains how the main reason for this revival is a renewed interest in the theme of happiness. Can economics stop being ‘the dismal science’ and become the science of public happiness again? And if so, upon what conditions?

Stefano Zamagni is an Italian economist and is past president of the Agency for the Third Sector. He is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Bologna and at Johns Hopkins University, Bologna Center, and chairs the Steering Committee of the Higher School of Health Policies at the University of Bologna. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences of Bologna, of the Lombard Institute of Sciences and Humanities in Milan, and of the New York Academy of Sciences. In 2010 he received an honorary degree in Economics from the F. de Vitoria University of Madrid. Also in 2010 he was awarded the ‘Giorgio La Pira Prize for Peace.’ Among his many books are: Microeconomia (with Flavio Delbono, 1999); Economia civile (with Luigino Bruni, 2004); La cooperazione (with Vera Zamagni, 2008); Avarizia. La passione dell’avere (2009), all published by il Mulino; Economia ed Etica (with Nicola Curci), published by La Scuola in 2009; Famiglia e lavoro (with Vera Zamagni), published by San Paolo in 2012.