Those who are aware of where they are manage to produce more. Because a company is not some metaphysical entity isolated from its environment. It is not some impervious, unassailable bloc that produces, makes profits and nothing else. It is not divorced from history and from those who build it. Corporate culture – which attests to its ability to produce – is also fed by an awareness of the context in which the company operates. The good entrepreneur and the good company and its managers therefore also need room for further investigation of their past. To better understand the present and to be better prepared for tomorrow.
This is illustrated in a speech at LUISS given by Ignazio Visco, Governor of the Bank of Italy, during the celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Guido Carli.
“Guido Carli and modernisation of the economy” is not just a way of commemorating a teacher, for it is also an opportunity to focus on the twists and turns of history, and on how important it is to retrace the story of industrial development in Italy. A text that certainly arouses conflicting opinions, but one that needs to be read.
Visco recalls Carli through some excerpts from his report as the Governor of the Bank in 1971. Concepts, terms and concerns that appear very relevant today. Carli wrote of “concerns about the ability of [the system] to survive”, of “preventive reflection”, “defective knowledge”, and “particularistic visions and attitudes” that really do sum up the fears and needs of the present day. And, Visco reminds us, it was Carli who always posed himself, and others, the question of the so-called “structural modernisation of the Italian economy”. An ambitious and complicated but essential objective, which would enable the country to return to growth. Then, as now.
The concerns and objectives are thus almost identical, and so too are the tools needed to achieve them. Starting with de-bureaucratisation and a simplification of the rules. But but also with the untangling of all sorts of state-generated and other traps and snares that hinder development. It is here that, taking from Carli, Visco points his finger and gets people talking. The Governor writes: “Italy’s problems today are very similar to those that could be seen at the end of Carli’s governorship: ‘traps and snares’, in the sense of rigid bureaucratic, legislative, corporate, business and trade-union rules, are always the main hindrance to the development of this country.” And not only, because Visco ends by explaining: “Today there is no lack of awareness of what needs to be done, just as there wasn’t in the past either. But the actions of politics and society appeared to be impeded and what has been done is far from being enough. The consequences of immobility today are however different from those that were seen in the 1970s: back then there was inflation, whereas now there is stagnation. The signs of recovery we see are encouraging, but they must be confirmed in the months and years to come: perseverance along the path of reform is essential. It will be possible to return to robust, long-term growth only by tackling head on the structural problems that were already slowing down the Italian economy even before the latest crisis and that have exacerbated its consequences.”
All good food for good corporate culture.
Guido Carli and Modernisation of the Economy
Banca d’Italia-Università LUISS, 28 March 2014