by Luigino Bruni
The crisis that market societies are undergoing is essentially a crisis of relationships. It originates in the illusion that the market, through the actions of an “invisible hand” operating in impersonal market relationships, can present us a good common life exempt from the possibility of being wounded by the other.
Luigino Bruni offers an authoritative and innovative look at the cultural and anthropological premises underlying contemporary market economies and their promises. He suggests that the market has betrayed its promises and points out the need for balancing the increasing tendency toward isolation with the human need for relationships.
Bruni proposes gratuitousness – free and open reciprocity, quite different from altruism – as a means of maximizing the benefits of the market (and the equality and freedom that market contracts propose) without losing the joy that comes from putting the relationship with the others in the market as the primary good.
Carol Johnston on Claritas: Journal of Dialogue & Culture wrote:
"The Wound and the Blessing starts from the work of respected fellow economists who have looked beyond the boundaries of their discipline, but do not stop there. Bruni does justice to what economics has achieved, but also identifies where we need to look further."
David Ford on Good Book Reviews; Helping You Choose Christian Books wrote:
"Bruni has provided an analysis of what has gone missing from modern life in capitalist societies that is insightful and helpful. His argument that economics must be re-thought to take into account the more basic necessity of healthy relationality is right—though it should have included healthy relationships with the rest of creation, and not just human relationships. Still, his suggestion that the ancient tradition of advancing society through movements created by people with charisms—people like Muhammad Yunis—is intriguing."
"In effect Bruni appears to be an advocate for market capitalism on a human scale. Retaining the humanity at the heart of our economic relationships will not prevent us from getting hurt, but it will contribute to a recovery of community. I wonder though where the online economy fits in. A difficult and specialist read, ably translated from its first publication in Italian in 2007."
About Luigino Bruni
Luigino Bruni is professor of political economy at LUMSA Universita, Rome. He works on ethics and economics, the history of ideas and the philosophy of economics, with a special focus on the analysis of the interpersonal dimension in economic and social theory. He is the author, among others, of The Genesis and Ethos of the Market (2012) and The Wound and the Blessing; Economics, Relationships and Happiness (2012). He is 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).
Table of Contents
- 1. The Angel and the Other
- 2. Modern Economic Science: a Science without Gratuitousness
- 3. Corporate Social and Civil Responsibility: Immunitas and Communitas Compared
- 4. Eros, Philia, and Agape
- 5. Joyless Economy
- 6. Relationships as Goods
- 7. The Economic and Civil Significance of Charisms
- Conclusion: Embraced by the Other