Ritorno al territorio

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Il Mulino

Volume 15

Ritorno al territorio

By Giacomo Becattini Il Mulino - April 2009

"I consider the unitary purpose of social sciences, political economics included, to be the promotion of the joie de vivre of human beings in the flesh as made by the past in the areas where they live". These words by Giacomo Becattini are a key to the observations contained in this volume on industrial clusters, a socio-economic concept originally outlined by Alfred Marshall one hundred and thirty years ago that reappeared, slightly modified, in the studies conducted on the Italian economy by Giacomo Becattini and Sebastiano Brusco as from 1978. Far from the myth of unrestrained growth and liberistic fundamentalism, in this volume the author puts forward ideas that now more than ever should be carefully thought through. At a historical moment characterized by a crisis arising also from a pathological expansion of financial services within an ungoverned globalisation process, it is worth listening to the clear and passionate recall by a master of political economics to the reality of social relationships. A recall to the territory: to industry, manufacturing, to the creativity of small and medium-size enterprises and their vital interactions and synergies with the local communities: a typical expression of the manufacturing vocation of our country, that must be protected resolutely, and one of its possible strengths at the time of recovery. In a word, Italy's future has an ancient heart.


Giacomo Becattini, professor emeritus of Political Economics, is a member of the Lincei, Georgofili and "La Colombaria" Academies. He has been Chairman of the Italian Economists Society and is an honorary member of Trinity Hall (Cambridge). He edited for Il Mulino the collection of writings: "Alfred Marshall. Antologia di scritti economici" (Alfred Marshall. An anthology of economic writings) (1981), "Mercato e forze locali. Il distretto industriale" (Market and local strengths. Industrial clusters) (1987), "Modelli locali di sviluppo" (Local development models) (1989) and recently published "Hornet Italy. Research and reasoning on the Italian economic peculiarity" (2007).