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The Foundational Economy is a collective of (mainly) European academic researchers working together to develop a new way of thinking which challenges mainstream ideas about what economic policy should be.  Our focus is on the foundational economy – including health, care, education, housing,  utilities and food supply- because these basic goods and services are a driver of welfare and the basis of citizenship.

Our members come from several countries, a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and have different  political affiliations. As a group, we are developing a distinctive practice represented by our multi authored books and articles and our diverse outputs including public interest reports. We are collectively minded, work together continuously and aim to lever social innovation that changes what is politically possible. More information about the Foundational Economy can be found in Short Films.


News and Events

Turin FE Conference 13-15th September

With Covid in remission, our series of annual international conference resumes. This year in Turin from 13-15 September, Filippo Barbera and the organisers are bringing together Italian practitioners and academic researchers from many European countries for a conference in Turin. The theme is social innovation and public action and more specifically what can we and […]

New Italian book

New Italian book: between profit and well-being What is the state of the foundational economy in Italy? Perhaps large financial players are less deeply involved in the management of essential economic activities than in some other European countries. However, the Italian public sector is increasingly weakened by austerity policies and budget constraints, and the entire […]

New Belgian book

New Belgian book: social ecological transition In their new book The Essential Economy: An Engine for Social-Ecological Transition David Bassens and Sarah de Boeck have updated foundational analysis for a Belgian audience. They argue that the global Covid-19 crisis tmade Belgian society’s daily dependence on a number of economic sectors painfully clear. Healthcare, education, public […]

New International book

International book: reclaiming economics Here is the latest book in the Manchester Capitalism series: It’s a settling of accounts with mainstream economics by radical researchers from Rethinking Economics, the international movement which came out of the University of Manchester at the same time as early foundational economy research. The new book argues that we need […]

New edition of FE Book

New edition of FE book: Adaptive reuse The foundational project is a body of thinking and doing which develops by reworking earlier statements of position.  One of the frustrations is that critics and commentators seize on earlier formulations without recognising how these are now qualified by a process which the French architects Lacaton and Vassal […]

Transformation in Atzgersdorf

In foundational thinking, places are where essential economic and social needs come together and are met.  But, in a time of nature and climate emergency, these immediate needs must be met within planetary limits as part of a social-ecological transformation. Richard Baernthaler’s research report on Atzgersdorf, provides some indications about how to gain majority political […]


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