Sunday, March 13, 2016

Italy Excels At Innovation But Unfortunately The EC Hampers Most Good Execution

Posted by Peter Quennell

Italian production of Mazerati cars selling well in the United States - FIAT owns Chrysler


The previous post talked about innovations in the Italian prison system.

Given a free reign, Italians are in fact really, really good at making things better. Hardly anyone in the world can beat them and several of their industries are world-beating, in design areas especially.

Now here’s an article on some of PM Renzi’s reforms and why they are still awaiting execution.

Justice reforms are of course a part of it. We have observed some reforms already, but not yet the full package.

NO country in the world really does much better (see current American frustration) in the absence of a mastery and use of all of the growth knowhow now available which we quite often discuss here.

Mr Renzi is actually quite right (though the article seems to doubt it) that the EC, which always meant well, has become a vast and domineering slower of systems change.

He’s right. The EC really is his single biggest problem. Here are three hampering effects.

    1) The single currency handicaps all but the successful core and removes from all countries one of their two powerful levers for determining proper value, the ability to adjust currency exchange rates to maintain cost competitiveness.

    2) In face of this uphill slope and of EC-wide multinational pretensions, its impossible to set compelling and unfettered visions by way of wide popular participation at the national level and below.

    3) Any major system upgrade there (or anywhere) in absence of “value liberation” and a driving popular vision will become totally exhausting, and so reformers will only tackle change around the edges.

If you are thinking “erk!” you sure have that right.

So should Italy disengage from the EC, therefore? An Italian Brexit? It could be very much better off doing so. A total separation, not the half-baked one the British have been driven nuts by.

Set new goals with widespread popular participation and Italy could not only be off on a wild ride - it could show the world a much-needed model.


Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/13/16 at 03:18 AM in The wider contextsItalian context


Comments

I might mention again that somewhere in this “universe” is where Meredith could well have ended up. Hopefully also some of our friends reading here. Her study route was right for development management and she did talk of Brussels as a place she could work.

No university in the world yet offers all the latest tools we talk about. Maybe no surprise, they were mostly not developed there, they came out of the corporate world and of course the UN.

Odd as almost every single person in every workplace now is going to see those workplaces evolve (or die) and it is integrated use of those tools that give them the only real shot. Wake up, universities, please.

Clayton Christensen (The Innovators Dilemma) is said to be the #1 business guru now for his disruptive technologies - spotting something new with a lot of potential value and getting in on the ground floor.

But I find that somewhat mundane. The economist Schumpeter talked about that nearly 100 years ago. The bigger insight in Christensen’s work is how once-successful systems will all freeze up and bring the enterprise down. One HAS to start anew, all over the place - which believe it or not is quite fun.

Europe COULD work in these terms but its been on a wrong course for 30+ years. It would need massive capacity absent now to get on with all the systems change. Italy and the UK are closer than Germany to all of the right setup for much faster growth; but the EC holds them back.

Instead what does the EC do? It writes more and more rules! And pushes all the countries toward a cookie cutter approach. Back in the 60s to 80s that was the model of choice, but its time for something else.  Re the US Jared Bernstein says that today, here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/opinion/the-era-of-free-trade-might-be-over-thats-a-good-thing.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/14/16 at 05:09 PM | #

Excellent article by Bernstein Pete.

I do wish some of our political elites here in the UK, terrified by the prospect of a Brexit from the EU, would open their eyes and their minds to the possibilities that could present themselves if we just leave. Just now, we’re like a battered wife, terrified to take the plunge and leave her abuser; thinking, wrongly, that it’ll be worse on the outside.

It would inevitably be more challenging for a considerable period of time if we left the EU but then we could soar, we really could.

I remember being at a Trustees meeting back in my financial services days. I had presented my report to the trustees on their pension scheme’s financial health and over lunch I was surprised when one sharp trustee quizzed me not on the workings of his scheme but on the rapid expansion of my employer’s client base.

Their scheme was due for renewal the following year and he told me that the trustees were always wary when they saw rapid expansion like ours as it was almost always unsustainable and they would bear this in mind when deciding where to renew their scheme the following year if their fears were not assuaged. I assured him that our expansion was controlled, sustainable and well thought out. Privately, I believed he was right though and had reported my concerns to our board.

The following year we lost their scheme (worth several millions in fees) and my then company had a massive downsizing due to the very unsustainable growth identified by one switched on trustee.

Why do I mention this? I see the same thing happening with the EU over the last 20/30 years. Continued expansion to hoover up more and more countries who cook their books to gain entry (with the EU fully in the know that such cooking is taking place, indeed, I’m sure they advise on how best to cook!). If ever proof were needed that this is a political rather than a strictly financial project, it’s right there in front of us.

I now believe that that EU will fail. Lehman Brothers was a microcosm of the EU as a whole. The too big to fail mantra is pretty much dead in the water these days. If the UK can grow a pair of balls and leave, the dominoes may start to fall. One can but hope.

Meanwhile, if we stay, the EU will accelerate the admission of Turkey (who are holding all of us to ransom currently) and my battered wife analogy from earlier will be expanded to admit one more abuser of those countries within the EU who are net contributors to Frau Merkel’s Mitteleuropa project. Indeed not only the net contributors are abused. Look at Greece, Ireland, Portugal etc etc. Propped up by bail outs that they can’t ever hope to repay and crippling conditions placed upon their economies before the “loans” are paid across.

It’s truly shocking. Like watching the battered wife have her hair combed by her abuser as he soothes her and tells her what she has to change about what she does to avoid any future thrashings.

The scare stories being promulgated by the UK establishment (and I include most of the political class and the media in this) are shameful. It is this which will most likely see a vote for Brexit fail.

There are two things I would dearly love to see Pete. The first one is Brexit. The second is Knox and Sollecito receiving their comeuppance. Both are achievable if there is enough will. Even one would be amazing.

Posted by davidmulhern on 03/15/16 at 02:34 PM | #

Well it’s nice to know that I am right after all. You see I have (more than once) been taken to task on this site for daring to call some Americans racist. In particular the faction from Seattle.

By that I mean the racist enclave represented by such luminaries as Amanda Knox and her rabid family plus her white supremacist followers as represented by Bruce Moore and his nasty wife. I consider these people to be less than human beings anyway who should be eradicated, which of course given the passage of time they will be.

You know? The old white Southern Baptist members of the KKK and I see now, considering the nasty underbelly of the Donald Trump supporters, that I am right. Not that it gives me any pleasure. However to reiterate. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands because the only thing necessary to bring such a plan to fruition is time and patience, and a little cash of course. No problem.

The point being that as time goes forward Amanda Knox and Raphael Sollecito consider themselves safe from anything at all and their main wish of course is it fade into the darkness they have come from. OK! It is my wish that somebody help them in that regard.

As to Donald Trump it would not surprise me in the slightest if someone where to take a pot shot at him. That would stir up the racist mob and make Charles Manson very happy since that was his reasoning all along. ie create civil war. Speaking of which I see that Charles Manson has endorsed Donald Trump anyway. Ah birds of a feather. If there was to be one (a civil war I mean) then it is my sincere wish that Amanda Knox would be in the middle of it. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/16/16 at 02:14 AM | #

Hi Grahame Rhodes

Relax! It ain’t over yet. Dont jump the gun - or talk of guns, if that would be okay, remember we are the Cool Guys here and its built us a lot of trust.

That KKK stuff was a very small aspect of what is going on. Its not Trump’s main support and he even attracts many from the left. Trump is also increasingly widely recognized as having put his finger on some real problems that have long needed to be addressed, even if the messenger is not everyone’s cup of tea.

The problems are to do with the economy & trade & incomes of non-graduates, and healthcare, and the gridlock in Washington, and the endless wars. Read the NY Times article I linked to above, he inspired that. I am glad a lot of it is finally out in the open tho if Trump makes the presidency it will be a wild ride and maybe not what I would prescribe.

This is a very good site with which to keep up with the dialogue, it tries to be neutral in what articles it highlights, I go there twice a day.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/16 at 06:44 PM | #

PS Grahame Rhodes

You probably recall that the villainous side of the guy (and I have never seen such a strange mix) was no friend of Italy (his first wife lives there) or of Meredith’s case.

http://truejustice.org/ee/index.php?/tjmk/comments/a_shoot_from_the_hip_donald_trump_sets_out_to_stoke_up_the_xenophobia/

In Perugia he is rumored to have maybe paid big-time to spring Knox during the Hellman appeal. Also he may have “infected” the British billionaire Richard Branson who suddenly came out reflecting the Trump “point of view”.

As the crow flies Trump lives about 2 miles from me. I’ve seen him outside his apartment building on Fifth Avenue but never talked.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/16/16 at 09:51 PM | #

Trump is a cowardly pig who hides behind his money and his lawyers. Living here we get the news less diluted than you guys so it becomes obvious. The US news outlets and media reporters seem to terrified of insulting the idiot. If he got a pie in the face he would probably cry and sue. Face it, with that fright wig and the pancake makeup he covers his face with he looks like a reject from Ringling Brothers. All he needs is a red clown nose to finish it off. If he becomes president then he will not be welcome anywhere in the world outside of Russia and North Korea that is.

Posted by Grahame Rhodes on 03/17/16 at 04:27 AM | #

An Italian Brexit from EC? it might be in the cards. Things fall of their own weight and slowly right themselves. We’re living in interesting times as the Chinese say. We’re seeing immense changes to the European map, world politics. Once it was song “April in Paris”. Now Paris shadowed by Bataclan Theatre massacre of last November.

Italians traditionally have excelled in art, architecture, music, cars, food and business. They’re energetic and bighearted. Something will turn up for them, they’ve sowed much beauty into the world. I’d rather travel to Italy to see art, gardens, cathedrals than any other country in the world. Wish I were in the Tivoli Gardens right now, then Spanish Steps.

Italy has a huge coastline, which brings to mind our recent news of Florida beaches. The university Spring Break students are going a bit too wild on the white sandy beaches of Florida Panhandle.

Panama City, FL has now outlawed alcohol on the beach after last spring’s troubles. There were trash, drunk crowds in the hundreds hard for police to break up, some fighting, tons of broken beach chairs and coolers or toys and furniture left on beach. Public works employees are now clearing beaches overnight and every 5 hours of all debris, clothes, junk left behind by the crazies.

Big problem: too many inebriated arrestees to lock up. Nearby in Alabama the Gulf Shores police station has a 23 bed local jail. They had to ship many drunk arrestees to Foley, AL prison because halls of jail were overflowing.

Spring Break brings gigantic revenue to Gulf of Mexico coastal communities, but the partiers are abusing their freedom.

As weather changes to warm spring in USA to be followed soon by hot hot summer, I think of Catnip in Australia on other side of globe. They’re probably grateful for their hot season to be ending and autumn cool to set in. Relief.

I hope Italy has a good spring with flowering trees and fragrance to add to her manmade splendors. Meredith was attracted to such beauty with a passion. She retains her beauty in death as in life, an excellent memory of a serious student and kind friend.

Posted by Hopeful on 03/18/16 at 05:17 PM | #

Fine sentiments about Italy @Hopeful.

I’ve only been once, a long weekend in Rome, but it is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I’ve been around a bit.

I found the people, aside from a chancer taxi driver who dropped my fiancé at the time and me several miles from our hotel, welcoming, gregarious and great company. The architecture in the city, never mind the various surviving Roman ruins, is truly mind blowing. The food and wine was sublime.

Like all European countries who joined the disastrous eurozone, it has become overpriced and horrendously over regulated. A heinous wrong that will only be righted when the EU falls apart, as it surely must. I don’t think they will leave of their own volition.

Posted by davidmulhern on 03/22/16 at 02:24 PM | #


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