Executive Intelligence Review


Italy’s Geraci Gives a Lesson on Renaissance Education and Production to Peterson Institute

Nov. 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—Michele Geraci, Italy’s Undersecretary of State for Economic Development spoke Nov. 29 at the free-trade think tank, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, presenting a delightful lesson on the value of classical education and culture. Geraci explained the “universal basic income” plan which his government is implementing, noting that it was not just “free money” for the lazy, but a debit card that had conditional usage—for food, housing and job training only. There are two purposes for the program, he explained—first, to alleviate poverty, but the second is more complex. He explained:

“Italy and China have a very high degree of overlap in terms of goods produced. China makes the same things that Italy makes, more so than any of the other 28 European countries. However, China has the scale against which we find it hard to compete. So the only way we can compete with a country that makes one half of what is produced in the world, and 20 or 30 times more than we make, with the obvious lower per average cost, is to focus on the soft part of production.

“In Italy we do high quality manufacturing, not only because there are good engineers, but because the engineers wake up in the morning and they see art. They get inspiration from the culture, from the history which surrounds the Italian system, which helps people, even in doing industrial design, even people that do machine work... But we want to continue what I call the true Renaissance of Italy. We’ve been living off things we did 500 years ago. It’s time to upgrade the system. We want to redo a new Renaissance, mixing the hardware, the manufacturing, with the software.

“So the government needs to—just like the Popes and the Kings used to finance artists, who could make paintings that were not immediately monetizable, but they did help the whole Renaissance of Italy’s engineering, which I hope we can do something similar.

“So let people say they want to be a painter—then be a painter. Do not worry, because your contribution to society goes beyond your painting.”

The Peterson moderator said: “That is hard to implement.”

Geraci responded: No, it is easy to implement, because we have the money.”