McKinsey will manage the Recovery Plan: the surrender of a policy without competencies

Mario Draghi and Mario Monti (LaPresse)

Mario Draghi entrusts the management of the Recovery Plan to the American multinational consulting company McKinsey

In the presence of the Parliament, to which he had presented himself to ask for trust, Mario Draghi he had denied that the birth of his government was proof of the failure of politics. A position that is as wise as it is opportune: beyond the fact that a Prime Minister with his CV cannot be considered less “politico” of his predecessors, it would have been decidedly unwise to declare publicly the bankruptcy of those who have the constitutionally the power to give birth to an executive and then to keep it running.

The question is, however, deeper and concerns the increasingly widespread prejudice that managers and economists are always and in any case better than a policy with a very serious credibility deficit. There is the illustrious precedent of Mario Monti, but also the example of Beppe Sala, who also demonstrated in his first five years as Mayor of Milan that he possessed a remarkable ability to read and manage politics: it is clear to everyone that it was his managerial successes that projected him towards Palazzo Marino.

The decision of the Draghi government to contact McKinsey to manage the Recovery Plan it is fully part of this cultural trend: there can be no doubts about the skills of the American multinational consultancy, but there are certainly different ones both on the modalities of this choice and on the message that this sends to citizens and their representatives.

Gives McKinsey they come Vittorio Colao, Minister for Technological Innovation of the Draghi Government, but also Yoram Gutgeld (who was a consultant to Matteo Renzi), as well as Paolo Scaroni, Corrado Passera e Alessandro Profumo. Discussing the ability of figures in this profile to make strategic choices would not make much sense and the same obviously applies to Mario Draghi same.

The problem that would be worth discussing is that a state is not a company: the logic of profit, which rightly guides managers, cannot replace the broader view that one must have when leading a nation. To push Italy out of the drama of Covid-19 effective choices are needed, but indisputably policies: on many occasions, you will see it, we will find ourselves faced with ethical junctions that are not easy to solve, in which to find the right means to safeguard the reasons of the Stock Exchange and those of families, listening both to the opinion of entrepreneurs and that of epidemiologists.

Step by step, it will be necessary to synthesize equally right but conflicting reasons. This, it is worth remembering, is the natural task of policy, which we need today like never before. Resorting to managers is a dangerous shortcut, especially if, as in this specific case, it is done without first having discussed it in any forum known to public opinion.

But we have a duty to say things as they are: if we have come to this, it is certainly the responsibility of politics, which too often has castrated skills in favor of a much more prosaic logic of division and compensation.

Think about it: we are returning from a round of choices (from ministers to a very long list of deputy ministers and undersecretaries), which was clearly inspired more by the questionable alchemy of political equilibrium than by the actual capacities of the interested parties, apart from some laudable exceptions.

But if it is politics itself that presents itself so blatantly as unfit to manage complexity, the logical consequence is that someone else will occupy the space, by reason of a “better” being which is often also true, but which has very little to do with democracy.

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