The latest book by Pierluigi Ciocca illustrates the links between the country’s economic crisis and cultural crisis

 

Understanding better in order to act better. It is one of the key principles of action for good business management but also for the entire economy. Without mentioning the need of every prudent manager as well as every good entrepreneur, to find out more in order to understand and then decide. It is for this reason that reading “Tornare alla crescita.Perché l’economia italiana è in crisi e cosa fare per rifondarla” (Back to growth. Why the Italian economy is in crisis and what to do to revive it), written by Pierluigi Ciocca and just recently published – is really necessary. A little over two hundred pages long in a small format but of great depth concerning the situation of the Italian economy, the path that led it here and on what should be done to make it emerge from the crisis that has its vice-like grip on it still.

The book is a collection of writings “variously dated and variously set”, which provide an account of the analysis conducted by Ciocca regarding the Italian economy. The work revolves around a consideration that applies to all the pages of the book: “Having been lively in the past, the Italian economy has been at a standstill for years. To contribute to this decline were: public finance, unbalanced; infrastructure, deteriorated; the legal system, inadequate; business dynamism, tarnished. Europe is not doing what it could. Culture, institutions, politics, last but not least civil society in the country are called upon to react, to cope. Only in this way will Italy be able to find the way for growth”. While this is the summary outlined by the economist, the same is facing an Italy with low productivity and high unemployment, a country that is succeeding only slowly in coming out of the recessions of 2008-2013 and that especially hides some fundamental problems: the public debt that irritates the financial markets; crumbling infrastructure; the right of the economy which is becoming obsolete; companies that fail to respond to the urgent need to invest and innovate, seize the opportunities of the digital revolution.

Ciocca writes about the history of the Italian economy in a plain, and comprehensible language, not without technicalities but always attentive to making himself understood. The limits of economic policy have had a massive influence, according to the author: the incomplete budgetary reform; the cutting of public investment; delays in the rewriting of the system; the insufficient competitive pressure on companies. Ever since the devaluation of the Lira in 1992, businesses are resting on the laurels of the easy profit forecast by a weak exchange rate, by wage moderation, by state subsidies, by the scandalous tax evasion.

So, what can be done? For Ciocca, an overhaul of the economy is vital to stop its regression. Starting with the Euro as the precious and indispensable currency. The author indicates a solution entailing seven moves. These are seven lines of action: from rebalancing the budget to a new strategy for the South of Italy, via public investment, a different European policy, distributive equalisation, a new right of the economy, and competition.

But Ciocca’s book is also distinguished by more. It is not only about the economy in crisis, because this has its roots much deeper than the economy, in the deepest layer of culture, institutions, the policy of the Belpaese. Culture and habits too, a way of understanding the common good. It is for this reason – especially, perhaps – that the literary work of Ciocca should be read and appreciated.

There is a beautiful quote by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the beginning of the book: “There is a growing conviction within me that the economic factor, albeit crucial, does not explain in full the nature of the crisis that we are still experiencing […]. It is to factors of a cultural nature – and if the adjective does not scare too much, of a spiritual nature – that we must look with lucidity and critical sense”.

 

Tornare alla crescita. Perché l’economia italiana è in crisi e cosa fare per rifondarla (Back to growth. Why the Italian economy is in crisis and what to do to revive it)

Pierluigi Ciocca

Donzelli, 2018

18/12/2018