The largest and most active of our national groups is in Italy. In April 2019 Einaudi will publish an Italian edition of the Foundational Economy which both translates from the English and revises the content for an Italian readership. As the cover puts it, “F come Fondamentale. Il benessere dei cittadini dipende dallo stato dell’economia fondamentale: l’acqua, il cibo, le scuole, gli ospedali e così via. La logica degli affari, qui, ha fallito clamorosamente”. Which translates as “F” for foundational. Citizen well-being depends on the state of the foundational economy: water, food, schools, hospitals, etc. The logic of private business has here failed dramatically”
This follows up an earlier book, Il Capitale Quotidiano, which the Italian group published in 2016. If the foundational economy is the infrastructure of Italian daily life, in food, water, electricity and gas supply, transport, education, health and care services, the welfare of our society should be the driving principle of economic action. For the past twenty years, however, this zone of the Italian economy has been penetrated by profit maximization, short-termism, financial accumulation and value extraction.
In this book 17 authors analyse how in Italy, as elsewhere in Europe, companies and local institutions, private and public economic players have been drawn into this pursuit of value extraction and short-term. A series of Italian case studies of major sectors shows how this drift is undermining the foundations of economic life, feeding economic divides and social inequalities.
Il Capitale Quotidiano argues that the existing defensive initiatives of collective social actors in Italy are inadequate as a response to this financialization of the foundational economy. The challenge for Italian politicians, civil society and academics is to open the path for radical social innovation. Hence, the proposal for a new kind of reformism whereby foundational activities – private or public- would be socially licensed so that they explicitly operated for the benefit of society.
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Il capitale quotidiano. Un manifesto per l’economia fondamentale [Dagnes, Salento, Spinoza) Rome: Donzelli, 2016.