Storia dell'articolo

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 06 settembre 2012 alle ore 05:59.
L'ultima modifica è del 06 settembre 2012 alle ore 04:39.


The drop in Italy’s competitiveness vis-à-vis Germany’s (30 points in 15 years) leaves no doubt as to the importance of the productivity factor in anti-decline efforts. Even more so because, as the latest report from the World Economic Forum highlights, in the heart of the Old World remarkable performances are still possible. In fact, not only did Germany surpass the United States in the world ranking of competitiveness, putting itself sixth, but six European countries are now in the first ten places.

Italy, unfortunately, only occupies slot number 42. Thus, we would do well to try every possible tool of negotiation that could stimulate the productivity of businesses to the maximum extent, as was provided for in the agreement of June 28, 2011, and urged by the European Union itself.

Many contracts will be renewed in the next few months, and they wil be renewed in an atmosphere of great difficulty for entire productive sectors, leaving no margins in labor costs for businesses. Confronting the possibility of exchanging salary concessions for greater quality and flexibility of labor, in the name of higher productivity, can and should be seen as an opportunity.

As Prime Minister Mario Monti said in yesterday’s meeting at Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the Italian executive government, both companies and labor unions will have to do their part. At the same time, however, the government cannot stand on the sidelines. Innovative agreements on the productivity front deserve to be accompanied by fiscal measures that can facilitate them in some way. Cutting the funds available for tax reductions on overtime and productivity incentives, as the previous administration did with its last stability law, is equivalent to shooting ourselves in the foot. If productivity is indeed a priority—and certainly it must be—it would be best if the government made every effort to allocate some resources on its behalf.

Productivity, then, is not only contracts and labor regulations. It also means research and innovation, infrastructure, a simpler tax code. All of these arenas call for government action that aims to favor companies’ investments, through new measures as well as the implementation of those already passed. The social and political climate of the upcoming Italian autumn will depend on this, too.