As always, my appearances on radio and television programs cause surprise. So it went the other night on Nemo, which aired on Rai 2. My friends on social media have been clamoring for a summary. Here it is.
Essentially, I answered a question borne from one of the many considerations I address in my book, Il Potere è Noioso, written with Michele Mengoli: why will the world become Chinese?
The world will become Chinese because it graduates seven million people per year. This enormous number dwarfs the population of Veneto, Trentino, and Friuli. I work with this young generation of Chinese, I see them in Mandarin’s offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and I can compare them with our employees in Milan, Luxembourg, and the US, and I need to say that they’re really tough.
The Chinese people that we Italians see with myopia and provincialism as laborers, will be the scientists of the future. Even today they go to the US and conquer. Therefore, we’re beginning to ask ourselves seriously what the future will be like for Italians when they have to compete with such a qualified and determined force.
And to interpret how the future will be for our kids, it’s worthwhile to analyze how I see the future for Italy. The Beautiful Country will have three heads. One composed of excellences (like food, ceramics, and packaging), capable of exporting throughout the whole world, very vital, and capable of absorbing high-level Italian workmanship. Another head will be imprinted on the black market: big companies with thousands of people working for as little as 400 Euros under the table for foreign owners because Italians won’t have the skin to manage realities like this. And law enforcement will no longer monitor these businesses because they prefer that workforce keep working rather than wander the streets committing crimes. And the third head will be that of organized crime that will continue to spread.
What can Italian kids do faced with such a context? They need to seriously study scientific subjects that can be used in the job market and maybe emigrate; if they emigrate, however, they need to study like the Chinese, or else no one will hire them overseas. Alternatively, they can learn more practical jobs because they’re useful everywhere. I refer to cooks (no one can cook like an Italian), nurses, plumbers, and pizza makers. The alternative to serious study is a concrete career.
We emigrated to America one hundred years ago to do unskilled labor, but no one will hire Italians for humble work anymore because other nationalities will work for little money with a spirit of sacrifice that we’re no longer capable of sustaining.
Meanwhile, in Italy, to catch up with the Chinese, we can invest in research and development, but at this point I don’t believe in fairy tales anymore. Forty years ago, when I was at university, we said the same things and didn’t do anything about it; today we have less money than we did then. Instead, in Italy it’s still possible to create innovation centers, but they need to be connected overseas because Italy has lost the critical mass to create scientific innovations.
Especially, in the interest of our children, I believe it’s important to reverse this cycle of crime and start to launch a serious process of territorial control, otherwise we’ll really become the Mexico of Europe.