(Photo: +Molinos, by DavidGorgojo). According to a study made by Met, between 1999 and 2005 the Italian State gave to enterprises public loans for 36 billion EUR. In 2006, including loans for railways and highways, this amount would reach 11 billion EUR. Besides, 40% of the enterprises which received this money didn’t invest, didn’t make R&D and didn’t create new jobs at all (espresso.repubblica.it).
In his last speech, May 24th, Mr Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, President of Confindustria, said: “Siamo disponibili a scambiare qualunque incentivo in cambio di minore pressione fiscale sulle imprese” [We’re ready to swop any incentive with lower taxes on enterprises] (confindustria.it).
Instead of reducing public loans to enterprises, it would be highly likely to choose which sectors and projects should benefit of those incentives. Is Confindustria really ready for competition and innovation? What about financing just energy, environment, biotechnology, nanotechnologies and R&D in other sectors? What about strongly reducing public loans for textile, cement, building, transports and mechanics industries if they don’t show a real commitment for innovation? What about checking what enterprises do with public money?
Fabrizio Barca (“Compromesso senza riforme nel capitalismo italiano”, Roma, Donzelli, 1997) explained that in 1946 the then conservative sectors, such as electricity, iron metallurgy and cement, conquered Confindustria and Assolombarda, while the then innovating sectors, such as mechanics and cars, lost their struggle. Are we in for the same scenario or may we hope for a better one?