From crisis to recovery: the opportunity that Italy must not miss
Economic revival, Recovery Plan, the Draghi government and victory at the European Championship: there are many factors that can restart the Italian economy. Provided that politics, finance and business do their part
“The crisis is the greatest blessing for people and nations, because the crisis brings progress”. Albert Einstein was certainly not the first to argue that a crisis could turn into a great opportunity, but he was undoubtedly the one who expressed the concept with greater frankness and without mincing words.
And his maxim is very timely: the crisis triggered by Covid is extremely serious and, as far as Italy is concerned, it has entered a particularly difficult economic situation. In fact, we must not forget that GDP has not yet returned to the levels of 2008, the year in which sub-prime mortgages and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers threatened to overwhelm the world economic and financial system.
Today, however, numerous signs of recovery can already be seen in our country. A recovery that could finally prove to be sustained and lasting. In short, a trend reversal that halts the now decennial decline. This year the economic turnaround is more sustained than economists expected, while in recent years the reality has always been more disappointing than forecasts. The prestige of the Draghi government has brought Italy back to the centre of European politics and the weakness of Macron’s France and the imminent departure of Angela Merkel have made it even more important. Finally, there was the victory at the European Championships, which created a climate of euphoria that will certainly make its own contribution to relaunching consumption.
In short, in recent months, everything has gone well, but to continue the run we now need everyone’s contribution. Starting with politics, finance and business. Also, because the sums of the European Recovery Fund are starting to arrive and they will be many and able to give a decisive acceleration to our economic recovery. Provided, of course, that they are used in the best way.
Politics must guarantee a certain, effective and simple regulatory framework. In Italy there is a need for “controlled” deregulation based on national coordination. In fact, it is not sustainable for companies to build a photovoltaic park according to certain rules in Basilicata and according to others in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The bureaucratic machine must be streamlined for everyone. And the benefits will not be long in coming. The so-called “Genoa model”, the one that allowed the reconstruction of the Morandi bridge in just two years despite the Covid emergency, has shown that even in Italy things can be done quickly and well.
Finance, and especially the banking sector, must return to finance business plans that have prospects of success. The analysis of projects cannot be “automated”. For this change, however, credit institutions need people who know how to grasp the value (or alternatively the lack of value) of a business idea. The state, for its part, must facilitate financing, acting as a guarantor. Exactly as it did during the most acute phase of the economic and financial emergency.
Once the regulatory framework facilitates business rather than hindering it and the banking world provides the necessary funding, Italian entrepreneurs will go back to doing what they do best: excelling despite difficulties.
And the citizens will do the same, exactly as happened in the post-war economic miracle. As the Nobel Prize winner for literature Elias Canetti masterfully told in “Crowds and Power”, the survivors of the great crises – and all of us in some way will be – show a momentum and energy in returning to life to make a boom inevitable. It always happened this way in the past and it will happen this time too. The important thing is to be ready.