The Economics of Compassion Initiative believes that traditional top-down measures to alleviate poverty are historically exhausted. These measures have rigidly associated poverty with crime, violence, brokenness and despair and developing strategies that address poverty by focusing on fixing what’s wrong. The ECI’s re-imagined approach focuses not only on changing a community’s economic circumstances but changing the communal story. Changing the communal story shifts the question from “how can we fix what’s wrong” to “how do we create a life for people carved out of their own imagination.” The ECI’s approach maintains that you can’t have enduring economic and social change by building on a community’s brokenness, you must begin with a community’s strengths. There is a “hidden wholeness” beneath the brokenness that must be foregrounded for integral development. We appropriated the metaphor of “beloved community” to identify that type of change we desire in our communities. The metaphor of the beloved community requires the transformation of souls as well as the transformation of society.
ECI follows five principles in order to build a beloved community.