It’s not just because she shows great vision and strategic economic sense (read the interview with our journal in this regard). It’s not just because she knows how to reconcile economic growth, creation of new skilled jobs and environmental sustainability. It’s certainly not just because she is a woman in a country, Italy, where women find thousand obstacles to occupy top positions in the economy, academia and politics. It’s not only for these reasons but for sure these are enough to dream Catia Bastioli, the current Ceo of Novamont and chairwoman of the Kyoto Club Italy, as the next Italian Minister of Economic Development.
Just a few days to elections in Italy. And the feeling is that the policy proposal is still whole self-referential, able to look only to the future behind our backs. Instead, we need a new government, aware of the dramatic economic crisis from which our country is struggling to emerge, offering a vision of growth and development over the next twenty-thirty years, with practical recipes of which the bioeconomy can only be important basis.
Let me be clear, it is far from us to say that today the political offer is all the same, but we see that all those who aspire to become the next prime minister have had, more or less, the responsibility of government in the last twenty years (Berlusconi even 8 years the last 10 as president of the Council).
In any other country it would have been sufficient, noted the failure, to fold, to make room for a new political generation that can look forward with confidence to the future and to propose new economic, social and environmental measures, with a reliability that certainly not have those who have already shown to be unable. But you know this country is not a country for young people (and it’s not just a matter of personal data).
Wrote the Italian historian Carlo M. Cipolla, one of the few Italian historians ascribable to the great French school of the Annales, that the base of Italian decadence in the Fourteenth century was “the establishment of the Lordships (which) had led to a sharp deterioration of social life: the masses felt increasingly alienated from government, and social discrimination were more and more to favor politics’ adhesions and family tradition rather than enterprise and merit. Craft and merchant activities had begun to be seen as vulgar occupations relegated those who exercised in the lower layers of society”.
The Fourteenth century looks so stunning in this part of history that we are going through, at the turn of two centuries. Yes, once again the history as a teacher of life reminds us that after a period of rise – as was the Thirteenth century in Italy – comes a period of decline. The point is to understand how long this decline will last, because it doesn’t seem that the Italian ruling class has gained knowledge about it. And at the same time also surprises that there aren’t streets full of people who protest, unemployed and marginalized, victims of past and present guilds and greedy and short-sighted groups of power. But perhaps it is true that, unlike the French, the Italians don’t have a true “revolutionary consciousness” because we never felt as a nation and we have always favored individualism, or familism.
And yet we are still a great country, an industrial country, with entrepreneurs and scientists that all the world envies. But for how long? The greatness can’t exist forever, if not well-fed and innovated.
From this point of view one of the most dramatic news that gave us the last few days is the data on registrations at universities from 2003/2004 to 2011/2012: the number of new students fell from 338 thousand to 280 thousand, 17% less . And to have the greatest impact on this phenomenon are the graduates of technical and professional schools, traditionally attended by the poorer classes.
Back to be awarded the family tradition rather than enterprise and merit. And young people lose confidence in a better future. All the Italian ruling class should look very carefully these phenomena, and would do it if there were more leaders. But the election campaign we are seeing once again does not seem to enter into the substance of these problems.
Our view on this is still oriented towards optimism. If you want, to Gramsci’s optimism of the will. With a first wish: that the elections on Sunday and Monday will give us a government capable of governing. And that will be called to the government men and women for their skills and moral values. Dreaming, maybe, Catia Bastioli as the next Minister of Economic Development.