The paper illustrates the key conceptual dimensions of an international research project under way, whose aim is to develop an analytical framework to understand and support what is defined as "Foundational Economy". The focus is for the consequences of the financialization process on the production and supply of goods and services widespread in everyday life and/or crucial for the effectiveness of a full social citizenship. Such consequences clearly mark convergences and differences between "models of capitalism". The research analyzes, both in continental Europe and in Anglo-Saxon contexts, the tensions between the liberalisation processes and the privatisation of formerly public services, on the one hand, and the conception of the company and its relationship with society, on the other. The conceptual and operational basis of such tension is the idea of value as point-value maximization: that is, the notion that the results of economic activity must be assessed in the view of the short-term interest of the controlling shareholder, regardless of the medium-to-long term implications and of the advantage/disadvantage of different agents. Beyond the stakeholder alternative, the idea of "social license" is discussed and illustrated as a policy tool. In the final section, some broader implications of the Foundational Economy perspective are discussed.
Keywords: Foundational economy, capitalism, social citizenship, material life