Without Price or Clamour

  • Luigino Bruni
Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC, volume 4)


The story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, the Egyptian official, is a great lesson on the grammar of loyalty. Loyalty is not a virtue of our time. For centuries, companies and institutions have resorted to living with a legacy of loyalty that was generated by the values of hard work and practices of families, churches, communities, and fuelled by the grand narratives, by art and literature. For some decades, we have intentionally stopped creating these values and practices, but the need for loyalty still remains and grows. So, a few decades ago we thought we could replace loyalty with incentives, paying and controlling workers and managers, hoping to make them “loyal” also in the cases when ‘none of the men of the house was there in the house’ to see them and control them. Too bad that now we have to realise, that this substitution only works for simple things but it is harmful when handling important or crucial situations. The radical fragility of our economic and social system derives from a severe deficiency of the virtue of loyalty.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigino Bruni
    • 1
  1. 1.GEPLI Department – EconomicsLibera Università Maria SS. AssuntaRomaItaly

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