Pirelli has three strengths: “people, people and more people”. The statement by Marco Tronchetti Provera from some years ago is a recurring theme in conversations about the values and corporate culture of the Group. It is also echoed in declarations by many other great entrepreneurs and managers. The latest was pronounced by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo: “At Ferrari we value people” (la Repubblica, 7 April). There we have it: people, their abilities, their culture, their drive to do things and do them well. In a country like Italy which is low on raw materials and ranks high in the manufacturing industry (creating value with transformation), the priorities of any programme for growth should in fact relate to people, i.e. the growth of human capital and social capital, the network of positive relations. Culture and education, therefore. And yet, when we look at the most recent Eurostat figures we can see that Italy lags behind other EU countries in terms of public investments in culture and education. France allocates 2.5% of public expenditure to the two areas, the UK 2.1, Germany 1.8. The EU average is 2.2. Greece, with its extreme economic problems, 1.2. And Italy? Just 1.1, half the European average, a pittance. The figures confirm for the umpteenth time a situation already known, that of lack of responsibility by public administrators in safeguarding and valuing Italy’s historical, cultural and environmental heritage and in the forming of a new heritage (investments in contemporary art and culture). Private companies, who do in fact invest and often generously, cannot naturally make up for the lack of investment by public bodies.

 

Another figure adds to the alarm: the widespread return to emigration. In 2012 79 thousand Italians left Italy. 35 thousand are aged between 20 and 40 years old, an increase of 28% over the previous year. They go to Germany and other EU countries, Switzerland, Latin America, the USA, in search of better working and living conditions. Human capital lost, a broken network of relations and skills. 

 

To sum up, Italy does not invest in culture and training and has lost a large part of the capital it has built up. Companies suffer from this and Italy finds itself older, poorer, less dynamic and less ready for growth. 

09/04/2013