What is a “positive economy”?


French President François Hollande has recently received a report he had commissioned on positive economy; at the end of September, the 2nd edition of the LH Forum brought together those seeking to develop it. These two events set us wondering: what do they mean by a “positive economy”?


Over the past few years, there is a phrase we have been hearing increasingly often: “positive economy” – not to be confused with positive economics. In the wake of an economic crisis that is also proving to be a social, moral, environmental and financial crisis, a growing number of entrepreneurs, politicians, experts and citizens are standing for a redefinition of the economical concept that has led mankind throughout the past century; in other words, a redefinition and re-evaluation of capitalism. This idea is by no means marginal.

It has even recently reached the higher level of government in France: on 21 September, President Hollande received a report he had commissioned on positive economy

(you can learn more about the report here, and download it – in French – here.) A year ago, on the occasion of the first LH Forum organised by the “Movement for a positive economy,” he had asked Jacques Attali, former special advisor to president François Mitterrand and now President of PlaNet Finance, to work on the report, in order to identify potential opportunities for France. This year, from 25 to  27 September, the second edition of the LH Forum brought together actors from all over the world and a wide range of backgrounds to share their thoughts on one simple – yet ambitious – idea: “The economy is changing, let’s change the economy.”


An economy that “seeks more than profit”


As Jacques Attali plainly wrote in the introduction to the programme for the 2013 forum, “[our methods of development are] now obsolete. The Movement for a positive economy came about from the desire to turn the different crises into opportunities for positive transformation of our economy and for challenging our production and consumption habits […].”

The LH Forum embodies the desire to “put everyone in the same room” and share the best ideas for actually transforming our economy.

The Movement for a positive economy looks to counter a “negative economy” marked by financial scandals, debts and unemployment, by looking to oppose the actors who are already working every day to create an economy centred “around the principles of economic equality, fairness, sustainability, and humanity,” writes the Forum’s website. In short, an economy that “seeks more than profit.”



The growing importance of the positive economy concept in the intellectual, corporate and political worlds is good news. It is proof that social business and corporate social responsibility are progressively making their way to the core of the “classic” economy.

This integration that creates opportunities, and also questions our vision of capitalism: can corporate companies entirely embrace the aims of social business (see the end of this interview this Emmanuel Faber, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and Deputy General Manager of Danone)? What is fro certain is that they will be advocates of positive economy, and foster its development within their own structures.

Photo © LH Forum

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