Economy of Mutuality

  • Kevin T. JacksonEmail author
Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC, volume 1)


The paper develops a triad of business archetypes. In each archetype, alternative emphasis goes to elements of profitability and financial independence on the one hand, and poverty alleviation and solidarity on the other. Archetype 1: Business enterprises conducted primarily as for-profit institutions to the end of financial sustainability. Financial self-reliance is a precondition of a firm’s survival and for remaining capable of continuously expanding products or services to new clientele. Archetype 2: The social and financial missions of business enterprises are merged; a coordination of social and financial functions is at the heart of the “promise” of the company as a sustainable enterprise. Archetype 3: Businesses are run with principal allegiance to social missions – outreach to the poor, environmental rectitude, and other facets of sustainability.

The paper argues that the trio of archetypes also serves as alternative teleological exemplars of the purpose and nature of business. Archetype 1 presupposes the essence of business as profit maximization. Under Archetype 2, business is a means for creating varieties of value for a broad range of stakeholders. For Archetype 3, the purpose of business is serving the common good, with profits secondary and derivative.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solvay Brussels School of Economics and ManagementUniversité libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BrusselsBelgium

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