Is it possible to quantify, using economic variables, what is in principle not subject to economic evaluation? A recent Harvard research seems to have achieved such an ambitious goal, but this inevitably makes ethical issues arise.


In the last few years, an increasing concern has developed with regard to the externalities of firms. An externality is the cost or benefit implied by an economic activity that affects a third party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit and without this being reflected in market prices. They are one of the main justifications for public intervention in the economic sphere. On one hand, governments should reduce negative externalities through mindful regulation. On the other, they should incentivize positive externalities, which usually are not the firms’ most pressing priorities, since they do not directly result in any monetary advantage.

The profitability of a company stays unaltered both if the air of our neighborhood becomes unbreathable due to industrial waste and if we enjoy the benefits of gentrification brought about by a successful commercial activity. Can businesses, in principle, be ethical? If so, how to apply analytical tools to ethics and to subsume what is qualitative par excellence under the scope of the queen of  social sciences, namely economics? The former is a philosophical interrogation, the latter a methodological one. The consequence is that they are respectively dealt with by two different research approaches, which urge us to find a common synthesis in order to successfully coordinate and inspire our practical response. [Read More]


In the last 20 years we have witnessed political and economic processes becoming more and more interconnected and interdependent. Still, it is taking us some time to acquire awareness of the mechanisms behind  such processes. The bottom line of our first 20 years of this century is one: the gradual disappearance of the middle class, the rise to power of populist parties and an increasing inequality even between the richest. In these processes a major role is played by the banks, and the policies adopted to save them.

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On March 12, the ECB held a press conference, in which Christine Lagarde announced and commented on the new measures to counter the economic downturn triggered by the spread of the virus. Below, we shortly review and explain these measures, compare the policies of Lagarde and Draghi, the previous ECB president, and give some final considerations on [Read More]


Già dalla sua esortazione nell’Evangelii gaudiumPapa Francesco critica aspramente «un’economia dell’esclusione e dell’inequità», un’economia che «uccide» (EG n. 53), e solleva una questione morale e non per porre mano direttamente ad una riforma dell’attuale sistema finanziario dal punto di vista strutturale e tecnico. Non è infatti compito specifico della Chiesa proporre una simile riforma, semmai della politica e dello stesso mondo economico. Forse per questo lo scorso maggio ha inviato una lettera ad economisti di tutto il mondo, «vi scrivo per invitarvi ad un’iniziativa che ho tanto desiderato: un evento che mi permetta di incontrare chi oggi si sta formando e sta iniziando a studiare e praticare una economia diversa, quella che fa vivere e non uccide, include e non esclude, umanizza e non disumanizza, si prende cura del creato e non lo depreda. Un evento che ci aiuti a stare insieme e conoscerci, e ci conduca a fare un ‘patto‘ per cambiare l’attuale economia e dare un’anima all’economia di domani». La lettera che Papa Francesco ha inviato per costruire una nuova economia rappresenta un passo molto importante per cercare di generare un vero cambiamento.

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