It is the School of Civil Economy, called SEC in Italian which stands for ‘Scuola di economia civile’. Among its founders are some of the most important bodies in Italy: Associazione cristiani lavoratori italiani (ACLI, Association of Italian Christian Workers), Banca Popolare Etica (People’s Ethical Bank), Cooperazione Trentina (Trent Regional Co-operation), Economy of Communion (EoC), Federazione delle Banche di credito cooperativo (Federcasse, Federation of Cooperative Commercial Canks), the Sophia University Institute and the Polo Lionello Bonfanti (Lionello Bonfanti Business Centre). They officially established it on 19 May 2013 in Loppiano, near Florence, Italy.
Silvia Vacca, a young entrepreneur from the north of Italy, in the last few months has been in the front line in setting up SEC. She is about to become president of its administrative council. In an interview on the Economy of Communion’s website, she said: ‘It is a school that is also a research project that hopes to promote a civil and civilizing market, one that puts, at the centre of its economy activity, the human person with all his or her needs, aspirations and possibilities for flourishing. This kind of market is one where people interact for their mutual benefit and looking towards the common good, as opposed to a utilitarian approach or looking only to maximize profits which is the pattern that has spread across the world and that has led to the current crisis.’
It is, then, a study centre engaged in innovative research that redefines market relations against the background of the failure of individualistic capitalism, a failure that is no longer a theoretical proposition within academia but daily experience for many.
Its research programme is directed by Stefano Zamagni, Luigino Bruni and Renato Ruffini, who for many years have been promoting civil economy. They are flanked by a teaching community drawn from well-known scholars from the major Italian universities.
SEC’s proposal comes from the need to create awareness of a number of economic principles, especially those that touch upon the human person and the common good, in those areas of life that, because of their legal requirements or their openness to these principles, are in harmony with its principles. It offers education and training aimed in the first instance at people, currently or about to be, in positions of leadership within institutions, associations and businesses. SEC aims also at schools and intends to run study programmes for teachers and people in authority in education.
Courses begin in the autumn of 2013, following the official launch of SEC on 20 September during ‘LoppianoLab’ which takes place every year in Polo Lionello Bonfanti (Lionello Bonfanti Business Centre), which is home to its administrative centre in Loppiano.