Cultural Research. These elements are always found in the Economy of Communion (EoC): “When the youth aren’t engaged, there’s nothing, because without them, there’s no enthusiasm, creativity, optimism, gratuity. The youths need to be the protagonists.” These are the words of economist Luigino Bruni, international coordinator of the EoC, and one of the faculty members at the course inRecife. The “EoC schools” have been going on for years in various parts of the world, and they are multiplying:Italy,France,Argentina,Brazil, in 2011 a Pan-African school inKenyaand an upcoming one inPortugal. This week it wasChileandBrazil. A new road was opened inSantiago. There was enthusiasm over the consolidation of a project inRecife. But the DNA is this idealism and action.
“At the conclusion of this school, we now imagine that it marks the moment for beginning of EoC businesses in Chile,” affirms Prof. Benedetto Gui, representing the Sophia University Institute, partner school of the EoC in Chile, the first in the land of the Andes. Students at the Silva Henriquez Catholic University of Santiago of Chileand from the University Santisima Conception of Conception were hearing of the EoC for the first time as they gathered on 5-8 July 2012. The initial scepticism gave way to participation in the project, as the youths fromRecife express: “We invite you to live an experience in which values play an important role. This economy isn’t something foolish. It is something beautiful that can be put into practice, something that breaks traditional business schemes and consumerism.”
What most convinced these future commercial engineers, more than anything else, were the testimonies offered by business people, like that of Bernardo Ramirez, industry director and president of the Foco Society, which began as a savings coop, the only business of the EoC in Chile. And there was the testimony of Bettina Gonzalez, owner of a travel agency of the EoC inBuenos Aires. Drawing on her own experience, she explained an approach to doing business which went against the current: suggesting that clients postpone their travel to a more peaceful time for their family; lucrative weekend travel packages to the waterfalls that they refused because they had heard there would be an excessive number of tourists that would frighten away the fauna, and so on.
At the course in Recife they spoke of a “new springtime” for the EoC, where most of the 200 attendees were young people. And there were novelties: the creation of a free consulting group for the planning of new EoC businesses; the opening of a carpentry shop, for the formation of young people at risk, which is to be added on to the three EoC businesses already present at Mariapolis Ginetta in Igarassu, in the metropolitan area ofRecife. The theme of “business parks” of the Economy of Communion was the object of discussion for an entire day at the course, also fighting poverty which is an objective of the EoC.
“What makes the EoC different from other economic proposals,” explains one young person, “is that the business person places himself on the same level as the worker, who is his brother and sister. He gives up many things. It’s a radical decision. I foresee a wide horizon ahead of us, hard work, but this isn’t a problem for me.” What Bruni called economy by vocation.