Three centuries in a month and moving forward: #Italy, #EU, and #COVID19 - 3. The Tafazzi approach to communication

3. The Tafazzi approach to communication

Miopia culturale e politica industriale in #Italia)

Well, the title is both a cultural and a scientific Italian reference (the links are toward Wikipedia, but have a look at "Tafazzi" on YouTube).

Do not worry, the only thing about the protein that I will share is: "The TAZ gene provides instructions for producing a protein called tafazzin, which is localized to mitochondria, the energy-producing centers of cells. Tafazzin transacylase activity is responsible for cardiolipin remodeling, critical to maintaining mitochondrial inner membrane structure and function. It also has unique acyl specificity and membrane curvature sensing capabilities.".

No, I do not claim to be able to explain that: I was just searching a non-graphical description of Tafazzi on Wikipedia, and I saw also the article on the protein named after him...

Done my duty toward science, time to get back to the reason why I quoted Tafazzi in this short update and commentary on the linked article, written in 2015, were I shared that often, in Italy, a rallying cry around the flag and national interest is usually seen as a solution per se.

Or: just rally, roll up your sleeves, and things will change for good

Well... it seems that be it in the 1990s or 2000s (e.g. girotondi), or 2010s (from "Forconi" to "Sardine"), a flash mob is just that- a mob that consorts in a flash, the fuzzier the purposes the better to expand its size.

Anyway, a flash mob is a poor tool for action: unless you qualify "action" as sitting together and making noise: due to a lack of a real convergence of interest toward action, the adrenaline unleashed by each get together it what keeps it alive.

And most of those "get together" end up being led by a "Lord of the Flies" who starts as a democrat, and ends up as a whimsical, mercurial despot.

This "mob rule" applies in small and big choices- and, unfortunately, also where defining a model of society to aim ("principles") should be considered a first step, not a collateral positive externality.

Within the 2015 article discussed specifically how this approach was often applied also to something such defining an industrial policy for the country, but by aggregating (you guess it) the interests of prevailing tribes.

Including, curiously, the view of managers of former State-owned behemots that actually originated from pre-WWII nationalizations and State initiatives (yes, the fascist corporate state phase), and, courtesy of Cold War, transitioned post-WWII with a change in leadership, but often limited change in behavior.

After privatizations, notably from the 1990s, many of those same companies merged and turned into something closer to Yeltsin era privatizations.

Even in this current crisis, the replacement for an industrial policy has been (and well before the COVID-19 crisis- I am referring to the one started in the early 2000s, again well before 2008) routinely to... invoke a "golden share".

Or: a political industry as a replacement for an industrial policy.

You can forbid or penalize businesses that relocate abroad, but to what end?

Will that make they grow? personally, in 2015 as before, and even more now, I considered that approach self-defeating, something that in politics is called in Italy "Tafazzismo", after a stand-up TV comic that whenever making self-defeating statements used on his own private parts something mimicking Fred Flinstone's baseball bat...

Why? because delocalization and "drifting" started decades ago: reshoring will certainly happen in some cases, but as I wrote in Italian, many associate cheering crowds (be it citizens in the streets, at political events, on in industrialists' association meetings) with ability to deliver.

Which is sorely missing- also because, beside the physical equivalent of Facebook Likes (flash mobs), there is no convergence of resources and analysis toward a shared roadmap for action.

Frankly, it would be more interesting e.g. to connect with the new silk road, instead of doing it via other countries, as I think heard first from a former politicians, former Presidente della Camera Pivetti (now working for a railway advocacy group), at an event organized in Turin by the local industrialists' association.

I never voted for Northern League, the political party she belonged to, and I have no links to the railway industry (it is actually one of the few where I never worked), but in my view it makes sense to find positive reasons to reshore, than relying on negative fiscal or external reasons (right now COVID-19 is a good excuse for many who clamored for a fancical autarchy long before it).

Will globalization survive COVID-19? Well, I think so- but it will be a different kind of globalization, notably for Italy (provided that Italy does something proactive).

Creating incentives to reshoring or setting up shop in Italy is not just a matter of streamlining our convoluted fiscal system that seems able to release new tinkering measures almost on a weekly basis.

That would help but, frankly, if the behavior is predictable and manageable, a foreign company, if there were business reasons to set up shop in Italy, could quite easily do what others did in other countries: find a local "service provider" that would "filter" them from local complexity.

And, actually, since the 1980s I always advised my foreign colleagues who liked Italy when they visited for business, if they wanted to stay, to get hired by a foreign company, or at least negotiate in their package also full interfacing toward local and national authorities, utilities, etc.

In November 2015 I was an optimist: I assumed that I would have stayed in Italy a couple of years more (and, actually, I had said so in my interview for a contract in July 2015), but it seems that in Italy it is not just to companies that the approach on "reshoring" is "making impossible to leave".

Again: Italy needs to invest on human capital, as this is a critical element to move forward, but that should be coupled by creating positive opportunities, not generating artificial tunnels.

There was a time when actually the concept of orchestration was different