Il 10 aprile 2013 si è tenuta presso l'Istituto Luigi Sturzo, la prima Inspirational Lecture di AISES YOUNG. Dino Pesole, giornalista de Il Sole 24 Ore e esperto di economia pubblica ha esposto il tema "La finanza pubblica italiana e le regole europee".
L'Accademia Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Economico e Sociale (AISES)
è lieta di invitare la S.V. al seminario inaugurale del corso AISES
“Sicurezza, economia e diritti umani nelle relazioni transatlantiche"
Ammiraglio Giampaolo DI PAOLA
Ministro della Difesa
Martedì 30 aprile ore 16 Aula Paolo VI
Pontificia Università Lateranense
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 4 – Città del Vaticano
International Prize "Standing on the shoulders of giants" - Premio Internazionale “Sulle spalle dei giganti”Written by Administrator
International Prize 2014 "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" Awarded to ECB President Mario Draghi
On the occasion of the AISES Annual Conference, "A European Renaissance: Faith, Culture, Development", which was held on Thursday, 15 May 2014 in the Italian Parliament, Chamber of Deputies, the 2014 International Prize recipient was announced. The Prize is awarded each year to a distinguished man or woman who is an inspirational role model for his/her intellectual contribution, moral standing and extraordinary civil service in the prospect of long-term European advancement.
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, former President of the Italian Republic, was awarded the 2013 AISES Young Prize. President Ciampi is currently Honorary Chairman of AISES. After Rome, the Prize moves to Frankfurt. The 2014 Prize will be awarded to President Draghi at a date to be announced in the near future. President Draghi communicated his gratitude for the Prize.
Valerio De Luca, AISES President, and Edith Arbib Anav, in charge for the Interreligious Dialogue in AISES, introduced the 2014 Annual Conference in his Welcoming Address. The Conference was chaired by Cesare Mirabelli, President Emeritus of the Italian Constitutional Court. The speakers included Hassan Abouyoub, Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco, Mario Alì, MIUR Director General for research internationalization, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Snam S.p.A. President, Giuseppe De Rita, CENSIS President, Riccardo Di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome, Lorenzo Leuzzi, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome. With an audience of dignitaries from religious, diplomatic, military, and the academic worlds, the Italian government and members of Parliament, it was read the motivation for the 2014 Prize: "Mario Draghi has shown throughout his career in public service and as President of the European Central Bank unyielding dedication to the defence of the Euro and strong conviction that the single currency is first and foremost an instrument for the promotion of peace among nations and long-term progress for Member States."
The members of Young also awarded President Draghi for "his attention to youth, promoting ethical principles as central to the economy, and exercising the public functions entrusted to him with extraordinary skill, foresight and dialogue in the service of a united and forward-moving Europe".
The Award was presented on March 26th 2015 at the headquarters of Banca d'Italia in Rome.
Please view the entirety of the conference at http://webtv.camera.it/evento/6382
For further information on AISES and its activities, please visit our website www.academy-aises.eu.
Il Premio internazionale "Sulle spalle dei giganti" 2014 al Presidente della BCE Mario Draghi
Durante la Conferenza annuale AISES "La rinascita europea. Fede, cultura e sviluppo", che si è tenuta Giovedì 15 maggio 2014 presso la Sala della Regina di Palazzo Montecitorio, è stato dato l'annuncio del vincitore del Premio Internazionale "Sulle spalle dei giganti" 2014, che ogni anno viene assegnato ad una personalità che si è distinta quale esempio di particolare condotta morale e istituzionale, contribuendo con lungimiranza alla vita pubblica europea in una prospettiva di progresso di lungo periodo.
Il Premio 2013 "Sulle spalle dei giganti" è stato conferito al Presidente Emerito della Repubblica Italiana C. A. Ciampi, che ricopre oggi il ruolo di Presidente d'Onore dell'AISES.
Dopo Roma, il Premio raggiunge Francoforte.
Il Premio 2014 è stato conferito al Presidente della Banca Centrale Europea Mario Draghi e sarà prossimamente consegnato nelle sue mani.
Un messaggio pervenuto dall'Ufficio di Presidenza comunica il ringraziamento del Prof. Draghi per il Premio e per il valore di questa scelta fatta dai giovani.
Alla Conferenza, aperta dai saluti istituzionali di Valerio De Luca, Presidente di AISES e dalla responsabile per il dialogo interreligioso, Edith Arbib Anav, e presieduta da Cesare Mirabelli, Presidente Emerito della Corte Costituzionale, hanno partecipato: Hassan Abouyoub, Ambasciatore di Sua Maestà il Re del Marocco, Mario Alì, Direttore Generale per l'internazionalizzazione della ricerca del MIUR, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Presidente di Snam S.p.A., Giuseppe De Rita, Presidente del CENSIS, Riccardo di Segni, Rabbino Capo di Roma, Lorenzo Leuzzi, Vescovo Ausiliare di Roma.
Alla presenza di autorità religiose, diplomatiche, militari, accademiche, di rappresentanti del governo, del Parlamento e di organizzazioni internazionali, è stata data lettura della motivazione: "Il servizio istituzionale svolto dal Presidente Draghi a Francoforte riflette una forte dedizione a difesa l'Euro, nell'idea che la moneta unica sia prima di tutto uno strumento di promozione della pace fra le nazioni e di progresso di lungo periodo per gli Stati membri".
I giovani, ha aggiunto Laruffa, hanno scelto Mario Draghi: "per la sua attenzione ai giovani, ai valori etici come principi al centro dell'economia e per aver esercitato le funzioni pubbliche a lui affidate, con competenza, senso del dialogo e lungimiranza, al servizio dell'Europa unita e in cammino".
Il premio è stato consegnato il 26 Marzo 2015 presso la sede della Banca d'Italia a Roma.
Ecco il testo completo della Motivazione Premio Internazionale Sulle spalle dei giganti al Pres. Mario Draghi
Vi invitiamo a prendere visione della conferenza sul sito
e delle foto sulla Conferenza Annuale AISES 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rdboq594y5pa2ss/AACgvhVJZxaDGOpc-6Ybqfvha
EDIZIONE 2013 AL PRESIDENTE CARLO A. CIAMPI
Aises Young conferisce ogni anno il Premio “Sulle spalle dei giganti” alle personalità che sono i riferimenti intellettuali e gli esempi di condotta morale e istituzionale per il nostro futuro e la vita pubblica europea.
Il Premio 2013 “Sulle spalle dei giganti” è stato conferito al Presidente Emerito della Repubblica Italiana C. A. Ciampi, con la seguente motivazione:
Considerando l’alto esempio istituzionale e morale dimostrato in una lunga esperienza al servizio del paese e dell’Europa unita, prima come giovane impegnato nella resistenza e nella ricostruzione nel secondo dopoguerra, in seguito come Governatore della Banca d’Italia e Presidente del Consiglio in una fase di difficile cambiamento della nostra vita nazionale, poi come promotore della moneta unica e infine per aver sempre portato in alto i valori dell’Italia unita e di “un’Europa di Stati pari fra loro” in qualità di Presidente della Repubblica.
Nato a Paternopoli (AV) il 9 ottobre 1959, vive a Roma. Si è laureato in giurisprudenza (110 e lode/110) ed ha conseguito il Diploma (corso biennale) di perfezionamento in Diritto Amministrativo e Scienze dell’Amministrazione (90/90) all’Università di Napoli. E’ attualmente Capo di Gabinetto del Ministro dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca. Precedenti incarichi: Segretario Generale e Capo di Gabinetto dell’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato; Capo del Dipartimento per le Risorse Umane e Strumentali della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri; Direttore del Servizio Centrale per gli Affari Generali, la Qualità dei Processi e dell’Organizzazione del Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze; Vice-Capo di Gabinetto del Ministro del Tesoro Carlo Azeglio Ciampi; Vice-Capo di Gabinetto del Ministro del Bilancio e della Programmazione Economica Giuliano Amato nonchè Provveditore generale dello Stato.
Dal 1985 al 2006 ha collaborato con la cattedra di Diritto Amministrativo dell’Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”. Dal 1997 ha ricoperto l’incarico di Professore a contratto presso diversi Atenei: Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata” e “Roma TRE”, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Suor Orsola Benincasa”. Insegna “Metodi e modelli per l’organizzazione e la gestione delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni” presso la Facoltà di Ingegneria Gestionale dell’Università “Tor Vergata” e “Istituzioni di Diritto Pubblico” nell’ambito del corso ufficiale di “Economia e gestione aziendale” presso l’Università Europea di Roma. E’ docente e membro del Consiglio Direttivo del Master di II livello in: “Diritto Amministrativo e Scienze dell’Amministrazione” - nonchè responsabile del modulo “I contratti” – organizzato dall’Università “Roma TRE”.
Ha scritto su varie tematiche di Diritto Amministrativo e collabora con numerose riviste giuridiche, tra le quali il “Giornale di Diritto Amministrativo” e la “Rivista trimestrale di Diritto Pubblico”.
Ha partecipato al “Trattato di Diritto Amministrativo”, Giuffrè, 2000 e 2003, con la voce “Debito pubblico” e al “Trattato dei contratti”, con “Attività contrattuale e vincoli di finanza pubblica”, in “I contratti con la Pubblica Amministrazione”, Utet, 2007, t. I, 241 ss. Tra i volumi curati si ricordano: “Casi e materiali di Diritto Amministrativo”, il Mulino, 2001; “Il Regolamento sull’Amministrazione e la contabilità degli Enti Pubblici - D.P.R. n. 97/2003”, Giuffrè, 2005; “Il codice dei contratti pubblici di lavori, servizi e forniture”, Quaderno del GDA, n. 15, IPSOA, 2007; “Lo Stato compratore. L’acquisto di beni e servizi nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, ASTRID, Il Mulino, 2007; “Esternalizzazioni: lo stato dell’arte” in “L’esternalizzazione delle gestioni amministrative nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, IRPA, Maggioli Editore, 2007; “Primo Rapporto sulle esternalizzazioni nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, IRPA, Maggioli Editore, Maggio 2007; “La spending review e l’organizzazione amministrativa” in “Finanza pubblica e finanza privata”, Maggioli Editore, 2008; “Il modello Consip. Profili evolutivi” in “Consip: il significato di un’esperienza”, FrancoAngeli, 2008; “La difficile affermazione di una cultura della gestione nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, in “Le Amministrazioni Pubbliche tra conservazione e riforme”, Giuffrè, 2008; “Secondo Rapporto sulle esternalizzazioni nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, IRPA, Maggioli Editore, Gennaio 2009; “L’organizzazione centrale” in “Il sistema amministrativo italiano”, il Mulino, Studi e Ricerche, 2009; “Terzo Rapporto sulle esternalizzazioni nelle Pubbliche Amministrazioni”, IRPA, Maggioli Editore, Luglio 2011; “Gli acquisti delle amministrazioni pubbliche nella Repubblica federale”, ASTRID, Il Mulino, 2011; “L’organizzazione centrale dello Stato. Tra tentativi di innovazione e conservazione”, Editoriale Scientifica, 2012.
Tra le sue pubblicazioni più recenti: “Le competenze dell’AGCM nei mercati finanziari”, in Mercati finanziari e protezione del consumatore, Francesco Brioschi Editore, 2010; “Appalti pubblici e concorrenza” in “20 anni di Antitrust - L’evoluzione dell’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, Giappichelli Editore, 2010; “Concorrenza e Amministrazioni Pubbliche” in La Costituzione Repubblicana, Edizioni ARES, 2010; “Le pratiche commerciali scorrette” in Obbligazioni e Contratti, Utet Giuridica, n. 3, Marzo 2011; “Il ruolo dell’AGCM nei SPL” in Rivista bimestrale L’ACQUA – Speciale: Il futuro dell’acqua fra referendum e norme, n. 2/2011; “Servizi portuali e concorrenza nel rilancio dell’economia” in Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI S.p.A - CONFINDUSTRIA, Luglio/Settembre 2010-2011.
Ha partecipato a vari convegni e conferenze, in Italia e all’estero, con interventi e relazioni in lingua italiana ed inglese. Dal 1985 svolge attività di ricerca.
China is becoming an important new actor in the euro sovereign bonds market. Numbers are important:
7% of the aggregate European public debt is today deposited with the Central Bank of China, distributed among bonds of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy (15% of the Italian debt), just to mention the more important issuers.... (continue...)
A New Europe for the future, a new future for Europe!
This short document gathers together personal opinions and voices of some young European citizens from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, UK, Germany. Youth is the best resource for future Europe.
What we're talking about… What others are saying… Have you got something to say?
Follow us on twitter @AisesYoung #WeCare
New Europe. Let’s reawake our dream!
Since 2008, when the 1st effects of the current economic crisis arose in our continent we have seen that each Member State alone is not strong enough to react with effective policies to the social and economic difficulties we are still living.
After eight meetings of the European Council, the euro survived intact to 2012 thanks to the decisions taken by the European Central Bank under Mario Draghi.
Actually the crisis is not a thing of the past at all. The unemployment rate is climbing towards new negative records and the political populism is spreading in our democracies fomented by inequalities and insecurity.
We know already the future challenges we’ll have to face. For example in 2030 none of the European MSs will be involved in the most important global meetings because new economies will take our seats in the G8 Summits and we know that by 2050, nearly a third of all European inhabitants will be over the age of 65. The risk of becoming an unheeded ancient periphery of the world and the demographic winter are only some aspects of next decades.
We have to overcome these obstacles but we cannot do that with the current ineffective decision-making process we have today, for these reasons as I believe we need a new step in the European integration process for making stronger our Union by the adoption of a Constitution for Europe.
Only a Constitution can give a long term vision for the future and reflect the common heritage of values of our continent introducing a code of rules to protect and promote civil, political and social rights, a true democratic participation and accountability system, clearer equilibrium of powers between the European institutions and division of the competences of the European institutions from those of the Member States. A Constitution as a plan for future generations and a pact of the people, for the people, may be the turning point Europe needs for establishing an international capacity of action as a global player together with the US.
Together we can do more than that we can do divided and create new opportunities for reawaking the dream of an entire generation of young whose hopes and energies are the most important resource of our continent.
Statement of interests by young European citizens
Crisis of the sovereign debts, taken up by the unemployment, the loss of marks and the growing globalization is the future in which the youth of Europe have to belong to!
In this year of 2013 of the European citizenship, us - basic citizens among the others but Europeans first, we rebel in front of the rise of the dangers in Europe and of the absence of dialogue and innovations of our leaders and the political elite to face the surge necessary for the survival of our continent.
This deep change of society and model of civilization imposes us as new generation, to seize the opportunity to build stronger Europe. Plainer and more human. Europe shares the best practice of management and an effective model of public policies. This Europe has to aim towards harmonization of its practices, its economy and the current life.
We wish a federal Europe.
Based on a political imagination and a long-term view, Europe we want is the people one where the social innovation, the participation of all and the solidarity are first. Europe where the development of some comes through progress, offers a new perspective for others. This Europe has to be a leader in the global governance, worried about the equality of its members and about the world protection. Federal Europe we want is the saving outcome of our History and a culture under construction for centuries, such as our values and our traditions. We hold in Europe, then let be united and carry on!
Europe, our hope
Portugal 2013. The message for the youth is that we haven't got a present, and we are losing our future. The unemployment rate has reached 40%. Education is now a luxury instead of a right, because we have to pay tuition fees among the most expensive in Europe. In the last years, many thousands of young people left Portugal, leaving the country poorer. The government asks us to leave the country(“Government encourages unemployed youths to emigrate” http://economico.sapo.pt/noticias/governo-incentiva-jovens-desempregados-a-emigrar_130198.html).
In Portugal, the youth of today, unlike others in the past, looks to the future without hope. We, the Portuguese youth, are not alone. In the streets of Athens, the motherland of democracy, acts of discrimination against immigrants and minorities makes us remember of darker times. All over Europe, extremism is rising. Neo-fascist parties are already in the Parliaments of some European member states. Xenophobia between “the ones in the South” and “the ones in the North” is rising.
Victor Hugo once said that “a war between Europeans is a civil war”. Today, we live in a war. A war without weapons that we need to solve promoting a new phase of solidarity. The crisis that has started in the United States is today a European crisis. The “debt crisis” is actually a social and growth crisis. Europe needs a new beginning and the European youth needs a new beginning. We are the new beginning for Europe. The solution for this crisis will decide our future, as already happened for other generations with the end of the Cold War, or the April Revolution in Portugal. We need a Federal Europe. We are the Erasmus Generation. We are the most international of all generations. Between us there are no borders. We are europeanists, even in the most eurosceptical countries: in the United Kingdom, more than two thirds of the youth wants to stay in the Union. Today there is a bigger generation gap than a nationality gap.
We need a Federal Europe. We demand a truly democratic European federation. A Europe that is based in its core values: liberty, democracy, equality. A Europe of all Europeans, a Europe united in diversity. A Europe that aims to be the biggest democracy the world has ever seen: from Iceland to Turkey, from Portugal to Finland.
Today, we demand more Europe, because we need a future.
Filipe dos Santos Henriques(Portugal)
The idealism of the Youth is a great force, and a natural force for good.
The energy, enthusiasm, and ambition of the young generation are a huge resource, much bigger than any material resources a nation may have.
In the past the impressionable Youth, with their curiosity and hunger for experience, have often been manipulated by "Dear Leaders" with ideologies, by Kings with conquests and promises of glory. The huge potential has been used for dreadful purposes.
And they are also trying it today.
However, we say "No" to hatred, "No" to rivalry, “No” to individualism, and "Yes" to opportunities, “Yes” to awesome friendships, "Yes" to Unity.
We do not want to mine the border with Turkey, as certain political parties are urging us to. We want to travel to Turkey, see a new culture and make cool friends.
We do not want to report "immigrants” from other EU countries, as certain politicians are encouraging us to. We want to study in different cultures, go on Erasmus exchanges and have many new experiences.
We do not want to leave the European Union, as some lobbies would like us to. We want to have even more opportunities to travel, study and work anywhere across this wonderful continent. For too long we have been burdened with stereotypes, misunderstandings and hatreds about neighbouring nations, emerging from wars many decades, sometimes centuries ago. This is a baggage, a dark heritage, an obstacle, which many generations have gone through life with. It is a burden which has prevented them to fulfill their potential, which has stopped them from being united, despite all the obvious economic, financial, and educational benefits. Give the young a clean slate, a new beginning.
Allow them to use their enthusiasm, energy and ambition for what really matters, and we will have a better world. A world in which there is unity and countless opportunities.
Ivan Botoucharov(United Kingdom)
The future of Europe - a German perspective
Whether the celebration of the 50 year old contract of “Elysée” between France and Germany, the continuing engagement by the French government – supported by a number of European countries - in Mali, or the eurosceptical speech of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, a look into newspapers, television shows or on internet homepages in the last few days underlined a growing awareness of the European project. With the ongoing financial crisis, a recession in many European countries and the complex and a fast changing global environment, the future of Europe is now, more than ever, an important question to analyze. Although European integration in terms of intergovernmental treaties has proceeded quickly in the last 20 years, not the whole European population has profited from this amazing project and, more importantly, not the whole European population is convinced by this process. The speech of David Cameron about the future of Europe can be criticized for its style, the content and even the timing. However, he was right to emphasize that the European Union needs a reform. The current system does not include the European citizens enough. They only see Europe as the massive bureaucratic monster doing some senseless politics from Brussels. Changing this image is about the future of Europe. Only if everyone can identify himself at least to certain extent with this European project, the idea of a united Europe with different members will succeed.
As a politics student from Germany I am currently studying for two semesters at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Without the European Union and the ERASMUS program, this would have been impossible. For me personally it is a great opportunity to discover another university system, to improve my language skills and to deepen my professional language from a different perspective. Using ERASMUS clearly is a privilege which not, every young woman or man may enjoy. With high unemployment rates especially in the South European countries, there has to be introduced a more pan-European approach where economical as well as cultural exchange is promoted. Young people in favor of the European project should engage themselves for supranational projects because they can achieve a more friendship based relationship than politicians in charge. Talking to my French housemate in the morning after a long and exhausting night and laughing about a funny story creates more than simple friendship. It creates a further approach of young Europeans living practically next door to each other. For this reason, one can conclude that young people are the future of Europe, shaping friendships everywhere around the continent.
The challenge of European youth
The economics crisis has discovered some flaws in the European system. The austerity policies wonted by the northern countries are suffocating south countries, questioning their own sovereignty. Policies aimed to reduce deficit are also the causes which are spinning out the crisis at the expense of the rights and freedom of the people. In this dramatic situation is evident the lack of politicians able to influence the European decisions more rather than technocrats.
Perhaps this crisis has also worked for the European feeling. The News about coordinated European mobilizations and solidarity among European citizens are doing us feel closer social union.
The opportunity we have as young Europeans is to rethink Europe and start constructing the United States of Europe as a federation of states, with a president elected by a universal suffrage with a governmental institution and a helpful administration. We have traced a long way to this day, now is the time to draw our future together. We must begin to give global answers to the problems of the Union. Europe does not need more local responses to their global problems. Therefore, we must seek together a response to Euroscepticism and nationalism.
It's time to talk about future and hope. We are the generation of the crisis and we can play an important role for a new beginning by promoting new priorities and values: ecology, innovation, more participation. We want to change our condition from the generation of the crisis to that one of opportunities.
We wish a structural change will open the way for a new future without forgetting the past. It is time to join forces respecting differences and identities of different peoples of Europe.
David Donaire (Spain)
The founding father of ‘social capital’, Pierre Bourdieu, said that treating the church as an economic enterprise would lead to uproar, disbelief and the laughter of the bishops. Yet, in the last couple of decades, policy-makers and social scientists have increasingly sought to capitalise on faith by asking whether it produces social capital. In the context of faith-based social action in communities, this book asks what becomes of faiths when they are seen as social capital? Roger McCormick notes this book is a stimulating read but finds its political slant leaves out a more substantial analysis of the social capital metaphor and its perceived threat to faith communities.
Faith and Social Capital after the Debt Crisis. Adam Dinham. Palgrave Macmillan. May 2012.
Social capital has, the author tells us, long been dominant in social policy for “the liberal elites of Western democracies”. It “weds our ideas of the social to our experience of capital”. However, this book challenges that dominance. Amongst many criticisms (from linguistic to political), a fundamental one is that the concept is “muddled” because “it emerges out of wholly neo-liberal impulses –to put to economic work anything which can be used — but engages religious ones to its ends”. The modern political tendency to “marketise” so many aspects of economic and social activity (and, particularly, to shrink government’s role) is condemned throughout.
The author is Reader in Religion and Society at Goldsmiths. As the title suggests, he finds, in the financial crisis (described as the “collapse of capitalism itself”), reasons for arguing that the markets’ influence should be reduced especially as regards to religious matters and the activities of “faith groups”.
Whilst academics may differ about definitional details of social capital, Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFIs) like the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) give some helpful website indications of how they see social capital and why, MFIs take it seriously. The World Bank tells us that social capital “refers to norms and networks that enable collective action”; it encompasses “institutions, relationships, and customs that shape the quality and quantity of a society’s social interactions”. The term “social capital” may, in reality, be little more than a convenient, modern label for social phenomena that have existed for centuries but, nevertheless, has substance. Social capital can help a community address common needs, foster greater inclusion and better communications and increase transparency and accountability.
Effective relationships that facilitate common endeavours lie at the concept’s heart. The notion that “capital” is involved stems from a recognition that these phenomena have value to society just as credit balances in bank accounts do. MFIs, particularly those concerned with “transition” to market economies, tend to see the presence of strong social capital as being linked to economic development.
Supporters of economic liberalism will generally see merit in the idea of social caiptal as a force for the “good” of assisting with conversion to, or expansion of, a market-based system. The author is not among their number. Although he tells us that he is not against capitalism as such, he is clearly not a cheerleader, seeing as a “key feature of capitalism” the “transfer of wealth, as profit, not only into the hands of smaller and smaller elites of owners, but also away from individuals and towards institutions.” He doubts that capitalism can “really cope with being confronted with the stories of the poor as well as the wealthy”. He is appalled by the UK coalition government’s “wholesale reassertion of free market capitalism” as he sees capitalism’s “tentacles” extending “in every direction”.
He is especially scathing about the exaggerated importance attached to markets by capitalism and how the “language of capital” is used “to explain more and more things”. On several occasions, he complains that “social capital” is a concept that “arises in the context of the overemphasis of the capital and the underemphasis of the social.” For him, the language of markets and related concepts does not fit with the idea of faith and faith communities.
The book has a tendency to confuse three lines of argument: that the idea of social capital has had its day; that social capital concepts have no place in explaining faith groups’ activities; and that markets play too great a role on the formulation of public policy. Hovering uneasily amongst these issues is what seems to be a point on choice of language: the use of the word “capital” in “social capital.”
However, even if this reviewer found the author’s arguments do not always flow, the author’s case does gradually build momentum. Chapter 1 starts the analysis by lengthy reference to a 2006 study in which he was involved (“Faith as Social Capital”) exploring the contribution of faiths to the “public realm”, with extracts from case studies in the UK regions. The study “accepted the logic of social capital” but the author comments now, as he looks back, that the findings do not need to be read only through the social capital “lens” which, as he sees it, “first marketizes, then distorts the contribution of religious faith and, in doing so, narrows its canvas of concern.”
Chapter 2 examines a 2010 study of faith forums and their relationship with government initiatives. Extensive use is made of unattributed quotes from participants in the study, evidencing reactions against perceived attempts to make faith groups compete for government funding. Chapter 3 then considers how social capital ideas have evolved up to the present day and summarises the views of the main exponents of social capital theory (Bourdieu, Coleman, Putnam and others). Giddens (and the “Third Way”) is criticised — with the unfortunate repetition of the same two consecutive paragraphs, verbatim, on pages 50 and 100. There is also a summary account of “social capital as public policy”. Chapter 4, surveys various criticisms that have been made of social capital and expands on why the use of the metaphor is thought so dubious when applied to faith groups:
“..the problem with metaphors is that their boundaries set the shape and tone of the thing they relate to. So when we think about faiths in social capital terms, we think about what capital they produce. More than a helpful metaphor, social capital is revealed as a highly normative concept, one which commodifies its subjects and renders their relationships mere lubricants for the really important business of market-making.”
How could the worthy “social” get mixed up with a money-grubbing word like “capital”?
Later sections are dominated by a railing against the evils of markets and “neo-liberalism”. However, the final chapter introduces more measured discussion, focusing on an alternative approach to assessing faith communities’ contribution, examining what they do “as they see it themselves”.
Members of faith communities might well dislike being seen as “contributors” to a country’s social capital — just another section of the “voluntary sector”. There is more to “faith” than that. But, apart from the purely spiritual, the social work of faith groups is of vital importance and value. It ranges from night shelters, food banks, credit unions, housing trusts, legal advice, street patrols and support groups to serving hot Christmas dinners to the lonely or the homeless. Does it really matter so much if “market” language is used (as one of many ways) to describe it? Is the vocabulary of the market and competition really so distasteful and dangerous?
Some interesting points are made in the book and much of it is a stimulating read. A little less straying into the political arena, and less naive commentary on the financial crisis, would have provided better balance and allowed more room for analysis of whether the perceived threats to faith communities posed by the social capital metaphor are of real substance. And perhaps, just perhaps, the author has allowed himself to get too exercised about one word…capital!
Roger McCormick is the Director of the Sustainable Finance Project at London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Visiting Professor at LSE. He is also the author of Legal Risk in the Financial Markets (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. 2010). He retired from full-time private legal practice in 2004, having practised law in the City of London for nearly thirty years. Read reviews by Roger.
Fabio Fortuna is Full Professor of Business Administration. He is vice Rector and Dean of the Faculty of Economics of Niccolò Cusano University of Rome, where he teaches Accounting and Financial Reporting; he also teaches “Auditing” at Luiss University.
He is member of the Advisory Board of the “Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale” (AIDEA).
He is member of the Advisory Board of the “Dean Conference of the Economics and Statistics Faculties”.
He is member of several Editorial Boards and Scientific Committees.
He is the President of the “Associazione Nazionale Docenti di Ragioneria ed Economia Aziendale”
Ordinary member of the “Accademia italiana di Economia aziendale” (AIDEA), “Società Italiana dei Docenti di Ragioneria ed Economia Aziendale” (SIDREA), “Società Italiana di Storia della Ragioneria” (SISR) e “European Accounting Association” (EAA).
He published many books and articles dealing with Accounting and Business Administration.