We need to look around and behind us to understand corporate culture in Italy today. Search in the past and present, talk to entrepreneurs. Investigate the decisions made, the roads taken, what has taken place and is taking place inside and outside factories and offices. A difficult yet fascinating task, not just academic but also tremendously practical and useful. 

Aldo Bonomi has attempted this with success in his latest work Il capitalismo in-finito [“In-finite Capitalism”] coming out now. This is a packed and exciting journey which bases on some questions. What has changed, for example, compared to the triumphant years of the upwardly mobile small and medium-sized Italian corporate model? And what since hundreds, thousands of entrepreneurs in northeast Italy invested money, even though they knew they were running a risk, and launched into new challenges, driven by the aspiration to make a name on the market and earn their place in the sun? 

The answer is “everything” and the demonstration by Bonomi moves from a voluminous series of data and interviews throughout industrial Italy: from post-Fordism Turin to the Veneto foothills with Padua and Vicenza, from Modena to the Adriatic areas of Pesaro and Urbino, from Florence to Syracuse.

It should be pointed out that Bonomi has put together not just a research paper but a series of tales and stories of life which aid in understanding better what has been done, what is the corporate cultural model which has accompanied the growth of the Italian economy to date and, now, its stagnation and the many doubts about the future which afflict entrepreneurs, politicians and the general public. 

A book and a journey which are reminiscent, in a certain sense, of other similar ventures such as those by Guido Piovene (Viaggio in Italia – “Italian Journey”) and by Giorgio Bocca (Miracolo all’italiana – “Italian Miracle”) which however narrated a country which seems centuries away from that of today.


Il capitalismo in-finito

Aldo Bonomi

Einaudi, 2013.