Gift and market - conflict or alliance?

Luigino Bruni

Gift and market - conflict or alliance?

may sun 27, 2012 - 4.00 p.m.
sala Maggiore Palazzo Comunale - piazza del Duomo, 1
 admission euro 3.00

Are we sure that the ‘realm’ of gift begins there were the realm of the market ends, and vice-versa? Even though the gift-market relationship is often cast in this way by contemporary culture, it is easy to see that the divide between gift and market is very thin, and the two spheres are really intertwined. So much so that we find gift practices in businesses and in the markets in general, and we see exchange structures within the typical practices of giving—from the family to volunteer organizations. But there is more: one quick look at what is going on in terms of social innovation—from micro-finance to fair trade, from social cooperation to the economy of communion—will show that all ground-breaking experiences are hybrid, that is, mix and mingle gift and market in view of a common good.

Luigino Bruni is Professor of Political Economy at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Milan-Bicocca. He is also deputy director of CISPES, deputy director of Econometica, an inter-university research center on corporate ethics, director of the specialist course in Civil and No-Profit Economics. He coordinates the ‘communion economy’ project and is a member of the ethics committee of Banca Etica. He is a commentator for the catholic newsdaily Avvenire. His current research focus is on the role of motives in economic and civil behavior, the virtues of the market, cultural evolution, civil and communion economy. His book Civil Happiness came in second at the 2008 Templeton Enterprise Awards. Among his other books are: Reciprocità (2006) and L’ethos del mercato (2010), published by Bruno Mondadori; Microeconomia (with Leonardo Becchetti, Stefano Zamagni), published by il Mulino in 2010); and Le nuove virtù del mercato nell’era dei beni comuni (Città Nuova, 2012).