AN ITALIAN economist reminded Thomasians last Sept. 24 to value passion for life and work and ideas over money.

Speaking at the International Conference on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center, Prof. Luigino Bruni of the University of Milan also said the problem of poverty won’t be solved by money alone.

“The media and the television always speak about making money. Don’t believe that. Money is always a shortcut. [Money-making] is not your task in society,” said Bruni, a member of the Focolare movement, on the second day of the two-day conference.

Bruni is a proponent of the “Economy of Communion,” a business model in which entrepreneurs use profit to expand their businesses and create more jobs, directly help those in need, and promote a “culture of giving.”

He emphasized the difference between an entrepreneur and the speculator. The latter only values profit, while the former values the activity.

“The goal or aim of the speculator is not the activity itself but to make money by means of the activity. For the speculator, what is important is money. The entrepreneur is a different kind of person because he values the activity. He is more interested in building and planning projects than taking money,” said Bruni.

While older people are more interested in money, the younger ones prioritize the more important things in life, he noted.

“Young people are interested in things more important than money. That means career and future. It is the vocation of young people that are essential. I think young people must show everybody that the most important things in life are passion and ideas, and not just profit-seeking,” said Bruni.

Retrato't rekuwerdo ng siglo de oro ng pelikulang Pilipino

Bruni said poverty is not the absence of money, but the absence of education, capabilities, rights, and freedom.

Other speakers were Arsenio Balisacan, dean of the UP School of Economics; Dan Songco, president of the Pinoy Me Foundation; Frank Liu of National Taiwan University; Antonio La Viña, dean of the Ateneo School of Government; and Celia Reyes of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), president of the Philippine Economic Society.

The conference was organized by the Graduate School, College of Commerce and business Administration, and Research Cluster for Cultural, Educational and Social Issues. Gervie Kay S. Estella


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