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The importance of disclosure

In a Lectio magistralis by the General Manager of the Bank of Italy, the importance of disclosure for the understanding of the present day

 

Know better to understand more where it is located. Having better knowledge in order better to understand where we fit in. This is a common objective for everyone – individuals, businesses, organisations -, yet a difficult one to achieve, especially in an era in which knowledge seems to be more readily available than in the past, but which instead is more out of reach than ever. The cacophony of information overload is preventing understanding. There is also the question of the tools which are available, which assist us only in appearance.

An improved knowledge of the world, then, stems from an improvement in the tools for acquiring knowledge and from the use which is made of them. It is the knot of disclosure which needs to be loosened. Something which is not easy.

It is on the subject of disclosure that an extremely recent discourse has been provided by Salvatore Rossi (General Manager of the Bank of Italy), in a Lectio magistralis held at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Department of Economics).

Rossi’s reasoning, having started with a description of the world of today from the point of view of the abundance of information available, of the teeming items of fake news and of the difficulty of juggling with all this, centres on the subjects of the economy and of economic and financial news. One of Rossi’s first conclusions is that “we are all extremely vulnerable, exposed as we are to every type of error or of manipulation, even when we consider that we are sufficiently well-versed not to incur this risk”. The need for care and attention, therefore, seem to be the first priorities required to construct news which are useful and trustworthy, as well as being understandable and therefore representing sound disclosure.

But the “Praise for disclosure” – this is the heading for the Lectio – goes further and addresses the subject of how to achieve improved understanding via improved disclosure. A target which can be attained only with honesty of content and clarity of explanation. “Disclosure – Rossi writes -, is the highest point of achievement in the activities of researchers, if the latter do so without losing anything of the strength of their arguments or of the precision of their analysis: disclosure in this sense means, as suggested earlier, translating but also pruning things down, focusing on the essential. It is a tiring and complex task. It requires broad vision”.

The Lectio magistralis by Salvatore Rossi is distant from sound economic and business cultures only in appearance. In reality it is one of its clearest current examples.

Praise for disclosure

Salvatore Rossi

Lectio magistralis, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Department of Economics,

05 October 2018