Business and Professional Ethics Journal

Volume 41, Issue 2, Summer 2022

Sara Mandray
Pages 271-285

Relational Economy
A Promised Land beyond the Wilderness of a “Faceless Economy”?

Muhammad Yunus, Franck Riboud, Grameen Danone, those are some names and projects that may come to mind when thinking about social entrepreneurship. But what about Paul of Tarsus, John Chrysostom or Basil of Caesarea? In this theoretical article, we propose to revisit the ancient notion of oikonomia. Greek philosophers and after them the Church Fathers have drawn for more than twelve centuries the contours of this notion. In the light of their works, we consider the promise of an economy that can be intrinsically altruistic and generous. Building on the work of Paul Ricoeur, we study the ethical dimension of oikonomia as economy of the self, others and the city. The Christian oikonomia is then interpreted as practical wisdom. And at the top of it, social entrepreneurship appears as a sign of a new ethical form of economy that we call relational economy.