Stefano Zamagni

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

= Dr. Zamagni is the former Dean of Economics at the University of Bologna and currently directs the world's only post - graduate program in cooperative studies in Vancouver, Canada



"Stefano Zamagni is Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna and is also Visiting Professor at the University of Bocconi (Milan) and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University (Bologna Center). Professor Zamagni is the author of several books, including Microeconomic Theory (1987); History of Economic Thought (1995 and 2005); Living in the Global Society (1997); Economics: A European Text (2002); Multiculturalism and Identity (2002); Relational Complexity and Economic Behaviour (2002); Civil Economy (2004); A Civil Economic Theory of Cooperative Firm (2005). He has also published some 55 articles in both Italian and international journals."


"Famiglia e lavoro, with V. Zamagni (2012); Per un'economia a misura di persona (2012); Libro Bianco sul Terzo Settore (2011); Microeconomia: scelte, relazioni, economia civile, co-authored with L. Becchetti and L. Bruni (2010); Dizionario di Economia Civile, co-authored with L. Bruni (2010); Cooperative Enterprise: facing the challenge of globalization, co-authored with Vera Zamagni (2010); Avarizia. La passione dell'avere (2009); La cooperazione, co-author (2008); L' economia del bene comune (2007); Civil Economy, co-author (2007) (translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian); Verso una nuova teoria economica della cooperazione, co-author (2005); Economics: A European Text, co-author (2002); History of Economic Thought, co-author (1993, 2nd editon 2005) (translated into Greek, Italian and Spanish); author of numerous books and articles in academic journals on capital theory, theory of consumer behavior, social choice theory, economic epistemology, economic ethics, and civil economy." (


"At a time when traditional economic theories are leading to societal breakdown, environmental disasters and economic collapse, Professor Zamagni's theories are refreshing and never more relevant.It is heartening and deeply moving to find an economist who takes into consideration, and with such authority, factors that matter to most of us: trust, reciprocity, belonging, relationships, civil society, the public good, redistribution of wealth, justice, ethics, and social capital. Other economists dismiss these as insignificant and unimportant externalities. Zamagni makes them central to how societies should and can operate. And he has the authority, credentials and connections to influence governments.

Prof. Zamagni rejects the reductionist view of many economists that humans are exclusively motivated by selfishness. He believes this is a distorted view of human behaviour. Instead he offers an economic theory that takes into consideration the well being of individuals and the public good. He assigns theoretical significance to our values, beliefs and ethics that go well beyond personal interest. In this regard he reminds us of Adam Smith's 'theory of moral sentiments' which articulated civic and economic morality. This is conveniently ignored by those who espouse self interest as the motivating force behind all human behaviour and who, out of context, quote Smith's invisible hand of the market to smooth out our excesses.

The foundation of Zamagni's economic theory is reciprocity - the countless reciprocal acts going on in families, in networks, in neighbourhoods in communities, in cities all the time. These informal transactions or gifts number in the millions and re-distribute wealth and nurture social capital better than the marketplace or the state. We ignore reciprocity at our peril. It is no surprise social breakdown and diminished civic involvement coincides with our economic troubles. Reciprocity creates and strengthens relationships and social networks. It is the foundation of associational life of social life. For Zamagni, the basic unit is the relationship not the individual “only in relations with you can I discover myself…these things are instrumental, the relationship itself is of value, and important to my well being.”

Zamagni has coined the phrase, 'relational goods' which are as important as private goods and public goods. And he believes the fundamental problem of western societies is, too few relational goods. An imbalance in this area is just as dangerous to society as being over over occupied by the seductions of the marketplace or becoming too dependent on the state to provide care. The former can become a substitute for relationships and the latter dehumanizes the recipient and ignores and inadvertently destroys the power of our natural relations." (

More Information

Video: Stefano Zamagni on Cooperatives as a Counterpoint to Corporatism

  1. Relational Goods
  2. Contributive Justice