"Towards metaprofit: gratuitousness and profit in business management". The twelfth volume of the series “Journals of the Observatory” has been published.

Giorgio Mion and Cristian Loza Adaui

Verso il metaprofit. Gratuità e profitto nella gestione d’impresa

(Towards metaprofit: gratuitousness and profit in business management)

Preface by Most Rev. Giampaolo Crepaldi

Cantagalli, Siena, 2011


Dialogue between economy and the Social Doctrine of the Church becomes increasingly intense in times of crisis: the challenges of contemporary economy, which seems unable to absorb its own failures, increase in numbers in the quest for new solutions.

This book seeks to offer a new outlook on the problem of business management on the basis of the fact that corporate expression is multiform in nature, and that human economic activity is not always fuelled by utilitarian aims. Beginning from the need for whatever is ‘economic’ to preserve its nature of pursuing a rational solution to human requirements, reasserted is the essential social function of corporate activity.

The basic question, therefore, comes down to the space of gratuitousness within the ambit of economic activity: is the rationale of ‘gift’ always ‘non economic’, or can it have a role to play in an enterprise? Can the creation of value always be circumscribed within rigidly economic schemes, or does it tend beyond them to much broader horizons?

The ‘metaprofit’ perspective seems to be opening up towards a broad and sweeping panorama, where flourishing alongside typical forms of business endeavor are new types of enterprises prone to conjugate the economic dimension explicitly with the social, cultural and environmental dimensions, etc.  All this moving from the economic rationale of gift: trade and exchange are not always driven by utilitarianism, but often stem from broader and deeper human relations, wherein the concept of gratuitousness is by no means alien. In fact, it is impossible to postulate any human activity – and likewise economic ones – if left out of the picture is gratuitousness as a fundamental anthropological category.

Beginning from a rigorous economic-business methodological approach and an attentive analysis of the Magisterium of the Church, this book’s authors analyze a series of company theories, discovering some of their limitations, and project the way forward towards a renewed ‘metaprofit’ theory of business, which goes beyond mere profit-taking rationale as the end-all and be-all of corporate activity.

This is the basic reason why the book comes to an end with a new openness in ethical terms. In fact, it would seem that economic rationale does not always suffice unto itself, but needs  brightened ethical hues.