THERE ARE few more incongruous places for a seminar on the future of business than the Sacred Convent of Assisi, in Italy. From Schumpeter’s cell high in the convent’s outer walls, the view over rural Umbria was so beautiful it was like looking at the world through God’s eyes—not those of Mammon. The convent houses the nearly 800-year-old tomb of Saint Francis, the most poetic of holy men, who thought money was worth less than asses’ dung and inspired a mendicant order. On a night-time visit business-school students surrounded his tomb, as Franciscans in black robes charmed them with stories of their austere daily lives. The only gripe was that early friars failed to foresee that the thick medieval stonework would one day interfere with Wi-Fi.

The week-long seminar on business, work and the circular economy, in early September, had divine overtones. Organised by some of Italy’s leading universities, it laid the groundwork for a meeting between Pope Francis and entrepreneurs, academics and students in Assisi next March to discuss the “Economy of Francesco”, in homage to the saint. The pope’s aim is to draw on the ideas of the young, as well as on veterans of development such as Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, and Jeffrey Sachs, an American one, to create a more sustainable and humane economy.

Many businessmen—even...

via Business Feeds

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