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Which crisis? And how to break free?

Understand the crisis to figure out how to get past it. To easy task, but one which businesses are being called upon to do during these times which have been hard on us all. We are all facing the same challenges and must all make what contribution we can to overcome them. But at the heart of it all, there must be a clear understanding as to what, exactly, is happening.

Stefano Zamagni, an experienced economist with his own particular view on the economy, has once again made his contribution to shedding light on the complexities of our times. Una crisi di senso, dunque di direzione (A crisis of meaning, therefore of direction) analyses the nature of the crises that a company may experience, their causes and, above all, how to move past them. Zamagni starts with an underlying assumption that focusing the origin of wealth in finance, rather than in productivity, has had the devastating effect of amplifying the spread of the “pseudo-culture” of the activity. In other words, our current crisis, he claims, was brought about by the idea that it is speculative finance that creates much more wealth much more quickly than being productive.

And paying the price are, in part, businesses, the concept of healthy, constructive enterprise, and paying heed to the social and ethical aspects of being productive and making a profit.

Zamagni gets straight to the crux of these issues and leaves us with wise words to ponder, such as the question “Who do managers work for, the shareholders or the business itself?” In other words, who has actual control over the business? He also rejects, in no uncertain terms, the solution of “negative growth” to the problems of this crisis, explaining, “The antidote to the current model of consumerism is not negative growth, but rather a ‘civil economy’, a programme of research and a way of thinking that is typically Italian.” In short, we can get free from this quagmire by building a new economy and a different culture of enterprise from those that are currently dominant.

Una crisi di senso, dunque di direzione is a weighty, impactful tome to be read carefully if we are to become richer.

Una crisi di senso, dunque di direzione

Stefano Zamagni

Aiccon Ricerca – University of Bologna, 2012 (in Italian)