“Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used”. (Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1931)
The slowdown in the Italian economy and the frustration perceived by a large portion of our society stems from the inability of the country to convert its potential (= talent) into kinetic energy (= growth). We firmly believe that human capital is a valuable asset, which Italy should exploit better, instead of undersell it or let it become mouldy in a drawer.
In order to make this happen, improving so Italy’s competitiveness in the global market of human capital, it is necessary to ensure a merit-based system defined by clear and transparent rules under which individuals can strive to realize their ambitions. Otherwise, not only Italy will remain an unattractive Country for highly skilled foreign workers, but also more and more Italian graduates will choose high profile professional careers abroad.
According to OECD data, in 2005 the Italian workers with tertiary education living abroad were approximately 300.000, out of which 45% in North America (32% in the U.S. and 12.6% in Canada), 40% in Europe (9.3% in France, 8% in the UK, 6.9% in Switzerland and 6.2% in Germany) and 13.6% in Australia. This situation describes a worrisome haemorrhage of skills, especially considering that the Academic field is one of the most affected. This trend undermines the country’s capacity to foster the technological development which is at the base of the economic growth. For example, the Italians who live in the United States and work in universities are 20.2%, compared to the overall average of 6.1% and the European average of 10.4%.
Meritocracy is essential for a society that aspires to attract and develop talent, but in the absence of equal opportunities for everyone, it is not a sufficient condition. “Tremendous amount of talent is lost in our society just because that talent wears a skirt.” The words of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected deputy in the United States, are still a living matter after almost fifty years and well describe one of the most painful boundaries characterizing Italian society, which we would like to tear down with concrete and targeted proposals.
Our working group is concerned with identifying and analysing the obstacles that prevent or slow down the development of human capital. Our aim is to suggest reforms in order to address and remove all the constraints that prevent the development of an excellent human capital.
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