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Published on 2021-01-17 08:00:00 | words: 6364
The puppeteer syndrome and extreme tinkering in Italy
There is a couple of books that, in the past, routinely suggested as a quick overview of Italy (and the Italians)
1. Procacci History of the Italian People http://www.librarything.com/work/2571772/book/40299483
2. Jones The Dark Heart of Italy http://www.librarything.com/work/46621/book/40298949
Actually, if you want more depth, on my author profile on LibraryThing.com, by clicking at this link you can find a selection of almost 700 books just on Italy and Europe that I read and decided to share a link about, mainly since starting again to live and work in Italy everyday in 2012, but also with books that I read since the 1980s.
Almost all the books (except those that I wrote) have a star rating (to help you be selective), and here and there you will see book reviews that are actually both mini-essays and cross-reference other books.
So, I will strictly limit the number of books and other media that I will reference in this article.
Anyway, this article has been on hold for a week, both as I observed the evolution of the political situation in Italy and Turin, and... because I waited for a 10th anniversay to celebrate.
More about the latter later.
A caveat: this article will not discuss in details what is happening in Italy right now on the political side.
I will, instead, focus on some elements of the Italian social organizational culture (which includes both business and politics) that I had a chance to observe on a daily basis since early 2012, when I again started to deal with local bureaucracies, businesses, suppliers, and, overall, everyday life in Italy.
But with a different perspective: the "returning Italian" (not my choice, but still returning) that turns into a foreigner in his own country.
A quick summary: while on the "technical" side (i.e. not just technology, but also any structured form of knowledge expressed through action) we have here and there peaks that are as advanced (in some cases, more) than anything I found abroad, on the social organizational culture side...
... since the late 1990s (when I started living abroad) there was a further sliding back.
That can be recoverd, as I wrote online since 2003 (a magazine, while I was living in London) and 2007 (blogging, while I was living in Brussels).
But more about this later- also because, as I saw in Brussels, except understanding the end results (that were in the end recognized by non-Italians there as "scorched earth" tactics from Italy), it seems that even in multinational organizations there is still a lack of understanding of the structure under the surface of social organizational Italian culture that could go up to sheer gullibility and being co-opted into a wolfpack member- conned one step at a time, until end up being committed to saving also their own face.
It seems that in Italy we learned quite well how to mimick the "best practices", both in speech and in action, which was for us just another way of spinning, but few of the Italians who never lived abroad seem to really live what they lecture locals on.
And many returning Italians, once settled, do what an American colleague told be decades ago about Italians abroad.
In non-Italian teams abroad, they performed often much better in managerial roles than locals, as they had more flexibility.
But as soon as they were again part of an Italian team, most quickly returned to the procrastination, relationship-based habits that inflated budgets and schedules in Italy.
And while studying abroad in the mid-1990s (self-financed university vacations at LSE and in Gothenburg), I met also an Italian manager working for a foreign multinational abroad who told me that they kept promising him that he would return to Italy, but, meanwhile, kept giving him roles to solve issues in different units outside Italy.
Or: confirming what my American colleague had experienced with Italians in the USA.
But the post-Cold War 1990s added few more twists.
What will I share in this article?
_ preamble: it takes a plan, not a village
_ a cultural heritage worth the UNESCO protection
_ enter the puppeteers and wannabe puppeteers
_ celebrating a 10th anniversary
_ a matter of (loss of) depth
_ the puppeteer syndrome
_ a tinkering nation
_ out-tinkering social cohesion
Preamble: it takes a plan, not a village
This month, I was supposed to write two further parts of the "Going smart (with data): the Italian case" series that I started in November 2020, but decided to add this article.
I wrote here and on my social media profiles repeatedly since 2008 articles discussing this or that element of the Italian organizational culture (both in society at large and in business).
The forthcoming challenge of having to spend in a focused, structured, controlled, and relevant way an amount that, between European and national resources, I assess not at 209bln EUR, but at 500bln EUR or more (if you start from March 2020 and add side-effects and potential new interventions across the expenditure lifecycle), is already generating a "chasing your own tail" risk.
A case when what we call in Italy "flexibility", "innate ability to adapt", "creativity", and others call "obsession to do everything at the last minute", "constant changing directions", etc could be both a positive and a negative element.
Because 500bln EUR (I will stick to this amount until the end of this article) is 20% of the existing outstanding amount of debt, as not too long ago we passed the 2500bln amount.
If you consider that slightly over a decade ago, when I was living in Brussels and writing from there, I was sharing with others that I hoped that by when we would be with an additional 400-600bln EUR, maybe we would wake up to turning into an ordinary country, and I was saying that while looking at 1400-1600bln EUR, we are still in a state of flux.
COVID-19? Only highlighted our structural weaknesses, and confirmed that we are indeed "flexible".
Few days ago, the Government complained that regions weren't fast enough in using COVID-19 vaccines, and now is complaining... that they are too fast.
Routinely our annual budget contained measures for few dozens EUR billions, while now we are talking, including also the side-effects, of at least 100bln EUR/year for few years.
And I am ignoring the potential use of financial tools to "leverage" and expand.
As I shared over the last few weeks on both Facebook and Linkedin, unfortunately since a while the statements from both the ruling coalition and the opposition sounded as if the key issue were to be control- who is in control of spreading the funds around.
A partisan, not a national purpose.
Well, it takes a plan, that starts with a roadmap and some milestones, to be then converted into a plan that can be executed, monitored, audited.
Since I returned in Italy in 2012 working everyday, I observed that what I had seen between the late 1980s and the early 1990s (while working almost everyday in a different town in Italy) had expanded.
We, as a nation, seem to have a mindset focused on "que sera, sera": planning as an exercise, but execution with "pay as you go" and continuous adjustments, and then routine ex-post auditing to confirm that things did not go as planned, and nobody bothered to steer and adapt in a sensible way.
Plans do change at first contact with reality- but changes have to be prioritized, and if the plan, to start with, was detached from reality, changes often follow a twisted concept of "prioritization".
Value added of routine ex-post checks?
Finding somebody to blame, clean up the conscience of all those that should have done something earlier to allow fixing it, and maybe even carry out some expensive remedial activities.
A tradition since Ancient Rome.
But in our tribal mentality, a plan means a project, and a project means an initiator, and an initiator means that somebody would take credit.
Why should another tribe interfere with that, e.g. by involving in the early stages those who know better but report to another tribe?
As, despite what I heard often from foreigners while living abroad, it is not that in Italy we lack the competencies and skills, maybe we often lack the economies of scale.
Often our "tribes" represent the culture that they originated from, and lack "in tribe" the competencies to implement the initiatives that they generated.
And, of course, in this "tribal logic", fail to understand the rationale of sharing with other tribes, or even to risk involving a tribe that could sink their own initiative before it even starts, by exposing structural weaknesses.
Because, in our tribal mentality, there is another element: alliances are not permanent, and therefore, once an initiative gains momentum, it is possible to then involve other tribes, but at your own condition.
In Italy, I often heard "it can be fixed later, let's start".
As the alternative, going back to the drawing board, would be a loss of individual and tribal face.
It did not matter that much that the aggregate social or corporate costs could be a most definite waste- the next step, anyway, was to find scapegoats.
An even more quixotic turn is when initiatives are designed as transfers of resources, and not supposed to be completed.
This is not the right time to keep following these patterns.
And, as seen with the COVID-19 vaccines example, our "flexibility" is still without the required triad "plan, monitor, deliver"- resulting in nerve-wrecking orders continuously countermanded.
Yes, we even underestimate our capability to deliver, when we drop the "tribal" rituals and work as a swarm, jointly making the choices that have to be done.
And this brings a much overdue explanation of (part of) the title.
A cultural heritage worth the UNESCO protection
In Italy, Charlemagne and the crusades are part of our folklore.
Go around the country, and you will see signs of plenty of invasions and blending of cultures.
As reminded within a short documentary on YouTube, Italy obtained the UNESCO cultural heritage protection for the "opera dei pupi siciliana" even before protecting immaterial heritage was codified.
Within the "opera dei pupi", which was a kind of "serialization" of stories about crusades lifting from e.g. Torquato Tasso but "structured" in the XVIII century, puppets are used to talk about bits evolved from e.g. the "Chanson de Roland".
The most famous (I do not know if currently there are other stories staged) is around Orlando Furioso, talking about his love for Angelica, then a trip to the Moon where his wisdom was found, so that he returned to his role as a knight.
A slightly longer presentation, extracted from the Wikipedia page linked in the previous paragraph, is: "Orlando furioso (Italian pronunciation: [or?lando fu?rjo?zo, -so]; The Frenzy of Orlando, more literally Raging Roland) is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532. Orlando Furioso is a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato (Orlando in Love, published posthumously in 1495). In its historical setting and characters, it shares some features with the Old French Chanson de Roland of the eleventh century, which tells of the death of Roland. The story is also a chivalric romance which stemmed from a tradition beginning in the late Middle Ages and continuing in popularity in the 16th century and well into the 17th."
You can find on YouTube various examples, I selected this one (30mins), just in case you never saw it "live" in Italy.
I suggest that, anyway, you first have a look at the short documentary above (there should be also subtitles).
Within the "Opera dei Pupi", there is obviously a puppeteer ("puparo") pulling the strings on stage, but the role might even extend to designing and making the puppets, part in metal, part in wood, brightly colored etc.
Right now we associate puppets and puppeteers with children, but we should consider it as an evolution of storytelling in times when few people were able to read and write.
Actually, until well after WWII in Italy the lack of basic reading and writing skills was so common, that one of the first TV shows in Italy was actually about teaching those skills to adults, 1960-1968 (here the description on Wikipedia in Italian): yes, teaching masses remotely well before Internet.
Back to the "Opera dei Pupi": the narrative structure is actually more complex than something designed for children, and was entertaining also for adults, before being replaced by TV.
Also, anybody who attended high school in Italy (specifically, a "liceo") decades ago has at least some knowledge of Torquato Tasso- hence, I do expect that most of our political leaders in their 40s and up, also if they weren't opera buffs (the one with human singers; those routinely watching operas are called "melomani", in Italian), are acquainted with the turns-and-twists, not too far away from the turns-and-twists that those reading Shakespeare's palace intrigues are used to.
Having shared this cultural introduction, now I can talk about puppeteers within the Italian tribal social structure.
Enter the puppeteers and wannabe puppeteers
Now, in almost every post and article about Italy you can find online, I end up talking about our "tribes" (this one included).
Our tribes share few characteristics:
_ your membership is either by inheritance or by having been co-opted
_ usually, you enter from the bottom, and your status is not static
_ if your contribution is not entry-level and you are co-opted later in your life, often the benefits of your contribution go to the next generation (but not necessarily membership)
There are more characteristics, but I think that many of my contacts I worked with abroad would see nothing unusual in that pattern.
What is uniquely Italian, at least if I compare my experience in Italy and abroad, is that this applies often at all the levels, not just in few "top of the food chain" roles.
Incidentally: I wrote "being co-opted", but I should have stated that that is a "final state", a kind of "social promotion".
In most cases, and as I wrote at all the levels, and not just for top level roles, there is often a "potential of being co-opted" as a preliminary stage, notably when you showed the potential to be useful to the tribe, but were still too young or lacked experience to be worth taking a risk.
As I was told before the 2006 Turin Olympic Games, out of one thousand promised and who therefore contribute, a few would end up being co-opted.
The funny part? Those already part of a "tribe", notably when they inherited their status, do not understand their role, and end up thinking that what they get in, say, Turin, they would of course get in, say, Rome, as they deserve it.
Well, along with "tribes", in Italy we also have the "campanili" (bell towers), reminding the times where almost any medium-size town and its surrounding areas were a statelet or even a free town, and most medium-to-large towns were further partioned into "quartieri".
Hence, also the "vertical membership" in tribes is often "local".
Therefore, as can be expected, the "puppeteer" is often a local role, while higher level puppeteers are more volatile, as depend from the ups and downs of the relative role of tribes.
As you would expect, the internal cohesion of a tribe is a function of how well it defends the interests of its members.
The role of the puppeteer is therefore not necessarily to just "pull the strings" in the interests of the overall tribe, but also to make (or dump) puppets when this could affect... the standing of the puppeteer within the tribe, and as acknowledged by other tribes.
Because, in Italy, if a tribe wins, the day after starts the "convergenze parallele" (parallel convergences, as were called by a late politician), where each tribe retains its own position, but tries to find a temporary confluence of interests and shared prioritization.
Some Italians would say that the above is science-fiction: I will let them live in their world of dreams, or pretending to ignore that they belong to a tribe that justifies the "confluence of positive events" that let them surf up, only to hear them utter "who do we know there" whenever they need to exercise a statutory right and end up finding what we call in Italian "un muro di gomma" (a rubber wall), i.e. clashing with the boundaries of another tribe.
In a country with over 100,000 laws and regulations, there is always somewhere a bit that can be invoked to restart any process, or at least to sideline it by having the routine "left hand that does not know what the right hand does", as I saw since 2012.
It is sad to see political puppeteers who lost their magic, cannot accept reality, and try the same game times and again, not understanding that maybe others already learned from their own prior gaming and scheming.
But, of course, since 2012 I found another element that in this anxiety to retain the "puppeteer" status seems to afflict many Italian leaders: instead of doing what their role demands and then use it as a (legitimate) springboard to do what they assume they should do, anything goes to convert any role into a soapbox for the next role.
Then, you wonder why we have so many presenting as a "strategy" what is a mere collection of tactical moves that, as an aggregate, they assume could give themselves the best value.
Sometimes, it seems that in Italy there are just few in higher office holding an office and doing what that office requires.
Now, why this article now?
Celebrating a 10th anniversary
A short digression.
This week I "celebrated" the 10th year since I applied again be resident in Italy.
Back in January 2012, my permit in Belgium had expired, and I had had way too many job interviews in Belgium that were a farce, 2008-2011, so I dropped the idea of settling there, that I had started in 2005, after having considered relocating from London to Italy.
Why had I decided to shift from London to Brussels and skip Italy (I also closed the e-zine on cultural and organizational change that, preparing for a return to Italy, I had started in 2003)?
Well... my part-time contacts and experiences both on the private sector, supporting start-ups and other companies, and in the public sector, working in Rome, showed me how things had gone even more tribal since the early 1990s.
So, I decided to stay in exile.
As for the fake interviews in Brussels, just to name a few:
- adding at the end spoken and written language requirements that weren't disclosed even at the interview, and using the additional criteria as the main selection choice
- conspiracy theories about why, overexperienced as I was, I was applying for a role as a project manager (simple: I did not know and had no connections in the local market)
- being called in for interview on something and then being interviewed to test other skills or for personal "profiling" interviews
- being sent from Belgium around Europe (mainly BeNeLux) for fake interviews that never happened.
As I wrote above, I eventually received in Brussels comments that that had been a "scorched earth" to force a return to Italy that originated from Italy, but, unfortunately, was acknowledged too late for what it was- part of the "gullibility of foreigners that do not understand Italian games".
Well, lesson learned: I keep receiving contacts for roles in international institutions in and around Brussels, and I politely reply, and applied also to others in other countries when I received notifications.
Anyway, all those would require a form of clearance from Italy, as I still hold an Italian passport, and that would never happen, from my experience and interferences from Italy while living in Brussels, and ongoing "tests" in Italy.
The funniest one having been probably when, after activating a foreign number, and calling somebody from that number, somebody else complained that they did not have that number.
This is the Turin I saw since 2012.
And this is the Europe I saw since getting an apartment in Brussels in 2005- and what I saw in Italy since 2012 is coherent with what I am commenting since 2018.
The upside? I had a chance to learn plenty more, both about the country, its people, and its private and public business activities.
Worth sharing, as some of the lessons learned, from a country that, as a late former "serial Prime Minister" (yes, the formal title is something else, I know) wrote while sharing his experience since 1943, is used since then to "Governare con la crisi"- literally "to rule with/within a crisis".
Actually, would be more appropriate to state "ruling through crises" (spontaneous, designed, or simply "seizing the surfing opportunity").
What was also known as "The Monnet Method" to foster each time a further step in European integration is...
...something that is almost second nature in Italy, as shown during the COVID-19 phases in a long list of government decrees.
So, I am celebrating (and sharing) lessons learned, and also...
...some personal steps in preparing to integrating my past experience and skills, updated, for new challenges (probably again abroad) by integrating a bit of continuous accelerated learning.
If you are curious: a share the progress via a page on this website, and once in a while will release new books and data-integrated books (the latter, based on open data, to have a freer hand in sharing not just concepts, but also blueprints and solutions that could be reused by others).
Now, how could I summarize this decade in Italy?
A matter of (loss of) depth
If you want to track the interactions since 2012, have a look at either my facebook or my linkedin profiles, where I shared links, announces, commentary, and shared also articles, books, book reviews, etc from others.
So, the only personal part is the short digression in the previous section.
What we lost during the Second Republic (i.e. since the 1990s) is a significant ingredient: depth.
Cultural and cultural history depth, which helped to tune interventions in the past.
Also due to extended integration of our economy within foreign supply chains, in a more complex economy, something that just highlighted our cognitive dissonance between way too many who talk as if we were still the Roman Empire, or able to build such an empire.
Instead, we carry out constant tinkering to keep the balance between tribes, since the 1990s more complex due to the "stabilization element" that was embedded within the Cold War, as in Italy both the Democrazia Cristiana and Partito Comunista had a kind of power-sharing agreement since decades, despite being the latter formally in opposition.
What I found since 2012 is a structural layer of gossip and its ancillary "qualities" represented by endemic "rule by bully" and its expressions, mobbing and stalking: a side-effect of the "puppeteer" system.
We do not do anymore politics, conquering consensus- we "swarm", "flashmob", as a small yet concentrated number played properly through subservient media were real consensus.
The side effect? There is even more dialogue than there was in the past, vocal and well supported minorities set the tone and define the boundaries of the debate.
Few days ago with a friend was commenting on Leni Riefenstahl famous movie- and rememebered a phrase from the German version of a movie: "Macht ist nicht Recht"- power is not right.
Something that, in a tribal society where puppeteers are always focused on control, is often lost.
And this has a sad side-effect: beside doing using office as a "staging area" to land on the next role, once office is lost, we have many politicians who take on new roles, within universities, foundations, etc.
Then, use the visibility linked to their new roles to... either keep talking about their past role, or to joust for a return to their previous role.
I suggest two small movies- one about a speech, and one about freedom of speech and how even the most compulsive, obsessive attempts at social control eventually create a cognitive dissonance that needs just a few second quip from the Schabowski of the day to make a whole system crumble.
The first is The King's Speech
The second is Das Leben der Anderen
Yes, I am referring to that famous press conferences in November 1989, where the request from President Reagan "tear down this wall" turned, in few days, into reality.
Incidentally: if I am not wrong, the journalist asking the famous question... was an Italian.
Personally- I proactively disagreed with bullies long before I did it the first time I was over 18, in the Army (I had to file my report in writing as nobody dared to intervene).
It is not about being "good", it is about self-serving long-term considerations.
Since I was a kid, I saw many bullies (my age, older, younger) turn "yellow" when unable to control the environment, and being unable to build a coalition effort (at whatever level), and, unfortunately, using their manipulative power to get their cohorts into improductive activities ranging from gossip, to mobbing, to stalking.
Net results? Waste of resources, as often the culturally accepted way to react to bullies is... to have bullies of your own.
So, the political debate in Italy is routinely polluted by a jumble of misallocation of State and private resources.
What I could call...
The puppeteer syndrome
This is a really short section, as I do not want to discuss cases, but just to share a paradigm, that will be useful in the future.
If you read some of my past articles, you already saw references to the Stendhal Syndrome.
From the wikipedia page linked in the previous phrase: "Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic condition involving rapid heartbeat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations, allegedly occurring when individuals become exposed to objects, artworks, or phenomena of great beauty. ".
Personally, I drop the "allegedly": I was able to observe it once in Rome in person (not in myself, I only helped to overcome it)- it was a loss of perspective, in that case at the inability of seeing everything that was worth seeing in the amount of time available.
Well, as I wrote often in the past, not just Turin, but overall Italy, due to its "tribal" nature, suffers from a "control freak" attitude.
What happens when this control seems weaker, or is challenged?
The puppeteer gets into a feeding frenzy of actions to reassert control, so often that ends up being unable to actually follow the usual cycle of thinking-trying-doing-checking-tuning.
In no small part due to the lack of depth over the last few decades, the self-referential element expanded (the less you know, the more convinced you are).
I saw since 2012, with a frequency higher than in the past, case of "puppeteer bullies" so focused on asserting control and unleashing their minions in the usual gossip, mobbing, stalking, that actually lowered their guard when getting on board somebody that they assumed that they could control, to expand their reach.
And the puppeteer ended up turning into a Trojan horse for something else.
The way out? Halting the feeding frenzy of actions and refocusing.
But this would require some more depth, to see the famous "bigger picture"- therefore, generally this refocusing is feasible only if there is third-party that shares the same interests, and tells what I said few days ago (and then saw repeated by others- it is an alignment): show that the king is naked, and that the brand new clothes that he has been convinced to have do not exist.
And this is anyway made more difficult from another element that in Italy was present in the past, but, due to, again, a lack a depth, is now more frequent.
A tinkering nation
Reforms require both time and... willingness to make enemies.
In a country were there are not anymore certainties, and where each political leader (or aspiring leader) seems to be continuously trying to assert control, while there is a common tolerance for what anywhere else would be considered political bullying, the timespan acceptable for any action is getting shorter and shorter.
Since the beginning of the Second Republic in the 1990s (but actually even before, when the old system started to go into false steps way too often), tinkering became even more frequent.
Lacking a structure distribution of political parties, tinkering allows to adjust the balance as often as needed, also if sometimes we had extremes as over 1,000 "earmarks" to distribute budget across minutiae that supported this or that.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, as we had new spending bills every few months, we had actually national, regional, local jousting for control.
Tinkering high and low became so frequent, that actually makes you wonder how long would take to resume a (never really strong) habit to plan.
And this is where the "Puppeteer Syndrome" plays a role.
Intensive tinkering accelerates adjustments: tinkering is not so often linked to thinking before acting, and therefore more frequent tinkering implies an underestimation of impacts.
In the past, our counter-tinkering (i.e. tinkering on tinkering to adjust) was carried out in due course, with face-saving measures.
But the acceleration linked to a continuous string of spending bills did not allow this route.
An application of what I shared exactly one year ago within my "common sense dictionary", as I was reminded yesterday by Facebook: "Wordbook: Asymptote vs. Osintot - the impact of ignorance on planning"
Out-tinkering social cohesion
As I said, I am not going to write explicitly about the current political crisis (have a look on my facebook profile for daily commentary, in Italian first and then translated in English, or viceversa).
And I will write in more details at a later stage about getting back into a "credible planning" mode for our PNRR (how is known the Italian spending proposal for NextGenerationEU).
If interested, on the PNRR you can read (for free) a chapter from a book that I released on 2020-12-17 (yes, one month ago), available on both Amazon on paper, and as an e-book on leanpub.com (from 2020-12-22), "CitizenAudit" (actually the first of a series).
But I think that, whatever government or joint initiative will manage the Italian side, it will have to take care not just of the spending, but also rebuilding the level of social cohesion needed to make viable any plan of the size that I described within the preamble to this article.
Hence, "out-tinkering": tinkering means doing small steps as real steps would imply reforms, which would imply politically risky choices.
If you have, say, 60mln EUR, you cannot give a EUR to every Italian citizen and then claim that you invested 60mln EUR- you have to make choices that would disappoint some.
Politically, if we keep having bullies that mistake their present on stage in front of supporters as leadership, even a negotiation toward a common purpose and shared milestones is next to impossible.
I will skip the discussion on "cui prodest"- see, again, what I wrote on Facebook over the last few days, if you are really curious.
What matters is something really simple.
It is too late to do what I was not the only one to advocate since NextGenerationEU was announced, i.e. a "Costituente" to jointly design the roadmap and draft the guidelines for a budget prioritization.
Italy wasted at least 6 months on bullying and counter-bullying: the level of debate recently downgraded from high-school, testosterone-induced, wrestling-style statements, to elementary school quarrels.
To make a long story short, I will share a shorter bullet list version of what I posted few days ago (in Italian on Facebook):
1. Italy lost 20 years
2. as was reminded in come conferences on the Industrialists' Association side months ago, every country in EU stopped due to COVID-19
3, when we will start, it is our opportunity to recover lost time and jump ahead
4. my assertion is that, if we keep tinkering ("tatticismi"), as if the issue where "who" manages the wallet as if it were his/her own, and continuously claiming that the others are those who want just to manage it, instead of thinking about the "common good"...
5... we lost 20 years? we will add 10 more of delay, as other EU countries that already started their own green and digital transformation, as well as retuning of working hours, will use the NextGenerationEU resources to accelerate.
It is a matter of strategy vs. tactics- and I really do not care about the local commentary that I keep receiving as if, those who lost 20 years, were to be listened at as if they were "strategists from heaven"- they are shuffling tables on the deck of the Titanic, and giving each other self-referential praise while reserving to themselves the way out...
In Turin as well as in Rome cognitive dissonance triumphs since decades, as I saw also while living in London and Brussels- and the current crisis unfortunately has not improved locals' abilities to cope with reality.
I keep seeing fancical "plans" that are unstructured, lack funds, lack resources, lack human capital.
Not a good start...
...as, way forward, we need depth, not shouting: and Italy should not lost another decade.
And, in our tribal society, depth can be achieved only if tribes contribute their best, not if they frantically try to shout each other out of the debate.
Otherwise: since the early 2000s, I found increasingly Italy turning into a country divided as much as some developing countries used to be, while instead used to have a relatively higher level of social mobility.
Mobility up- mobility down, in a tribal society, never really existed, as there was always a "landing pad" available, a "strapuntino" as we call it in Italy.
As for its industrial base: already while living in Brussels saw it increasingly turning into a "maquilladora" country, and the constant drain of intellectual property is only accelerating this trend.
Or: a market large enough to justify having local operations, and not just distributorship.
But operations eventually focused on adding the labour-intensive part (e.g. after sales services) instead of the value-added part.