Friday 13th of October 2017. In Imola at the Palazzo Sersanti, at 6.30 pm, the meeting with the economist Stefano Zamagni took place. The journalist Valerio Baroncini interviewed him. We were present at the event.
In addition to the traditional economic themes, the fundamental subject of the event has been the third sector and its role in the change of the Italian welfare state.
And that star is… the third sector
After 25 years of stillstand and sometimes even conflict, only on August 2nd 2017 the reform of the code of third sector was approved. This reform finally gives a real implementation to the contents that our Constitution had already expressed, but only through an ordinary law could be empowered: now this law exists.
This represents an absolutely relevant legislation because it redesigns the Italian social order model. In fact, the third sector and the civil society together become fully-fledged the third subject existing alongside State and market and they also represent a guarantee of democracy in our country. Therefore, in this newly inaugurated season, the subjects of the third sector will have the capability to express themselves independently.
In the light of the three fundamental legislative principles, the reform regulates the subjects of the third sector with the civil rights law. For the first time, for all intents and purposes, they become the actors and the authentical social entrepreneurs and have the role to contribute in synergy with the public administration to the goals of civil society. Furthermore, the subjects of the third sector will not be financed only by the public administrations and philanthropy, but also by social finance with a new attention to ethical, moral, sustainable and social development issues.
The Emilia-Romagna system and the Economic Biodiversity
Pope Francis found in the Emilia-Romagna region the tangible and concrete model of those values of economic biodiversity he had arealdy expressed in his encyclical Laudato Si’ (May thou be Praised) about the care of the common house. Therefore, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Bologna, he openly appreciated the Emilia-Romagna system and its social organization. In the Pope’s view, Emilia-Romagna is a social democracy supported by a strong cooperative sector and by small and medium capitalistic enterprises.
This economic biodiversity is also the Emilia-Romagna most studied element at international level: a pluralistic productive structure with an organization based on various productive districts. This is the ideal structure able to prevent the risk of an economic monoculture.
Bridging Social Capital and Joy of Living
This social framework where people, community, values and intents cohesion is what we call bridging social capital: a completely positive social capital building the identity and cultural matrix of this local area.
In the end, a further, extremely successful and productive factor of the Emilia-Romagna system is a local element of both people and their territory. This factor originates uniquely in this region and can be reproduced only there and now. We are referring to the joy of living. A total approach to both world and life ethic addressed to pleasure and quality of life instead of duty.
A New Approach
Nowadays the economic crisis has given us the awareness that economy, if intended as a limited-to-profit science, cannot respond to many social, moral and ethical problems. They are still present and – on the contrary – are far from being solved. It is only through the integration of the “living” values of the world (people, community, local cohesion) into the economic perspective that the possible key to the development of civilization can be found.
To talk about the third sector is yet more important because it has emerged as a new subject made by people for the people: it can actually give an address in the change of life values and their expression in local communities. Moreover, we become aware that Emilia-Romagna is the only region to own specific qualities in its social framework: the ones extremely close to that perspective approaching business organizations with humanistic values.
All this implies also the awareness of the fact in this particular historical moment neither the State nor the market offer a way out of this present impasse. In fact, they both share reductionist and partial perspectives. Only an equal, constructive and positive dialogue between these two subjects and the civil society is a guarantee of a real democracy. According to this view, people are at the centre of those same visions which, if left alone and only partially implemented, will necessarily fail.
Only a humanistic approach and values linked to the real life of people can actually save civilization.