COVID-19, a lost opportunity for italian administrations

 

Like tears in the rain, really.

Nineteen months ago, when Italy went in lockdown, I wrote almost immediately that this, at least, could and should be an excellent occasion to throw away and redesign from scratch many services, if not the whole economy, in ways that finally make sense.

Nineteen months ago, the forced, hurried adoption of all sorts of “remote working” seemed to offer, if not a perfect field trial towards that goal, at least a great list of things to avoid.

Nineteen months ago, the more than a few number of public offices that shut down altogether, without anyone noticing but their own clerks, clearly showed where we could start saving taxpayers money.

Right now…

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It feels like many of those lessons are lost in time, like tears in the rain. The italian Minister for Public Administration Renato Brunetta recently tweeted an interview in which he calls an end to remote working for public employees. This is necessary, Brunetta explains also because putting people back inside offices will restart consumption inside cities, and thus help the economy:

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CAPTION: Click for larger version

Only two thoughts come to mind

The first is perfectly expressed by a tweet by Federico Morando

I’m not always against Keynesian policies, but there are more creative ones than bossing people downtown to drink coffee, eat sandwiches and commute bumper to bumper… only those for whom it is impossible to work from home should go back to offices…”

The second is that if what still is among the ten or whatever biggest economies on Earth needs to restart from office lunches downtown… maybe we’d be better calling it quits.

(*) Yes, that’s the same Brunetta who twelve deals ago made a sweet deal with Microsoft

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